Version 1.0 – pilot phase – we welcome your feedback to improve this learning experience


We are delighted that you are able to join us on this course.

This short course provides an introduction to an evolving discussion on climate change and heritage. We aim to provide you with inspiration to think critically about the role of heritage for climate change action including adaptation. Cultural heritage underpins everything we do, but we rarely think about our heritage when taking climate change action. We hope that this course will inspire you to think differently about heritage.

Your learning outcomes

  • An understanding of the scope and defining features of climate change risk and heritage, and an integrated knowledge of its main areas and boundaries.
  • Being able to question what is cultural heritage in the context of climate change by exploring a diversity of voices over space, scale and time
  • Practise ways that show awareness of own and others’ roles and responsibilities in managing climate change risk and heritage

Is this course for me?

Whether you are a student, researcher or practitioner you are welcome on this course. We assume no prior knowledge of climate change or heritage studies. You can go through the course materials at your own pace but we believe that 1-2 hours a week for 4 weeks is sufficient to complete the course.

Why is heritage so important for climate action?

As tangible and intangible assets, cultural heritage offers climate services and can support the building of resilience in the face of climate change and other disasters.

The course asks you to reflect on what heritage means to you and how our cultural heritage value is both at risk and builds capacity. The course demonstrates the importance and methods for the incorporation of cultural heritage within risk assessments for climate change adaptation and disaster management.

This course encourages you to recognise a diversity of voices that challenge the western dominant research and practice for climate change risk assessment as well as heritage conservation and preservation. By bringing climate change and heritage together, new ways of thinking and addressing social vulnerability can be considered. This course champions voices from Indonesia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. In particular, those who live, rely and interact with physical heritage sites such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as those who utilise their heritage practice and knowledge for adaptation and risk reduction.

Where did this course come from?

The course materials are based on both the cross-sector and global research team’s collective experience and knowledge as well as the outcome of a collaborative project led by the University of Edinburgh in partnership with Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia), the University of Pretoria (South Africa). This course was made possible through a research project called ‘CRITICAL’ funded by the UK Art and Humanities Research Council and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. More information on the team can be found here.

The project and award details via the UK Research Institute (UKRI) Award portal here:

Contact Dr Kate Donovan:  for more information about the projects featured in this course or to provide feedback.