Heritage Without Borders was started as an independent social enterprise in 2011 by three colleagues who met at University College London (UCL).
We became aware of many projects, particularly in parts of the world in a state of post-conflict reconstruction where heritage skills were needed but cost and availability were barriers. We also knew of recent graduates and heritage professionals who were keen to help but had no means of getting involved.
We thought we could make a difference by running projects with local partners which would put these groups of people together in one place.
How do we do it?
UK professionals volunteer their time. HWB engages them in a collaborative relationship with international professionals working in under-resourced contexts who want new skills.
HWB Volunteers evaluate and try to understand the issues their colleagues face. They develop bespoke, high quality, capacity development programmes which aim to alleviate real problems.
HWB works with local partners to recruit participants with similar skills gaps and interests.
A local host and participants engage with volunteers and all of them develop networks with colleagues across borders, which builds resilient new relationships and changes their access to knowledge forever.
Professionals commenting on the heritage industry say that getting a job in the sector is tough. HWB volunteers gain personal and professional experiences that make them more employable.
Our volunteers tell us that the experience with HWB enriches their lives. We think that it does more. It enriches their places of work too and our civic society as a whole.
In Western Europe we take opportunities for international networking for granted. Our international hosts and participants tell us that they love the opportunities that HWB gives them to meet colleagues across national borders. These new relationships change their lives.
Participants say that opportunities to develop their skills can help to keep the past alive.
The outcomes so far
Over the past 5 years we have coordinated projects and professional exchanges in Albania, Algeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkmenistan.
We have worked in 28 different host museums and archaeological sites and have had participants from at least 50 different organisations.
We have had 54 individual professional volunteers from the UK (some of them have come back again and again!) and a total of 154 international participants.
You can help us save global heritage and strengthen civic society through practical skills exchanges.