European Heritage Alliance members participate in Fair of European Innovators in Cultural Heritage

The ‘Fair of European Innovators in Cultural Heritage’ that took place on 15-16 November in Brussels attracted a wide range of stakeholders and experts from the fields of research and innovation and cultural heritage. One of the highlights of the fair was the launch of the “Community of Innovators in Cultural Heritage” by the European Commission.

During the fair, the Vice-Mayor for Civil Society and Innovation of the City of Athens, Amalia Zepou, outlined how cities can innovate through cultural heritage. Athens is holding the title of European Capital of Innovation 2018 and as winner was awarded with a prize of EUR 1 million for its efforts in overcoming the economic and social crisis of the past years through innovation. Among the innovative actions related to cultural heritage by Athens were, for instance, the POLIS² project on revitalising abandoned buildings and the renovation of the Kypseli Public Market.

Several members of the European Heritage Alliance 3.3 also contributed to the conference: Eurocities, European Landowners Organisation, Europeana and Europa Nostra (read related news item about our contribution to the event).

In the high-level session on circular business and financial models for adaptive reuses of cultural heritage in cities, speakers made the link between heritage in transition and the circular economy, stressing the need to bring these two communities together. They also placed the debate also in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and the European initiative dedicated to adaptive reuse. One of the many examples mentioned was the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, which had also received an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards for conservation in 2010.

In another session on “Digital innovations for experiencing and co-creating cultural heritage”, European Heritage Awards laureate CultLab3D pitched the project on automated scanning technology for 3D digitisation. This research project was initiated by the Competence Center for Cultural Heritage Digitization at Fraunhofer IGD and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with the support of internal strategic investment funds of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.

European Heritage Alliance 3.3 member, EUROCITIES co-organised a workshop on “Regeneration and Optimisation of Cultural heritage in creative and Knowledge cities (ROCK project)”, which is co-funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme and of which Eurocities is a partner.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to innovators going international, with speakers discussing and showcasing “Cultural heritage supporting intercultural dialogue and cultural diplomacy”. In this session, Europa Nostra Council member Koen van Balen from the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation at the KU Leuven presented the ILUCIDARE project. This project on “cultural heritage leading to innovation and contributing to cultural diplomacy” is co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme and Europa Nostra is one of the consortium partners.

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