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ST KILDA: The Western Isles Council is preparing to lead the way in creating ‘remote access’ to hundreds of World Heritage Sites which are currently out of reach for a range of reasons including geography, and environmental issues, writes Katie Carabine.
A conference is being held in Stornoway tomorrow (August 18) to discuss plans for a St Kilda Centre.
James Rebanks, UNESCO World Heritage adviser has said, in a feasibility study for the project, that it should be a ‘game-changer’ for the Outer Hebrides.
In a feasibility study, Mr Rebanks also described the propose centre as a ‘world-class idea’ that could be a ‘global best practice example of remote access story-telling. He also said that ‘technology is the key bridge between the World Heritage Site and Lewis and between archive material and a major live or virtual audience’.
Speakers at the symposium will include Peter Debrine, the director of World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism for UNESCO, which has taken the St Kilda Centre as an example of how to allow access to sites of global interest without the need for large numbers of visitors to physically visit.
Consultancy reports have been commissioned to make recommendations on the building’s design and contents as well as commercial viability, and these will be debated during the symposium.
It is hoped that the final blueprint will attract sufficient support from potential funders to be able to proceed, and be opened in time for the 90th anniversary of St Kilda’s evacuation, which took place in 1930.