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Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

UNESCO specialist explores underwater cultural heritage

Published: 24 March 2017
Dr Ulrike Guerin

March 24th 2017 marked the first Annual Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) and Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) lecture. The Keynote speaker was Dr Ulrike Guérin, the head of the underwater cultural heritage section at UNESCO and who is responsible for the 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

Dr Guérin’s lecture, introduced by the Dean of Humanities Professor Anne Curry, was entitled “An ocean without history? Bringing the importance of the ocean’s history and of underwater cultural heritage to the attention of the UN and of governments” explored the variety of challenges faced with regard to ensuring more countries ratify the 2001 Convention. She challenged the academic community to be more proactive in promoting ratification in the UK. The UK is not a signatory of the 2001 Convention but the UK government has promised to review its position on ratification this summer 2017.

The event organisers, Fraser Sturt, Lucy Blue and Ajit Shenoi, had to some degree already risen to Dr Guérin’s challenge, as the lecture was proceeded that afternoon by a national workshop attended by Southampton scholars and UK experts to discuss the 2001 Convention within the context of it being a framework for the responsible management of Underwater Cultural Heritage in the UK.

The workshop and particularly the lecture, were both well attended with over 150 participants. We look forward to the next annual CMA/SMMI lecture in 2018.

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