Europa Nostra and ESACH organise #Youth4Heritage webinar celebrating World Youth Skills Day 2022

On 15 July, Europa Nostra and ESACH – European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage organised the webinar “#Youth4Heritage – Reimagining cultural heritage skills to embrace the digital and green transition”. Over 50 young heritage professionals, students and enthusiasts from Europe and beyond exchanged views and shared experiences regarding the practical approaches of heritage projects, ways of getting involved in the sector and the skills needed in the future. The event took place on the occasion of World Youth Skills Day 2022 and was also a contribution to the European Year of Youth 2022.

This webinar aimed at promoting the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills and at empowering Europe’s youth to build a future that is more sustainable, inclusive and digital. Against the backdrop of the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and the deplorable war in Ukraine, it sought to highlight the gaps, challenges and opportunities in the transmission of skills to the next generation of heritage custodians.

The online event, moderated by Jasna Popović, European Heritage Youth Ambassador, gathered several special guests. The introductory remarks were delivered by Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, Secretary General of Europa Nostra, and Carlota Marijuán Rodríguez, President of ESACH.

A series of inspirational pitches were given by Alejandro Quecedo del Val from the Youth UNESCO Climate Action Network YoU-CAN, Emilia Sanchez Gonzalez, Digital Media Coordinator at ESACH, Vibhuti Yadav, Web Editor at ESACH, Sara Furlanetto, Co-founder of Va’ Sentiero, winner of a European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award 2022, Tiago Candeias, European Heritage Youth Ambassador, and Evangelia Paschalidou from Europeana Network Association Climate Action Community Steering Group.

Young generation at the heart of the digital and green transition

The pitches were followed by two presentations, given by Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio, Project Manager at the University of Barcelona, who introduced the CHARTER project, and Else Gootjes from Erfgoed Gelderland, who highlighted The Future is Heritage Summit, taking place on the occasion of the European Cultural Heritage Summit on 24-27 September in Prague, Czech Republic.

In her address, the Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, highlighted that young people are well rooted into the present and are a vital resource for the future of Europe. She alsodrew attention to the fact that the synergy between the analogue and the digital should be seen as a “winning combination” and that the digital can function as an enhancing tool in the cultural heritage sector.

In her speech, ESACH President, Carlota Marijuán Rodríguez, pointed out the role that young people can play in the digital and green transition. In her view, the young generation is at the heart of this transition, and the youth is “quietly, but surely leading the way in the transformation of the cultural heritage sector”.

Alejandro Quecedo del Val shared some thoughts on how cultural heritage, despite the fact that it is under threat from climate change, can also be an asset in this fight, due to the sustainable practices which can be found upon looking into the past. Emilia Sanchez Gonzalez and Vibhuti Yadav talked about how instrumental digital tools have been in the growth of ESACH’s network and encouraged young people to learn as many digital skills as possible.

Sara Furlanetto brought into discussion the ways in which mountains and mountainous landscapes can become “centres of opportunity” and a catalyst for sustainable tourism and community-building, while Tiago Candeias presented the MI.MOMO.FARO project, which blends architectural heritage, Minecraft and school education in all kinds of innovative ways. The pitches’ section of the webinar was wrapped up by Evangelia Paschalidou, who shared her personal experience with Europeana and mentioned embracing interdisciplinarity, reaching out for collaborations and discussions as well as the power of grassroots movements for igniting shifts across all levels, from organisational perspectives to school curricula.

During the presentations’ section of the webinar, Herman Bashiron Mendolicchio showcased the CHARTER project, which aims at looking into the current situation of existing skills within the cultural heritage sector and then drafting a strategy to ensure the sector’s sustainability and relevance amidst contemporary societal issues.

The Future is Heritage Summit

Last but not least, Else Gootjes warmly invited the attendees to The Future is Heritage Summit, which will approach topics such as heritage and inclusion and contested heritage, among others.

 

The event continued with a tour de table and fruitful exchange of views, during which the panellists interacted with the lively audience and addressed topics such as communicating with public administrations or intergenerational dialogue and finding allies among the more tenured professionals. Among the points raised by the panellists were the “invisible borders” between academia, heritage practitioners and the public administrations, bridging the gap between the professional reality and academic curricula in order to make the cultural heritage sector stronger from an economic point of view and (re)learning skills.

The moderator Jasna Popović closed the event with a tour-de-table during which the panellists mentioned practical ways for developing the cultural heritage sector, such as using the sense of identity fostered through heritage as a way of taking action, not losing hope despite obstacles or giving value to people as transmitters of knowledge. The need to take climate action ahead of any cultural heritage strategies was also stressed, as well as the necessity to open up cultural institutions more towards the public and the communities.

“I think it’s really important to dream, to be creative, you shouldn’t be afraid to take the risk”, said European Heritage Youth Ambassador Tiago Candeias

The #Youth4Heritage activities receive the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union through Europa Nostra’s Network project European Cultural Heritage Agora: “Empowering Europe’s Civil Society Movement for Heritage” (2022-2024).

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