2022 Award Winners present their achievements at Czech Museum of Music in Prague

The 2022 edition of the Excellence Day took place on 25 September in the striking surroundings of the Czech Museum of Music in Prague. The event offered the winners of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2022 an opportunity to present their exemplary projects to the wider public. This year, 31 projects were awarded from across Europe, including one project from a country not taking part in the Creative Europe Programme, Turkey. The event assembled an audience of approximately 200 attendees, comprised of experts, officials, volunteers and those who take a keen interest in the conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage.

Excellence Day 2022

Elena Bianchi, Heritage Awards Coordinator at Europa Nostra, and Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, welcomed the audience and highlighted the importance of the Awards and Europa Nostra’s partnership with the European Commission on the 20th anniversary of the Awards scheme.

The 31 laureates of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2022 were introduced and invited on stage to participate in a discussion on the challenges they faced when executing their projects, and the lessons they learned. The presentations were divided into five panels with themes according to contemporary priorities in the heritage sector. The themes were ‘Quality Principles for Heritage Interventions’, ‘Heritage-led Innovation and Digital Transformation’, ‘Enhancing Intangible Heritage and the Transfer of Skills’, ‘Cultural Heritage as a Vector for Social Cohesion and Wellbeing’, and ‘Climate4Heritage: Empowering Climate Action and Sustainability through Cultural Heritage’.

Excellence Day 2022

The first session on Quality Principles for Heritage Interventions was moderated by Eugen Vaida, Member of the Heritage Awards Jury. The starting point of this discussion was the document European quality principles for EU-funded interventions with potential impact upon cultural heritage and other professional European and International standards for quality and heritage interventions, such as the Faro Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society, adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the Davos Baukultur Quality System and the principles of the New European Bauhaus. The discussion included the need for quality conservation principles and standards at each stage of a project, from conception to completion and the need to develop capacity throughout the wide range of stakeholders involved.

In the second session, Heritage-led Innovation and Digital Transformation, the panel focused on projects or initiatives which use digital technology to deliver value to users, audiences and communities and/or contribute to the transformation of the heritage sector powered by digital means. Examples of digital transformation making heritage accessible through the digitalisation or digitisation of heritage collections or tools that democratize access to heritage were also discussed. This panel was moderated by Harry Verwayen, Member of the Heritage Awards Jury.

The third session focused on Enhancing Intangible Heritage and the Transfer of Skills. The winners in this panel concerned exemplary projects or initiatives related to intangible cultural heritage with the aim of fostering knowledge transfer, capacity-building and/or enhancing traditional or new skills and crafts related to heritage. This round was moderated by Sara Crofts, Member of the Heritage Awards Jury.

After the lunch, the audience convened for the fourth session of the Excellence Day, Cultural Heritage as a Vector for Social Cohesion and Wellbeing, moderated by Maciej Hofman, Member of the Heritage Awards Jury. The discussion revolved around the opportunities that cultural heritage offers to revitalise communities, foster social cohesion, inclusion, multicultural dialogue and understanding, nurture a sense of place and belonging and personal wellness, celebrate diversity and multiple identities as well as stimulate citizens’ engagement, ownership and civic responsibility.

The final session, Climate4Heritage: Empowering Climate Action and Sustainability through Cultural Heritage, was moderated by Johanna Leissner, Member of the Heritage Awards Jury. The projects or initiatives in this session demonstrated the special relevance of cultural heritage to assess and/or mitigate the effects of climate change and to contribute to key areas of the European Green Deal, including Clean Energy, Circular Economy, the Renovation Wave, Smart Mobility, Farm to Fork, Green Finance and a Just Transition, Research and Innovation, Education and Training, as well as Green Deal Diplomacy. At the basis of this discussion was the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper “Putting Europe’s shared heritage at the heart of the European Green Deal”, produced by Europa Nostra in close cooperation with ICOMOS and the Climate Heritage Network, with the support of the European Investment Bank Institute and the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

The final part of the Excellence Day included remarks by Catherine Magnant, Advisor for Cultural Heritage at the European Commission DG EAC – Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, who identified the common priorities among the winning initiatives. Bertrand de Feydeau, Chair of the Heritage Awards Jury, concluded the event by reflecting on the process of selecting the winners from among the many applications received from across Europe.

More information

Recordings of each of the presentations can be accessed here.
Photos of the Excellence Day can be viewed here.
The programme booklet of the Excellence Fair, including brief descriptions of the winning projects and information on each of the speakers, can be viewed here.

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