Context 146 - September 2016

24 C O N T E X T 1 4 6 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 6 advising on the statutory or grant aided process. In the case of the skateboarding area on London’s South Bank Centre, to many people the place could easily be considered as poorly designed, unsightly, van- dalised, dangerous area and in need or regeneration. Madgin explained that the difficulties were that the group campaigning to save the site was not recognised or organised, had no legal rights to use the land and was not particularly adept at engaging in dialogue with the authorities. Nevertheless, over time and with the assistance of others a suitably represented appeal was successful in getting the heritage significance of the site recognised and quantified through formal assessment of significance, and ultimately secured for future gen- erations of skaters.The campaigners were, in Madgin’s words, ‘civil experts’. She summarised a heritage activist’s manifesto as including the following: Act (make change from where you are); Connect (cross boundaries and collaborate); Reflect (see issues through others eyes); and Situate (understand the full context of the heritage asset). Julian Bagg Blaenavon: the world’s heritage Speaker: John Rodger, Blaenavon world heritage site In 1997, the Blaenavon Initiative was established to find a future for the former industrial town. This led to the questions: ‘Could the town attract funding with a world heritage status?’ and ‘How could it compare to other world heritage sites?’ Blaenavon was ultimately inscribed into the world heritage list in 2000 for its cultural significance. ICOMOS stated: ‘The area around Blaenavon is evi- dence of the pre-eminence of southWales as the major producer of iron, steel and coal in the 19th century… The site is one of the prime areas in the world where the full social, economic and technological process of industrialisation through iron and coal production can be studied and understood.’ The world heritage site is managed by the Blaenavon Partnership, a team of 13 bodies including the National Trust and Cadw, led by the Torfaen County Borough Council. John Rodgers, formerly the Blaenavon project direc- tor and world heritage site coordinator for 12 years, described the site and the many issues it faces. These include: combating the effects of the continuing socio- economic climate; difficulty in sustaining a quality London’s South Bank undercroft highlights the need to question conventional concepts of heritage and significance (Photo: Sam Ashley) John Rodger: overwhelming benefits