Shortlisted projects for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2020 celebrated with online meeting

On Thursday 16 July, the ILUCIDARE Consortium, including Europa Nostra, and the European Commission co-hosted a virtual meeting with the 6 shortlisted projects of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes 2020 within the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards, which reward excellence in heritage-led innovation and international cultural relations.

Representatives of the 6 shortlisted projects, representatives of the European Commission, of the ILUCIDARE Consortium and the ILUCIDARE Jury, together with staff of Europa Nostra participated in this special meeting.

Secretary-General of Europa Nostra, Sneška Quaedvlieg–Mihailović opened the meeting by congratulating the 6 projects for their pre-selection: “The 6 shortlisted projects represented here today are remarkable examples of how cultural heritage can contribute to foster innovation and creativity in Europe and to enhance the positive role of the EU in the world through international cultural cooperation. Your projects also represent the Success Stories that Europe deeply needs in these trying times, and are a true inspiration for Europe and for the rest of the world”.

Emanuela de Menna, Project Adviser at the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) of the European Commission, reminded the importance of being associated to the prestigious European Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards, and to be shortlisted for the very first edition of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes. She reminded the wider policy objectives of the ILUCIDARE project, funded by the EU Research and Innovation programme Horizon 2020. “It is difficult to define what heritage-led innovation is. In the context of ILUCIDARE and for the European Commission, innovation is not only related to the market but is also societal. It is not only technical but can be related to many areas, as your projects clearly exemplify”, she said. Emanuela de Menna also outlined how cultural heritage can foster innovation and contribute to the international cultural relations of the EU, including by promoting intercultural dialogue, supporting the just transition of our economies and societies, supporting climate action and promoting the sustainable re-use of heritage buildings.

Koen Van Balen, Coordinator of the ILUCIDARE Project at the University of KU Leuven, reminded the importance of cultural heritage for Europe and the need to promote best practices showcasing its positive impact. “The landmark study Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe, coordinated by Europa Nostra and developed together with other partners, demonstrates that cultural heritage plays a crucial role in improving our economic and social environment and making it more sustainable. It is difficult to define heritage- led innovation and international cultural relations, therefore Europe needs examples in these fields; this is exactly what your projects are contributing to”, he added.

Laurent Lévi-Strauss, Chair of ILUCIDARE Jury, reminded the selection process for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes within the European Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards.
A total of 6 entries were shortlisted: 3 for heritage-led innovation and 3 for heritage-led international cultural relations. The ILUCIDARE Jury met on 21 February 2020 to discuss the shortlisted entries. “The ILUCIDARE Jury was very impressed with the quality of the shortlisted projects”, he added.

The shortlisted projects were then invited to speak about what being shortlisted for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes means to them, what they expect from joining the ILUCIDARE community, and to share their message for Europe. Lorena Aldana, European Policy Coordinator at Europa Nostra, moderated the session.

First, the 3 shortlisted projects for heritage-led innovation were invited to speak, followed by the 3 shortlisted projects for heritage- led international relations.

Among the shortlisted projects for heritage-led innovation, the first to speak was Daniel Basulto, Architect at Fundación Santa María la Real del Patrimonio Histórico, who presented Smart Heritage City, a European cooperation project between France, Portugal and Spain. He spoke about the importance of this pioneering project for the City of Avila, Spain, where it has been a successful tool not only for its technological innovation but also at a communication level, receiving great press interest and attention. “Without the support and funding by the EU, Smart Heritage City would not have been possible”, he said.

Marieke Muilwijk, Muilwijk Landschap Advies, Advisor to Municipality of -s’Hertogenbosch then presented the St. John’s Bulwark project in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. She outlined the importance of heritage assets, not only in financial terms but also and mainly in terms of social return. “The results of this project make us very proud. We have greatly learned about the history of the town, including on its social structures, and this is the innovation we are looking for”, she said.

Lemmit Kaplinski, Board Member of TYPA – the Estonian Print and Paper Museum in Tartu, Estonia, presented the last short-listed project under the heritage-led innovation category. “Being shortlisted for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes means a lot to us. We are seeking collaborations in the field of cultural heritage but also cross disciplinary links, including with artists, young people and academia. We are sure this pre-selection will help us achieve this”, he said.

Among the shortlisted projects for heritage-led international relations, the first to speak was Stefania Ermidoro, Director of AVASA, who presented the project Archaeology for a young future, a collaboration between Italy and Syria. “Our project promotes engagement of young generations with cultural heritage, creating pride in their past to help protect their cultural sites. The idea is very simple: we do twinning among schools in Italy and Syria, creating and sustaining links among young people through tangible and local archaeological heritage”, she said. “We are very proud of being part of the shortlisted projects for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes”, she added.

Peter Jamieson, Chairman of the shortlisted project Friends of Czech Heritage in the United Kingdom then took the floor. “We very much welcome the pan-European connection provided by the ILUCIDARE pre-selection. We look forward to meeting in person and share our experiences”, he said.

Volkmar Umlauft, Member of the Board of Trustees of the shortlisted project Oppenheim House in Wrocław, Poland, then presented the last project under the heritage-led international relations category. “The Oppenheim House has over 700 years of history and does not know only one truth. It reflects the history of the Jewish people, Germans and Polish. Our mission is to show this often painful history through exhibitions and activities, and encourage diversity in our current society”, he said. “Being shortlisted for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes is an encouragement to continue our work”, he added.

Emanuela de Menna and Koen Van Balen wrapped up the meeting and thanked the representatives of the shortlisted projects for sharing their inspiring experiences.

Emanuela de Menna stated: “the variety of shortlisted projects exemplify how cultural heritage can contribute to current societal issues; from tackling the spread of fake news, to promoting reconciliation and supporting digital learning”. Koen Van Balen noted how the shortlisted projects demonstrate the importance of communities in cultural heritage initiatives. “Changes will happen when the community comes together and takes responsibility for their heritage assets”, he said. “You are the community actors who have brought about change in your respective contexts, and who have empowered your community through cultural heritage. Your projects embody the key contributions of cultural heritage to our society”, he added.

The two winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes, one for heritage-led innovation and another one for heritage-led international relations will be announced in the autumn of 2020. The Call for Entries for the 2021 edition of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes within the European Heritage Awards/ Europa Nostra Awards is now open for submissions, until 1 October 2020 (date of sending).

Read more about the shortlisted projects for the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes here.

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