The cultural heritage of Europe ranges from natural to digital and from tangible to intangible forms. While natural heritage consists of flora and fauna of any particular landscape, the digital heritage is man-made animation or digital art as well as texts, videos, images and records. The historic artifacts, monuments and buildings, archaeological sites, towns, books, artwork and clothing are part of tangible heritage. The intangible heritage denotes the abstract forms of heritage such as representations, knowledge, practices, expressions, skills, associated objects, cultural spaces, performing arts, traditional craftsmanship, oral traditions and social practices. While cherishing the above, there is the need of protecting them, keep them safe from natural or man-made harm and garner conversation in cultural diversity.
Engagement, Sustainability, Protection and Innovation are the four principles on which the 10 European Initiatives of 2018 are built. Let’s have a look –
For the general public, seniors, local communities, hard-to-reach communities like those with risk or excommunication and of special needs, this initiative tries to break all physical, cultural and social barriers while engaging everyone to rediscover the heritage. EHD or European Heritage Days had this new edition named European Year Of Cultural Heritage which had activities like collecting local heritage stories, inspiring kids and youth in exploring the surroundings and funding small-scale trans-border projects. The Europa Nostra Award or EU Prize for Cultural Heritage was awarded and the European Heritage Label or EHL tour was conducted.
For students aged in between ten to fifteen years old, parents, teachers and local communities, the Initiative 2 seeks to create awareness about European Cultural Heritage by maximizing impact of the Erasmus+ in both formal and informal education. The first component seeks to valorize Erasmus+ and stimulate newer initiatives for preserving cultural heritage. The second component addresses intangible cultural heritage with UNESCO Associated part I schools while disseminating heritage toolkit for the schools. Kids’ activities during the EHDs are mentioned in third component and fourth component tries to strengthen Europe.
For the youth and cultural heritage organizations, Erasmas+ generation and youngsters in between 15 and 29 years of age, the Initiative 3 tries to encourage creativity in promoting, protecting and safeguarding the European heritage. The 1st component tries to empower the European youth jointly by UNESCO and a European Commission through Young Heritage Experts Forum. The 2nd Component encourages youth for volunteering for heritage within European Solidarity Corps. Component 3 deals with offering free passes to 18 year old youth for Discover EU while Component 4 tries to engage people through social media by organizing Instagram photo competition, “fill Facebook with heritage”, #EuropeforCulture Instameets and summer postcard competition.
For the regional and local communities and authorities, architects and heritage professionals, the Initiative 4 tries to create integration between the European cultural heritage and architectural and environmental planning policies. For contemporary utilities, the transformation of military, industrial and religious heritage is promoted. Through adaptive use and smart restoration of old buildings, socio-economic dynamism is planned for different regions. In Component 1, Europa Nostra and Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe Award is offered in exchange of successful heritage practice. Component 2 has ERIH launching Work It Out, E-Faith etc and FRH launching Torch Initiative. Urban and rural regeneration with sustainable development is addressed by Component 3.
For research communities, local tourist organizations, culture heritage professionals and policymakers, the Initiative 5 is based upon sustainable tourism with its economic benefits. The first component recommends guidelines and policies for stakeholders and local and regional authorities. Component 2 under Natura 2000 network acknowledges conservatory works and celebrates Green Week ’18. Component 3 boosts tourism in Europe with 33 Cultural Routes, UNESCO World Heritage Journeys and Balkans Heritage Route. Unconventional European destinations are acknowledged with European Destinations of Excellence of Component 4. For different factors like accessibility, creativity, digitalization etc, some cities are given European Capital of Smart Tourism Awards in Component 5.
For civil society, policy makers, heritage organizations and cultural heritage professionals, the Initiative 6 tries to promote research, good practices and debate on contemporary interventions on conservation of cultural heritage. While adding innovative approaches, it tries to maintain and safeguard the heritage. According to Component 1, ICOMOS produces documentation on interventions on heritage abiding by guidelines and principles while Component 2 creates broad consensus with European Commission and stakeholders.
For research communities, policymakers, art market, heritage protection authority and enforcement authorities, the Initiative 7 enhances risk management with cooperation within EU and beyond against illegal smuggling of cultural goods. While Component 1 is about adopting regulatory measures, Component 2 is for raising awareness in European Art Market while training EU Enforcement organizations. Component 3 is about taking preventive and protective measures for natural and man-made harms on heritage sites while organizing commission-led studies and operating Horizon 2020.
For young generation, regional and national level policymakers and heritage training institutions and professionals, the Initiative 8 addresses the obstacles in supporting development of the specialized skills to transfer knowledge of conservation and preservation among youngsters. Component 1 organizes regular meetings to spread knowledge and policy recommendations, Component 2 rewards the VET excellence awards and Component 3 provides opportunities for the heritage professionals through Horizon 202, Erasmus+, Denkmal Fair, EU Heritage Prize etc.
For interest groups, practitioners, Heritage professionals, local policymakers and societies, regional, local and national authorities, the Initiative 9 helps in decision making in Faro Convention for protecting heritage sites. Culturelabs as research project and REACH as social platform of Horizon 202 tries to improve evidence according to Component 1 while the STEPS as pilot project tries to recommend and test policies while targeting minority. The number of ratifications for Faro Conventions and its signatories were increased with The Faro Way in Component 3.
For academics, researchers, public authorities, innovators and heritage professionals, Initiative 10 is based on digitalization of access to sites which are physically inaccessible, valuing sustainable development and adapting to new ways. In 1st Component under Horizon 2020, various research initiatives will take place to digitalize European culture, transform cultural landscapes and urban areas into entrepreneurship hubs, promoting sustainable growth etc. web platforms will be created under Component 2 to generate expertise.