Welcome to World Heritage at University College Dublin

The UCD World Heritage Programme takes a multidisciplinary approach to heritage management, its theory and practice and is one of the first programmes globally to offer accredited courses in this field. We offer both full- and part-time postgraduate courses with modules exploring international best practice in heritage conservation and management; inclusivity; climate change; sustainability; tourism and changing land use.

In addition to offering a comprehensive and critical grounding in World Heritage, our programme has established linkages and collaborations with institutions and universities internationally; an annual Seminar Series with expert speakers; and a PhD option in World Heritage.

We are based in the School of Archaeology. Click here for more information on study and research at the school.

Local crafts in market, Kenya.


Newgrange, Brú na Boinne, Ireland

The UCD MSc Programme in World Heritage was one of the first postgraduate programmes in the world to focus on the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and on the protection of both cultural and natural heritage. Today, this dynamic, multi-disciplinary programme addresses the skills and knowledge required by managers to solve heritage conservation and management problems. Our programme is responding to the urgent need to protect endangered heritage, at both local and international levels, and to the challenges of realising the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals.

The UCD programme has expanded to include PhD researchers and online, distant learning postgraduate students all working to tackle heritage conservation challenges.

Our courses include:
On campus: MSc World Heritage Management & Conservation (one year, full-time)

Online: MSc World Heritage Conservation (three years part-time), Graduate Diploma in World Heritage Conservation (two years part-time), Graduate Certificate in World Heritage Conservation (one year, part-time)

On campus: PhD Major in World Heritage (four-year structured doctorate)

You are welcome to find more information about these courses on the UCD School of Archaeology website: here.

Heritage encompasses natural, cultural, tangible, intangible and moveable assets that face many threats. We are interested in exploring issues of heritage management, sustainability, participation, values, continuity, sustainable development, and the role of heritage in everyday life. To explore these complex and often interlinked concerns we welcome collaborations with colleagues from different disciplines and heritage places.

Apart from our taught and research programmes we promote discussion through our World Heritage seminar series which is open to the public (both online and in-person) and through our outreach activities.

Academic staff and researchers

Dr Claire Cave (Programme Director)

Dr. Claire Cave holds a Ph.D. in Zoology. She is interested in protected area management, governance and the role of international conventions in achieving global conservation goals. Dr Cave regularly attends the UNESCO World Heritage Committee Meetings, is a member of the advisory panel on Ireland’s Tentative World Heritage List and is co-editor of the upcoming book ’50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility, Conflict & Reconciliation’. Email: claire.cave@ucd.ie

Dr Annalisa Christie (Lecturer/Assistant Professor)

An Assistant Professor in Cultural Heritage, Dr Christie coordinates the MSc in World Heritage Conservation as well as teaching on the MSc in World Heritage Management and Conservation.

Annalisa’s teaching is research led and draws on over 15-years of experience working in African archaeology and the archaeology of Western Indian Ocean. Her interests include the archaeology and anthropology of maritime communities, the social context of maritime interactions and the role of the sea in the construction of maritime identities. Email: annalisachristie@ucd.ie

Lecturers (MSc)

Yaser Alashaqar

Dr. Alashqar lectures on the UCD MSc Programme in World Heritage Management and Conservation. His teaching and research work at UCD involves the role of heritage in conflict and conflict resolution processes with a particular focus on contested spaces, national narratives, and mediation in theory and practice. Completed his PhD at Trinity College in Dublin, Dr. Alashqar is an experienced academic and he has delivered a wide range of courses in conflict and mediation studies and Israeli-Palestinian issues at Trinity College Dublin, Independent College Dublin and Dublin City University. He has also published many academic papers and continues to work on various projects with European universities and international organizations. He is currently working on a book project related to heritage and peacebuilding in conflict zones. Email: yaser.alashqar@ucd.ie / alashqay@tcd.ie

John Byrne

John currently lectures students in UCD’s masters in World Heritage Studies. John has lectured on a wide range of undergraduate and graduate modules including Business Plan Development, Marketing & Business Management, e-Commerce, Delivering Performance Excellence, Business Policy, Strategic Management, Business Research Methods and Business Strategy at DCU, DkIT & Griffith College. 

John has a Chemical Engineering degree from UCD and an MBA from the University of Toronto. John has a very strong interest in the fast-changing area of human exoskeletons and has tested, in various countries, 6 of these devices. The University of Limerick published an EU funded case study on John. Email: johnmbyrne@gmail.com

PhD Candidates

Irene Fogarty

Irene Fogarty

Irene’s research focuses on co-management of Canada’s current and tentative World Heritage sites by Indigenous peoples and State/provincial authorities. She is particularly interested in equitable use of Indigenous knowledge systems in co-management and the participation of Indigenous women. Irene hopes this work will impact protected areas conservation to enable Indigenous-led, equitable and rights-based governance. Irene’s research is funded by the Irish Research Council-Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship and the National University of Ireland Travelling Doctoral Studentship.

Leanna Wigboldus

Leanna is researching the importance of traditional knowledges, biocultural practices and local management systems that are reflected in generations of human interaction at a number of World Heritage continuing cultural landscape sites in Europe. A key aspect of her work is the importance of these elements to ongoing site continuity, resilience and sustainability. Her focus is on traditional systems and mechanisms that have enabled the continued use of the site and how people and practices have shaped, and have been influenced by, their cultural landscapes. Leanna’s research is funded by the Irish Research Council-Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship and the National University of Ireland Travelling Doctoral Studentship Prize.

