Europa Nostra participates in Conference ‘Cherishing Heritage: Quality principles for intervention on heritage’

Europa Nostra contributed to the public debate on quality principles in EU funded interventions on cultural heritage at the conference ‘Cherishing Heritage’ which took place in Venice on 22-23 November. The conference was organised by the European Commission in cooperation with ICOMOS – the International Council on Monuments and Sites as a key event of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and contributed to the European Initiative 6 – Cherishing Heritage.

The Conference presented an opportunity to discuss the draft document ‘European Quality Principles for Cultural Heritage Interventions’, which was prepared by a group of experts set up by ICOMOS under the mandate of the European Commission. The document focuses on the core issue of quality in interventions on cultural heritage and provides a summary of key concepts, standards, international charters, European conventions, and changes in the understanding and practice of heritage conservation. It proposes the adoption of quality measures by raising awareness of conservation principles and standards at each stage of a project, from conception to completion. It also emphasises the need to develop capacity throughout the wide range of stakeholders involved.

Europa Nostra was represented at the Conference by Rossana Bettinelli, Board Member, Etienne Poncelet, Council Member, and Gabriel Ruiz Cabrero, Vice-Chair of the Jury Conservation of the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards. Gabriel Ruiz Cabrero took part in the panel discussion ‘The Drivers of Quality’, which focused on the external factors that can have an impact on quality, namely governance, risk assessment, research, education, training and awareness-raising, and mentioned the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.

Stefan Balici, Director General of the National Institute of Heritage of Romania and Council Member of Europa Nostra, contributed to the panel ‘Addressing quality in the life cycle of European funded interventions on cultural heritage’, together with another six panelists, including Francisco de Paula Coelho, Dean of the European Investment Bank Institute.

The other panel discussion of the Conference concentrated on ‘Quality of cultural heritage interventions for a sustainable Europe’.

Participants to the conference gave useful comments and feedback to improve the draft document. Étienne Poncelet called for more European governance in the field of heritage protection, while Rossana Bettinelli suggested to add a list of clearly defined quality principles to the document. The final version of the document will be published at the beginning of 2019, when a Public Consultation will also be launched.

The final document will provide guidance on quality principles for all stakeholders directly or indirectly engaged in EU-funded heritage conservation and management (i.e., European institutions, managing authorities, civil society and local communities, private sector, and experts).

As part of the conference, Faro Venezia and Venti di Cultura organised the Heritage Walk ‘Living Arsenale, the heritage of its values of use’ on 23 November, a transversal itinerary that aimed to reinforce the dialogue towards a shared vision for the Venice Arsenale.

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