The biggest-ever Commonwealth heritage project, marking Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, will be announced at the HQ of the Barbados National Trust on 9 February, as part of A Conference of the Islands aimed at developing a deeper understanding of the shared needs and opportunities for the heritage of the Caribbean.

The 5-year Commonwealth Heritage Skills project, managed by the Commonwealth Heritage Forum, will build heritage skills with up to twenty practical projects on buildings and sites across the Commonwealth. Regional partners include the Caribbean Heritage Network and the University of the West Indies.

The project will provide a tiered training programme for young people in all levels of heritage conservation through short and long term courses both in the UK and in different Commonwealth regions coupled with practical work at buildings and sites at risk across the Commonwealth.

H.E. Sir Rodney Williams, the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda and the founding patron of the CHF said:

“I am delighted to be able to open this important conference to explore a sustainable future for the heritage of the Commonwealth islands of the Caribbean and train our peoples in the skills we need to support such an important element of our economies.’

Philip Davies, Chairman of the Commonwealth Heritage Forum, said:

“With funding of up to £4.5 million over 5 years, this initiative offers an unprecedented opportunity for all those interested in the future of the built heritage of their islands to make their views known. Our aim is to support and help the Caribbean Heritage Network, regional stakeholders and champions, so we can all better understand regional needs and priorities.”

Tara Inniss, the Chair of the Caribbean Heritage Network stressed:

“Historic buildings and places have a crucial role to play in re-establishing the tourist economies of the islands post-Covid, but also in the battle against climate change by re-using the embodied energy they contain. We want to hear from you. All are welcome.”

Conference of the Islands

Wildey House, Bridgetown, Barbados and online

10.00am - 2.00pm ECT (14.00-18.00 GMT) on 9th & 10th February 2022

Funded by the UK High Commission in Barbados, the conference will find out what local people and organisations believe are the most pressing heritage threats and challenges to their islands, their priorities for saving the heritage at risk that they value, what sites might become potential projects for training, and what, and where, are the skills gaps.

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