Christopher Young is a British historian and archaeologist. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate from Oxford University, and specializes in sustainable management of the historic environment.
He has worked for English Heritage (now Historic England) for most of his career. In his role as director of Hadrian's Wall World Heritage site, he has gained extensive experience in cultural site management. He has also been part of the United Kingdom delegation to the World Heritage Committee for fifteen years. Since retiring in 2014, he has been acting as an independent heritage consultant.
During his long years of involvement in World Heritage, Christopher Young has served as advisor for the preparation of numerous nominations to the List as well as for the realization of several cultural heritage management plans and heritage impact assessments (HIA), both in the UK and abroad. He has also collaborated with the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM on various projects, including the reform of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, the compilation of a policy compendium for World Heritage and the production of a report on sites of memory.
The following audio excerpts are from an interview with Christopher Young by Christina Cameron the 16 May 2018 in Paris. We hear about his experience as the manager of Hadrian's Wall, as well as the beginnings of his involvement in World Heritage in the UK and overseas. He also shares his critical and nuanced view of the strengths and weaknesses of the Convention, addressing topics such as the politicization of the Committee, the difficulties encountered by the Advisory Bodies, the improvements made through the Periodic Reports and the contribution of World Heritage to international cooperation.
Under the leadership of the Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage at the University of Montreal, an international team of researchers conducts interviews with pioneers of World Heritage to capture memories of important moments in the history of UNESCO Convention.
Launched in 2006, this initiative is part of the UNESCO History project that celebrated the 60th anniversary of the creation of UNESCO. The Oral Archives project records the precious witness of people closely associated with the creation and implementation of the Convention. Their recollections and views have greatly enriched the book by Christina Cameron and Mechtild Rössler, Many Voices, One Vision: The Early Years of the World Heritage Convention (Ashgate/Routledge, 2013).