Visiting the industrial revolution: the communication of world heritage values to tourists in Ironbridge Gorge

Acheson, Coralie Rachel (2019). Visiting the industrial revolution: the communication of world heritage values to tourists in Ironbridge Gorge. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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World Heritage Sites are places recognised by UNESCO as possessing ' Outstanding Universal Value'. Despite decades of work investigating how to best protect and promote them there has been relatively little consideration of how their values are actually communicated. This thesis is a qualitative study into how the World Heritage values of one particular site, Ironbridge Gorge, are communicated to tourists, looking at how these values affect the construction of the site as a destination. The thesis encompasses examination of the ways that values are formally communicated alongside investigation into how different tourist performances affect individuals' encounters and engagement with the World Heritage aspects of the site. This revealed a gap between the values for which the site is designated on the World Heritage List, which are derived from the area's significance during the Industrial Revolution, and tourist perceptions of the site as a rural idyll. Additionally, there are differences in the ways that the outstanding and universal aspects of the site 's values are presented to tourists which inhibits the possibilities for deeper engagement. This is further affected by the intentions and interests of individual tourists, who ultimately define and shape the nature of their own experiences with the site.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage (IIICH)
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


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