European Conference on Voluntary Organisations in the Field of Heritage

In 2010 Heemkunde Vlaanderen organised the European Conference on Voluntary Organisations in the Field of Heritage in Mechelen, to stress the importance of collaboration in European cultural heritage.

The European Conference on Voluntary Organisations in the Field of Heritage on 5 and 6 July 2010, addressed the issues of active citizenship, civil society and volunteer organisations within the European heritage sector. The first conference, named Heritage Care through Active Citizenship, took place in 2009, with speakers such as Marc Jacobs, the current director of Faro, a Flemish interface for cultural heritage. The main focus of the 2010 edition was the active participation and discussion of the European civil society of heritage. Apart from the keynote speeches by Adele Finley, representative of the Manchester Museum, and Adina Dragu, an expert consultant of the Center of Professsional Training in Culture in Bucharest, the participants attended a World Café, a poster session, workshops and a plenary discussion.

The opening speech was given by Jan Vermassen, representative of the Flemish Ministry of Culture, which was followed by the lecture ‘Volunteers for Cultural Heritage: a Partnership perspective on current trends and future’ by Adele Finley and Adina Dragu’s lecture ‘Volunteering for Culture in Romania – Building the Relation’. In the afternoon the participants attended four World Cafés, each with its own subject. These were ‘ Sustainable use of cultural heritage’, ‘The role of heritage organisations’, ‘The value of cultural heritage for society’ and ‘Cultural heritage and digital technology’. This was followed by a poster session. The first day was concluded by a guided visit of the St. Rumbold’s Cathedral.

On the second day the participants could choose a workshop about one of the themes of the world cafés that took place on the previous day, which they discussed afterwards. The conference was concluded with a speech by Eva Hambach ‘Volunteering and influencing policy (makers)’ about the importance of volunteering for cultural heritage and the challenges it faces. She stressed the importance of developing a strategy to convince policymakers and political parties of the importance of engagement of citizens in cultural heritage.

The conference was supported by different partners, namely Association Nationale Culture et Traditions (France), Bond Heemschut (Netherlands), Center for Citizenship Education (Poland), CIOFF – Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d’Arts Traditionnels, ECOVAST – European Council for the Village and Small Town, Europa Nostra, FARO – Flemish interface for cultural heritage (Belgium), Forum voor Erfgoedverenigingen (Belgium), Heemkunde Vlaanderen (Belgium), Lamot Heritage Center (Belgium), Simbdea (Italy) and Wind Rose Association (Croatia).

These are the slides of the speeches given at this conference.

Volunteers for Cultural heritage: a partnership perspective on current trends and future challenges
Volunteering for culture in Romania – building the relation
Volunteering and influencing policy(makers)

The first conference in 2009 on the 23rd and 24th of March was an initiative to bring civil society together from the broad field of heritage in Europe and to consolidate, value and support the role of civil society organisations active in the field of heritage. FARO, ECOVAST, Europa Nostra, Heemkunde Vlaanderen, Association Nationale Culture and Traditions, CIOFF, Contactforum voor efgoedverenigingen, VCM and Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej were the partners for this project.

The conference started with four speeches. Dag Myklebust, the directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway, started with ‘From Oslo to Mechelen – via Portoroz’ and was followed by Annick Schramme from the University of Antwerp, who gave the lecture ‘Civil society action in the field of heritage in Europe: strengths and weaknesses’. Marc Jacobs, the director of FARO talked about ‘The Republic of Heritage. Citizenship, sustainable formal and informal networks and cultural dynamics’, after which Simon Murray, who works for National Trust in the UK, spoke about ‘The National Trust’s new approach to Heritage Care through Active Citizenship’.

These speakers were followed by four workshops featuring the following subjects: ‘The local connection – Heritage, place and communities’, ‘The people connection – heritage and volunteers’, ‘The trans-border connection – Heritage and networks’ and ‘The transmission of cultural heritage: intangible heritage and heritage education’.

The following day started with lectures from four different speakers, namely Hervé Glevarec, with ‘le souci patrimonial amateur comme enracinement’; Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović, with ‘Building a structured dialogue between civil society and European decision makers’; Kristin Kuutma, who gave a lecture about ‘Cultural Heritage and Empowerment of Communities: Challenges of Representations and Politics’ and lastly Daniel Thérond who talked about ‘Innovative approaches of the Faro Council of Europe Convention and shared responsibility for cultural heritage’. Like the previous day, these lectures were followed by workshops, both named ‘Call for action – Active citizenship in the field.’

These are the slides of the speeches given at the conference, as well as the powerpoints of the workshops and the general report.


From Oslo to Mechelen – via Portoroz
Civil society action in the field of heritage in Europe: strengths and weaknesses
The National Trust’s new approach to Heritage Care through Active Citizenship

Citizen engagement in the Heritage and future of Small Towns and Landscapes
An integral, durable and socially integrated approach: the Roosendael domain
Historic Revivals and their Influence on Local Communities – Showcasing the Medieval Festival of Rhodes
Activities of NGOs in the field of cultural heritage in Montenegro: EXPEDITIO & NOTAR
The Story of Mann – an expression of local, national and international value for heritage identity
Communities of Practice around Silence, Quiet and Open Space in Flanders
Cultural landscape as place for civil society engagement in heritage management
Faith in Maintenance – Helping Volunteers Care for Historic Places of Worship
So that the past has a future – the German Foundation for Monument Protection
The Role of Volunteers from Civil Society in the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage of Europe
‘Westhoek imag(in)es’: a regional image base made by volunteers
Restoring traditional buildings in Croatia
Civil organisations in the Hungarian folk culture
Grensschap Albertkanaal: a gaze protecting landscape values and creating cross border unity
Heritage Care through Active Citizenship: what does it take?
Towards an inventory of heritage organisations in Europe
Des ‘totems roubaisiens’ aux ‘beffrois du travail/belforten van de arbeid’
Réseau Art Nouveau Network: increasing civil society awareness of Art Nouveau heritage
South-East Europe Heritage Network (SEE Heritage)
Networking the Cultural Heritage of the Baltic Diaspora
Masques et Mascarades – Faces multiples d’Europe
Revitalisation des jeux traditionnels
Mutra Fondation for traditional music – Three countries one culture
Traces of the Past – Education for the Future
Heritage literacy
The Future for our Past: ICT supports cultural heritage understanding
Making (heritage) policy relevant for ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups
Protection of historical-cultural and natural heritage in Azerbaijan and activities of NGOs
Heritage Care and NGOs in a Changing Society
Heritage NGOs in Flanders and the Flemish heritage policy 1
Heritage NGOs in Flanders and the Flemish heritage policy 2
L’ancrage des organisations volontaires dans la législation – un élément important pour leur perception par la société
Small, rebellious museums. Heritage awaiting a succession
Future listed buildings and ensembles from the reconstruction period (1940-1965) in the Netherlands
Push your government. The Old-Limburgian Schuttersfeast as intangible cultural heritage

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