For 18 months, Cultural Heritage in Action allowed exchange on cultural heritage as a key to Europe’s future and a crucial resource and strategic asset for cities and regions’ sustainable development. Cultural heritage ranks high in the strategic priorities of local and regional authorities. Throughout its activities, Cultural Heritage in Action had an important impact on capacity building in cultural heritage-led development in European local and regional administrations as well as for stakeholders. The project has developed a catalogue of 32 good practices across Europe and involved almost 250 representatives of cities, regions, cultural heritage organisations and national administrations in peer learning visits hosted by 10 European cities and regions. It is now time to take stock of what has been achieved and look towards the future. With an online event to take place in October 2021, discover below the findings of the first phase of the project and the future peer-learning activities for cities and regions reflecting the post pandemic situation and its impacts on cultural heritage. More information will be circulated during the summer.
Cultural heritage as a bedrock for participatory processes in Nantes
The birthplace of Jules Verne, Nantes (France) is a centre of imagination and creativity. Thanks to political commitment and significant financial investments, culture in all its forms is bubbling throughout the city. Cultural heritage acts as a bedrock for participatory processes, and it acts as a focal point for citizens to get more actively involved in the life of their districts. Involving citizens to discuss heritage leads to discussing the sense of place in different urban areas. Here are two local examples: A political decision-making tool created by the city, the Nantes Heritage Council is an advisory body bringing together citizens. Several times a year, they meet to give opinions and advice on heritage matters. Its main missions are to formalise contributions whenever a project linking heritage and city building is the subject of a dialogue and to play a reflective role on upstream subjects, making it possible to provide historical depth or a general methodology for future projects. Nantes Patrimonia is a digital platform where citizens access information on the everyday heritage of their city and their neighbourhood. Citizens can bring input to the platform and become actors in the life of their city and their district through subjects that bring them together and that represent them. Nantes Patrimonia's motto is ‘Nantes tells its story with you’. It provides digital tours, articles and interactive cartography showcasing urban history, daily life, architecture, historical events, and the latest news on Nantes' heritage.
Reggio Emilia and Šibenik, re-inventing communities through medieval heritage
If something characterizes European cities, it is that they are built on the traces of their past. The streets, the buildings and the monuments are part of the history and the lives of those who lived there, hundreds of years before. By maintaining the connection between our past and our present we enhance our cultural identity and that is exactly what the cities of Reggio Emilia in Italy and Šibenik in Croatia have done. Both have been able to reinvent themselves to the new times by incorporating their history as part of their identity. The city of Reggio Emilia managed to create, starting from a semi-abandoned monastery, an open lab where participatory processes with local stakeholders offer experimentation opportunities to citizens, informal groups, local organisations and young entrepreneurs to innovate in the (public) welfare services and social entrepreneurship. The Cloisters is used as a place of culture, a physical place to manifest Reggio Emilia’s cultural policy. The city of Šibenik is characterized by its fortification system dating back to the Early Medieval Period. The main landmarks of the city, the Barone and Saint Michael fortresses, have undergone a process of restoration and development converting them into cultural hubs. Bringing together both heritage building management and cultural programming and production, both fortresses produce a range of cultural events with a strong focus on local people. The examples of Šibenik and Reggio Emilia show us how participatory processes do not only impact people’s lives but also favour their relationship with the roots of their own city.
More information here.
Keep the action in ‘Cultural Heritage in Action’ joining our LinkedIn Group
This group is for all of you that want to continue the Cultural Heritage for Cities and Regions conversation, whether it’s to follow up with more ideas around visits and lessons from the project, to ask for help and information, or to reach out and develop connections you have made. Let’s continue to put the ‘Action’ in Cultural Heritage in Action. We encourage an open space where, after our peer learning visits, we have an opportunity to keep exchanging. Here you will be able to discuss challenges and barriers encountered along the way in your daily work and seek advice on how they were overcome by fellow colleagues. Consider this a space to get useful information and ideas for improving your existing local projects, initiating new ones or transferring some of the presented practices.
About Cultural Heritage in Action
The Architects' Council of Europe (ACE) is proud to be a partner of Cultural Heritage in Action, a peer-learning programme for local and regional policy makers to exchange knowledge on cultural heritage, with a focus on participatory governance, adaptive reuse and quality of interventions. It is one of the actions of the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. Our consortium led by EUROCITIES with KEA, ERRIN, Europa Nostra and the Architects’ Council of Europe leads the project funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme until April 2021.