Cultural Heritage in Action: communities working together

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Local and regional policymakers in Europe meet and share their cultural heritage practices within Cultural Heritage in Action. Together they aim to achieve participatory governance, adaptive re-use of heritage buildings and quality interventions. With “Peer-learning”, 12 European cities host online and on-site visits in two instalments, sharing their work and learning together as part of the project.

The project aims to enable cities to work together to enhance their cultural governance and develop innovative practices for the use and preservation of cultural property. The European Union has extensive rules, regulations, and initiatives surrounding cultural heritage, although the picture at the local level differs dramatically from place to place.  This program will help unify ideas and practices and ensure all cultural heritage across Europe is up to date.

As mentioned above, there are three main actions within this initiative:

– Participatory governance of cultural heritage revolves around community, stakeholders, public and private sectors, sharing responsibility for managing cultural assets and drafting policy. Moreover, they work together to highlight the value of heritage within the community and create opportunities for development around it.

– Adaptive re-use of heritage buildings means identifying functional use of a cultural or historic building while fully acknowledging, preserving and promoting its value. Contrary to the common practice of restoration for continuing existing use.

– Quality of interventions on cultural heritage pertains to careful consideration of all aspects of a heritage site before taking any action,  focusing on passing the legacy onto the next generation.

These actions are evident through all the initiatives within Cultural Heritage in Action, specifically:

Cultural Heritage In Action Catalogue Of Good Practices

The catalogue includes 32 local best-practices from all over Europe, collected after an open call during 2020. Unlike many documents of this nature, this catalogue has a simple, straight-forward approach and is free and available to view online. (Link below).  All the projects included are innovative and emphasise community participation while differing in subjects, budget and actions; you will find a benchmark just for you.

We cannot share the details of each project within the constraints of this article, but here is a quick shout-out for:

  • STOL: the chair project, Denmark (page 14-15)
  • Rediscovering the Antonine Wall, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, (page 22-23)
  • 100 building – 100 stories Place, people and digital storytelling, Hermoupolis, Greece (page 28-29)
  • Emma the small giant, Kortrijk, Belgium (page 30-31)
  • Archive for an Inclusive City, Rotterdam, Netherlands (page 48-49)
  • and of course, our beloved, Adopt a Monument, Finland, (page 58-59)
  • Topotheque, Community-driven online archive anchored in regions, Austria (page 68-69)

Stay tuned for future posts covering our favourite projects, or send us your picks.

Peer-learning visits

Experts, stakeholders and policymakers come together to share their experience, challenges and success stories of their city within 12 Peer-learning visits in 2021. These visits will be online and on-site, pandemic permitting, to the host city to understand the context of their work and to discuss and brainstorm collaboratively. The first call for participants took place in February; while we wait for the second call this month, you can see this Spring’s hosts here. Be sure to check out the News segment on Cultural Heritage in Action webpage to learn or participate in future visits.

Our take

Cultural Heritage in Action values and process show promise and innovation while creating a support system for heritage management across Europe’s diverse cultural landscapes. Their efforts will directly and positively affect cultural heritage management and accelerate the application of best practices. Actively encouraging local action, the program improves quality and shortens the time of project development and implementation. Specifically in this context,  the program reduces bureaucratic redundancies of ministries adopting and passing down policy or “reinvent the wheel” in strategy,  allocates local resources and re-imaging the use of cultural sites to benefit the community.

I want to learn more:

Cultural Heritage in Action

Cultural Heritage In Action Catalogue Of Good Practices – MUST READ

Peer learning visits

Adopt a Monument- We are involved in the European Cultural Heritage in Action project

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