2014 The Best in Heritage in Dubrovnick gathered 140 participants

This year’s edition of The Best in Heritage conference took place on 25-27 September in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and brought together a diverse group of some 140 heritage professionals coming from 33 countries. The presentation of 24 award-winning museum, heritage and conservation projects – including five winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards – illustrated state-of-the-art practices and provided the ideal platform for interactive and fruitful discussions. The conference was organised in partnership with Europa Nostra and under the patronage of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

Europa Nostra was represented at the event by Denis de Kergorlay, Executive President, John Sell, Executive Vice-president, Piet Jaspaert, Board Member, and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General.

Professor Gael de Guichen’s keynote address during the event opening set the tone for the rest of the programme, which also contained four moderated discussions, capitalizing on this spirit of exchange even more.

The most innovative, professionally advanced and inspiring projects nationally or internationally recognised in 2013, were presented on 26 and 27 September at the neo-baroque theatre Marin Držić. Five winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards from last year presented and discussed their outstanding achievements: in the category Conservation, the Propylaea Central Building in Athens in Greece (which also won the Public Choice Award), the Forest of Saint Francis in Assisi in Italy and the King’s Cross Station in London in the UK; in the category Education, Training and Awareness-Raising, the SOS Azulejo Project in Loures in Portugal (Grand Prix winner) and the Irish Walled Towns Network Educational Programme in Kilkenny in Ireland.

Dynamic interaction between the audience and presenters allowed for each participant to contribute to the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, resulting in an atmosphere of collaboration and inspiration, both leading to professional advancement. The audience-elected award for the best formal presentation is encouragement for the presenters to make their presentations increasingly more engaging. The Museum aan de Stroom, laureate of the European Museum Forum’s Silletto Prize 2013, represented by its director Carl Depauw, was the one participants voted as the best in 2014. Besides being a global showcase of excellent practices, The Best in Heritage features rich social and cultural segments and presents an incentive for collaboration and network development.

The Global Heritage Forum, a joint-venture between Europa Nostra, the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO) and the European Heritage Association, brought together senior representatives of European and international heritage organisations and networks on 25 September. The purpose of the Forum, which was launched in 2013, is to examine the challenging issues which globally confront the heritage sector and formulate a Global Agenda for Heritage for each year so that participating organisations can, when appropriate, cooperate and coordinate to better address the identified issues. This year’s focus was constructive responses to unacceptable challenges. Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, and Simon Molesworth, Executive Chairman of INTO, led the three working sessions and moderate the discussions.

The conference programme was enriched by the eCultValue “Dialogue Day” pre-conference event, in collaboration with the European Museum Forum and eCultObservatory, at the Visia 5D Multimedia Museum. This quite unique programme gathered around 60 ICT and heritage experts to share and discuss the use of technology in the heritage sector.

The City of Dubrovnik once again fulfilled its role as a perfect host, thanks to both the enchanting atmosphere of its old city centre, a UNESCO world heritage site, and to the local support of the City and the Dubrovnik Museums.

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