Margaret Gowen

Research Topic:  Outstanding Universal Value in World Heritage as a standard and how it is governed within World Heritage. The research develops an MSc study that examined nominations to the World Heritage List 2014-2018 that failed to achieve inscription. It revealed that failure to demonstrate OUV was the principal reason for failure, often cited with other factors (Gowen, MSc final project 2019). The MSc dataset, drawn from the UNESCO WH website and its documentary records now 2022-2012 and remains focused on negative evaluations and negative outcomes for nominations.  The focus of the analysis will be influenced by the current cross-cutting issues and the dynamics of policy development and governance within the World Heritage system.

Afework Hailegiorgis Abebe

Research Topic: Lesser-known heritage monuments, both tangible and intangible, are still misunderstood, under documented, and understudied on a national level in Ethiopia. For the previous five decades, the Kawo Amado Kella Defensive Wall (KAKDW) heritage sites in Wolaita, lacked protection, research, recognition of value, maintenance, and conservation status. This PhD project is a crucial part of initiating effective cultural heritage site management. The purpose of this thesis is to study the history of the wall and how it was built, to identify the wall and other heritage assets valued and managed by different stakeholders in Wolaita, Ethiopia and to explore implications for future management.


Claire Cave and Elene Negussie (2017) World Heritage Conservation: The World Heritage Convention, Linking Culture and Nature for Sustainable Development. London, Routledge. 312 pages.

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention has become one of the most successful UN instruments for promoting cultural diplomacy and dialogue on conservation of cultural and natural heritage. This book provides an overview of the convention through an interdisciplinary approach to conservation. It shows that based on the notion of outstanding universal value and international cooperation for the protection of heritage, the convention provides a platform for sustainable development through the conservation and management of heritage of significance to humanity.

de Carvalho Antunes, A., Angjeliu, G., and Bellanova, M. (2020) Advances in Cultural Heritage Studies, Year 2020. Contributions of the European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage. Portugal: Mazu Press. Contributions to the book by Irene Fogarty and Leanna Wigboldus

“Untangling the Concept of Cultural Landscapes: a Critical Review”, Irene Fogarty. Keywords: Cultural Landscapes; Heritage Discourse; World Heritage.

“Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Opportunities for Management Practices at World Heritage Sites”, Leanna Wigboldus. Keywords: Cultural Tourism; Sustainability; Tourism Management; World Heritage.

Journal Publications

Hailegiorgis Abebe, A., Cave, C., Christie, A., and  Madda Gatisso, M. (2021)  Recent surveys of the Kawo Amado Kella defensive wall, Wolaita, Southern Ethiopia: a lesser-known heritage resource in Ethiopia , Nyame Akuma, No 95. June 2021, pp 6-13  https://safarchaeology.org/resources/Documents/nyame_akuma/95/95_Nyame_Akuma_vol%2095%20June%202021_1%20Afework%20Hailegiorgis%20et%20al%20website.pdf

Media Publications

Leanna Wigboldus and Irene Fogarty (2020) World Heritage Sites Race to Adapt to a Warming Planet. The Irish Times, June 11, 2020.

Paul Murphey (2020) Underwater study reveals possible quay at Brú na Bóinne. The Irish Times, March 1, 2020.

Researcher: Annalisa Christie

News and Events

World Heritage Committee Meeting, Azerbaijan

Information about the events and activities from the School of Archaeology can be found here.

Book Launch and Event: World Heritage Convention at 50

The UNESCO World Heritage Convention celebrates its 50th anniversary in November 2022. To mark the anniversary, the book “50 Years World Heritage Convention: Shared Responsibility – Conflict & Reconciliation” will be launched by the Institute of Heritage Studies in Berlin. This book, with contributions from the UCD World Heritage team, reflects on the achievements and failures of the Convention. With 61 authors from 28 countries, it presents a contemporary and multidisciplinary outlook on the future of the Convention based on the important themes of “responsibility”, “reconciliation” and “sustainability”.

The book will be presented at an international hybrid event on 4 November 2022. See details of the book and the launch at the following link:

Art Exhibition: Peadar Jolliffe-Byrne (Mexico City)

Upland Folk’ is an exhibition of eight paintings by Irish artist Peadar Jolliffe-Byrne. The exhibition has been made in response to the research Peadar carried out in 2021 during his work on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List application for the cultural landscape of the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland. 

The Burren provides a plethora of inspirational starting points for any sort of artistic endeavour, ranging from its globally significant karst environment, to its extraordinary collection of well preserved archaeological sites, to the unique ecological mosaic of its flora and fauna. Yet perhaps, the most outstanding characteristic within this seemingly inhospitable landscape are the people who live there. 

Timeless scenes, throughout the work, borrow from Irish history, mythology and folklore to depict narratives of light versus dark, good versus evil, and life versus death. The work is inspired by the thousands of years of interaction between humans and the environment in the Burren Uplands, and how that relationship has shaped the cultural and ecological landscape we see today. Interspecies dialogues and cross-cultural references highlight past beliefs that have continued into the present and look to continue into the future in a blend of cultural practices and beliefs.

Opening reception: 7pm Thursday 25th August 

Exhibition continues: Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August

Artist guided visit: 4pm Saturday 27th August

Venue: Gimnasio de Arte y Cultura,

Av. Álvaro Obregón 185, Roma Nte., 06700 Mexico City, CDMX

Gallery hours

12–6pm, Thursday–Saturday


Artist guided visit: 27th August 4pm

In conjunction with the exhibition there will also be an artist guided visit. The visit will include a presentation of the work by the artist and a conversation between the artist and gallery general director Livia Animas. The conversation will then open to the public.