The Best in Heritage Conference in Dubrovnik showcases 42 state-of-art projects from across the world
From 28-30 September, the UNESCO World Heritage City of Dubrovnik in Croatia was the centre of the world of cultural heritage excellence. During The Best in Heritage Conference, some 140 professionals from 32 countries learned about the world’s most influential museum and heritage projects, took part in intense discussions on various topics and discovered the magic of Dubrovnik. Among the 42 innovative and inspiring projects presented were 7 winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards. The conference was organised by the European Heritage Association, based in Zagreb, in partnership with Europa Nostra and with the support of the EU Creative Europe programme and ICOM Endowment Fund.
The welcome ceremony took place at the Marin Držić Theatre on the evening of 28 September. John Sell, Executive Vice-President of Europa Nostra and Chairman of the Advisory Board for The Best in Heritage, Sneška Quaedvlieg Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Professor Tomislav Šola, Director of the Best in Heritage, Suay Aksoy, President of ICOM – International Council of Museums, and Jelka Tepšić, Deputy Mayor of the City of Dubrovnik, addressed the audience. The ceremony concluded with the keynote address “Does culture produce bread?” by Dr. Roberto Nardi, Director of the Centre for Archaeological Conservation in Rome.
The first day of the conference was dedicated to the IMAGINES programme featuring projects on multimedia and new technologies in the museum and heritage fields. Among the 14 projects presented at the Multimedia Hall Visia were two winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2016 in the category Research: Granaries of Memory, Bra, Italy and Prehistoric Picture Project. Pitoti: Digital Rock-Art, Cambridge, UK.
Over the second and third days of the conference, 28 museum, heritage and conservation projects nationally or internationally recognised in 2016, were shown at the Marin Držić theatre. Five winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards presented and discussed their outstanding achievements: in the category Conservation, Wimpole Hall’s Gothic Tower, Cambridgeshire, UK; in the category Research, the Conservation study of the village Gostuša in Pirot district, Serbia (Grand Prix); in the category Dedicated Service, the Employees and Activists of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, BiH (Grand Prix); and in the category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising, ‘Adopt a Monument’, Tampere, Finland (Grand Prix) and Preserving and promoting dance heritage, Berlin, Germany. All presentations illustrated state-of-the-art practices and provided the ideal platform for lively discussions and networking.
The closing ceremony was held in the beautiful Rector’s Palace on the evening of 30 September. Professor Tomislav Šola, Director of the Best in Heritage, and John Sell, Executive Vice-President of Europa Nostra, hosted the event and announced ‘The Projects of Influence 2017’. The conference participants selected Micropia, Amsterdam, the Netherlands as ‘The Project of Influence 2017’ and Limburg 1914-1918: Small Stories from a Great War, Belgium, which won the Heritage in Motion Best Achievement Award 2016, as the ‘The IMAGINES Project of Influence 2017’. Heritage in Motion is a joint initiative of the European Museum Academy, Europa Nostra and Europeana.
During the 16th edition of the conference, the participants enjoyed guided tours of Dubrovnik City Walls and museums, visits of the enchanting Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains in the Old City and live performances of traditional musical heritage from Croatia.
On the occasion of the event, Europa Nostra’s Executive Vice-President John Sell and Secretary General Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović had a meeting with the Mayor of Dubrovnik Mato Franković, who reaffirmed the City’s support for The Best in Heritage Conference and showed keen interest in raising the profile of the event during the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.