Seif El Rashidi: World Heritage Listing and What it Actually Means: A comparison between the two medieval cities of Cairo and Durham

Thursday 5 March 5.30pm
Fine Art Lecture Theatre, Newcastle University

The lecture will explore the notion of World Heritage Status in the two cities of Cairo and Durham – both united on the World Heritage List, but hugely different in terms of scale and state of conservation. Initially, the comparison reveals a striking polarity between Durham’s pristine state, and Cairo, always losing historic buildings to development pressure. Intimate knowledge of both cities demonstrates that in fact the forces at play within a historic environment are often the same. This exploration begs the question of what World Heritage Listing actually means on a practical level. How does an international distinction have a bearing on national preservation systems, if at all? What does World Heritage Status mean for the cities that have it?

Seif El Rashidi is the Magna Carta Programme Manager at Salisbury Cathedral and was previously the coordinator of Durham World Heritage Site (from 2008-2014). He is an art and architectural historian and urban conservation specialist, with experience in Egypt and the UK, specifically in the preservation and interpretation of historic buildings and places.

His previous work in Cairo includes ten years of preservation planning in medieval Cairo for the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, working on developing a conservation plan for the Darb al Ahmar neighbourhood of the city, and integrated physical, social and economic interventions. His research interests include the ways in which architecture reflects identities, the continuity of visual traditions over time, and cross-cultural links asreflected in historic buildings and objects, specifically looking at the Islamic world.

Please register for this talk here:


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