Dr Francesca Giliberto

Dr Francesca Giliberto


Dr Francesca Giliberto is an academic researcher, conservation architect, and independent consultant renowned for her interdisciplinary expertise spanning cultural heritage, urban conservation and management, and development studies. With a career marked by impactful contributions to the field of heritage in the context of global challenges, she has established herself as a thought leader at the intersection of academia and practical application. Dr Giliberto's interdisciplinary and dynamic research trajectory is centred around cultural heritage conservation and management, global challenges, sustainable development, policy evaluation, and inclusive and participatory approaches. Her work has impacted policies, practices, and decision-making processes, aiming to inspire robust and multi-sectoral responses to societal challenges.

Over the past ten years, Dr Giliberto has led significant research and professional projects, aligning her work with global initiatives like the United Nations' Agenda 2030, UN-HABITAT’s New Urban Agenda, UNESCO's Historic Urban Landscape Recommendation, and the 2015 UNESCO Policy on World Heritage and Sustainable Development. With more than 10 years of experience in the cultural sector, she has enjoyed advising, creating synergies, and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders, including the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture Media and Sport, UK National Commission for UNESCO, Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Council, Italian Ministry of Culture, UNESCO and its Advisory Bodies, African World Heritage Fund, Climate Heritage Network and more than 50 universities. She is an active contributor to the work of the ICOMOS Sustainable Development Working Group, further emphasising her commitment to advancing sustainable practices within the realm of cultural heritage and beyond.

Research interests

As an early career researcher, Dr Francesca Giliberto has successfully secured research funding and produced high-impact publications, reflecting her commitment to advancing knowledge and shaping transformative initiatives. She obtained funding from UK Research and Innovation (£49,925), AHRC and DCMS (£46,000), Research England (£40,000), the Franco and Marilisa Caligara Foundation for High Interdisciplinary Education (€5,000) and SITI-the Italian Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation (€80,000).

Dr Giliberto’s PhD research delved into the disparities between global narratives on urban heritage conservation, management and development and their practical implementation in the two World Heritage cities of Florence and Edinburgh. Using a comparative, multi-scalar and multi-sectoral approach, she analysed the inconsistencies between international frameworks and local practices and assessed the need for revision of current policies and tools. Subsequently, she led three post-doctoral research projects, including Rethinking Heritage for Development: International Frameworks, Local Impacts (University of Kent, Principal Investigator: Prof Sophia Labadi); Re-imagining Heritage-Based Tourism in Times of COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa (2020–2021, Principal Investigator: Prof Sophia Labadi); and PRAXIS: Arts and Humanities for Global Development (University of Leeds, Principal Investigator: Prof Stuart Taberner). With her post-doctoral research, she examined the role of heritage, tangible and intangible, in addressing global developmental challenges, with a specific emphasis on demonstrating its centrality to all the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Currently, Dr Giliberto's research interests encompass a diverse array of critical themes, including: local implementation of the United Nations’ SDGs in urban contexts and post-2030 Agenda negotiation processes; change management in historic urban environments; human-rights-based and people-centred development processes; systemic approaches and strategies between cultural heritage and sustainable (urban) development; and innovative interdisciplinary approaches bridging the business and cultural sectors. Her commitment to addressing these pressing issues reflects her dedication to shaping sustainable and equitable futures through cutting-edge research.


  • PhD in Architectural and Landscape Heritage, Polytechnic University of Turin and University of Kent
  • Specialising Master in World Heritage and Cultural Projects for Development, ITC-ILO
  • Diploma of High Polytechnic School (advance programme for top 1% Polytechnic Universities students)
  • M.Sc. Architecture (Heritage Conservation and Enhancement), Polytechnic University, Turin and Milan
  • B.Sc. Heritage Conservation, Polytechnic University, Turin

Professional memberships

  • International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) - UK Committee
  • ICOMOS SDGs Working Group
  • ICOMOS International Committee on Historic Cities, Towns and Villages

Student education

Module FOAH2001 Research Partnerships – Leader and supervisor of the project titled: Exploring Sustainable Development in UK UNESCO Designated Sites 

Module LUBS5970 Dissertations – Supervisor

Module LUBS5798 Project/Dissertation – Supervisor