Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe

Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe

Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe is an international research project whose aim was to collect and critically analyse quantitative and qualitative data that verify the thesis on the positive impact of cultural heritage on economic and social spheres, as well as on culture and natural environment. Project authors assume that cultural heritage should be regarded in terms of development resources, rather than as a sphere requiring financial investment and protective measures. It seems that it is commonly accepted that cultural heritage plays a major role in all spheres of life and on all levels – local, regional, national, and European. However, very often, there are no “proofs” or arguments based on the evaluation of actual projects that could substantiate these claims. Research teams working for the Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe consortium undertook the task of identifying existing research projects on the impact of heritage realised in particular member states of the European Union and this way verify the initial thesis on an important role of heritage for the socio-economic development of Europe.

What is lacking in research projects undertaken in Europe is a cross-cutting, comprehensive study of the value and significance of heritage on European level, which would constitute a reliable foundation for new regulations based on statistics and reflecting all aspects of the issue. The aim of Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe was, then, to take action towards filling this gap through an analysis of collected data and identifying areas that should be addressed in the future. A study of this sort was considered an essential starting point for the development of an EU strategy for cultural and natural environment – a strategy that defines heritage in terms of crucial values and resources as well as fully makes use of its potential, bringing profits to the EU citizens.

The two-year-long efforts of the project consortium resulted in a report, which, basing on particular examples of the evaluation of the impact of cultural heritage on socio-economic sphere, presents the significance of cultural heritage for various aspects of life of Europe’s citizens. For this purpose, project members have developed a holistic four domain approach. An interdisciplinary approach helped embrace a wide spectrum of impact of heritage on our lives, illustrated within four overlapping domains – economy, social and cultural issues, and natural environment. Providing persuasive arguments founded on research results, the report includes also recommendations addressed to policy makers and executive authorities on European, national, and regional level, suggesting a better use of the development potential of cultural heritage.

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The project was carried out by a specially appointed consortium consisting of institutions and organisations specialising in research on cultural heritage, its management and promotion. The project was coordinated by Europa Nostra, while research partners included the International Cultural Centre (Krakow) and Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (KU Leuven, Belgium). Three other organisations participate in the project: ENCATC (The European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centre), Heritage Europe – EAHTR (European Association of Historic Towns & Regions), as well as the Heritage Alliance (partnership institution from Great Britain).
The project was realised from July 2013 to June 2015.

Selected in February 2013, this project is made possible with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union. The project is one of four to receive a grant in the framework of the Culture Programme (2007-2013) / Budgetary year 2013 under Strand 3.2 – Cooperation projects between organisations involved in cultural policy analysis. The project will run from July 2013 to August 2015 when it will conclude with a final conference in Brussels to present the project’s findings.

For more information on Strand 3.2 Cooperation projects between organisations involved in cultural policy analysis and selected project descriptions including “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe: Towards an European Index for Cultural Heritage” please click here.

Timetable
  • On July 3–4, 2013 the first Steering Committee meeting in Brussels was held that gathered together 13 representatives from the project’s six partner institutions to discuss project coordination issues, research methodology, data gathering and analysis, and communication matters. Representatives from the European Commission, DG Education and Culture, Unit Culture Policy and Intercultural Dialogue and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency were also invited to learn more about the project and its objectives.
  • On December 4, 2013 in Brussels, the second meeting of the steering committee of the project took place, where the decisions of the methodology were made and the first results of the preliminary research were presented.
  • On December 5, 2013 in Brussels the Secretary General of Europa Nostra, Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, and the President of Europa Nostra, Plácido Domingo, officially launched the international project “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe”. The inauguration coincided with the conference “Cultural Heritage for Europe, Europe for Cultural Heritage” marking the end of the 50 years jubilee of Europa Nostra, which acts as the coordinator of the project. This conference was an occasion for policy makers, civil society organisations, academics, researchers, heritage professionals and stakeholders, local, regional and national authorities, and representatives of European and international institutions to gather in support for heritage in Europe, to advocate need for the development of a true EU strategy for cultural heritage, and to learn more about the “Cultural Heritage Counts for Europe” project.
  • On May 19, 2014 another steering committee meeting was held in Leuven with an aim to discuss the work done so far and plans for the next months.
  • On October 16-17, 2014 there will be a steering committee meeting organised in Krakow that will be accompanied by a round table of experts and two events open to the public:
  • 16.10 at 6 p.m. What is heritage worth? – an international expert debate.
  • The debate will present the potential areas of impact of cultural heritage identified by the project: economy, society, environment and culture. Experts invited from Western Europe and Poland will present various approaches to measuring the value of heritage. see the photos
  • 17.10 at 6 p.m. What is heritage worth? – a lecture by Professor Gregory J. Ashworth. The lecture will inaugurate the 9th edition of a postgraduate study The Academy of Heritage. As heritage means the contemporary uses of pasts it has many political and social purposes. However, it is also used directly and indirectly in local economic development. Although this is widely attempted there is no universal model for success, no automatic windfall gain and there are costs as well as benefits. There are lessons to be learned from practice but they are the lessons of careful management not the lessons of automatic imitation. see the photos
  • February 2015 – steering committee meeting in Leuven.
  • June 2015 – publication of the report and its presentation during a Europa Nostra conference.



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