Helena Vaz da Silva Award for Heritage and Journalism launched
Europa Nostra, together with Centro Nacional de Cultura, its representation in Portugal, and Clube Português de Imprensa, the Portuguese media professionals’ association, launched the call for nominations for the inaugural European Award for Heritage and Journalism on 24 April. The prize, named after the Portuguese journalist and writer Helena Vaz da Silva in acknowledgement of her exceptional contribution to the promotion of cultural heritage and European ideals, will be presented annually to a European citizen. The award ceremony, which will also mark Europa Nostra’s 50th Anniversary, is expected to take place in Lisbon in October.
The Helena Vaz da Silva European Award will honour a national of a European Member State, whose career has been distinguished by activities that disseminate, defend and promote Europe’s cultural heritage, in particular through literary works, news reports, articles, chronicles, photographs, documentary features, films and radio and/or television programmes. The deadline for the submission of nominations by the Council and Board members of the partner organisations is 25 May.
A multinational jury comprised of eminent experts in the fields of culture, heritage, communication and journalism will meet in Lisbon on 21 June to consider the nominations and decide on the winner. The jury is comprised of seven members: from Belgium, Piet Jaspaert, Board Member of Europa Nostra; from Portugal, Guilherme d’Oliveira Martins, President of the Centro Nacional de Cultura, João David Nunes, Member of the Clube Português de Imprensa, and Francisco Pinto Balsemão, Chairman of the media group Impresa Publishing; from Spain, José-María Ballester, former Director of Cultural Heritage at the Council of Europe and Chairman of one of the juries for the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards; from Serbia, Irina Subotic, Vice-president of Europa Nostra Serbia; and from Italy, Antonio Foscari Widmann Rezzonico, professor and architectural historian.
Announced at Europa Nostra’s Congress in Lisbon on June 2012, this award scheme seeks to recognise the fundamental role played by media professionals in the promotion of cultural heritage in Europe.
Helena Vaz da Silva (1939-2002) was one of the first and most influential cultural journalists in Portugal. “She looked simultaneously for creation, innovation and protection of cultural heritage, because from her point of view they all meant the same. Her writing and action were thus always demanding exercises of criticism and civic mobilisation”, wrote the renowned Portuguese painter Graça Morais in the issue of the magazine Heritage in Motion dedicated to Portugal. In addition to her major contribution to the Centro Nacional de Cultura, over which she presided from 1979 to 2002, Helena Vaz da Silva undertook a myriad of activities to raise awareness of culture and heritage at the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.