On 20th November 2019, the ILUCIDARE Playground gathered 200 participants ranging from heritage professionals to company owners, researchers, academics, NGOs, local authorities, international organisations representatives, activists, foundations in Brussels for the first time in a series of international events.
Cover photo: Valentina Volpe from Music 4 Diplomacy performing with the Jenlis Sisters.
Cracking the future of heritage
Untitled ‘Cracking the future of heritage’ the unconventional event aimed at sparking discussions and enriching participants’ knowledge about the many ways heritage can lead innovation and international cooperation, thanks to a diversity of speakers from 16 nationalities.
The objective was fulfilled with a keen participative audience, passionate speakers, atypical formats with surprising elements, fruitful exchanges resulting in a coming together of ideas for heritage-led innovation, diplomacy and international cultural relations.
Heritage as a cross-cutting enabler
The day kicked off with a keynote by Bonnie Burnham (Cultural Heritage Finance Alliance), defining heritage as a cross-cutting enabler for education, tourism, empowerment, economy, social cohesion, environmental action. She called for new management frameworks creating investable situations for heritage, oriented towards the fulfilment of sustainable development goals.
Farm Cultural Park: an inspirational example
Andrea Bartoli, who took the floor right after, shared the inspirational example of Farm Cultural Park, a community project at the historic heart of Favara (Sicily), showing how small communities brought a dilapidated town centre back to life. The edgy artistic project has resulted in sustainable local development as well as housing, education and regeneration prospects for the city.
Highlights on ILUCIDARE’s work around the world
On these refreshing perspectives, ILUCIDARE coordinators Koen Van Balen and Aziliz Vandesande led the audience into the core of our project’s work around the world including research and on-site interventions. Participants were encouraged to look for the ILUCIDARE working definitions of heritage-led innovation and diplomacy in the postcards disseminated around the venue.
Two panels' discussions
The following panels provided diverse perspectives and inspiring examples on these topics.
Heritage as a resource for innovation
The first panel of innovators moderated by Julia Fallon (Europeana) explored heritage as common ground to drive social innovation, regional regeneration, skills development linking technology and people.
Innovation is often confused with technology or physical products but it is much broader as recalled by the panelists, covering co-management processes, urban development, social innovation to make links with the community.
The discussion focused on:
👉 bottom-up heritage-led urban regeneration
👉 digital platforms linking tech, arts & heritage around a story
👉 community-based creative hubs
👉 linking crafts and contemporary design
Strengthening the role of cultural heritage in diplomacy and international relations
Anupama Sekhar (ASEF) led the discussion of the second panel with representatives from the European Commission, ICCROM, the National Museum of Tanzania, an independent expert and the ALIPH foundation.
The debate called for a shift of focus towards a new multilateralism grounded on projects and private public partnership. Moving from a state to state or state to large international organisations was mentioned as a way to involve communities in territorial level of cooperation.
Key concepts evocated to approach cultural heritage in diplomacy and international relations:
👉 engage on an equal basis
👉 put communities at centre of the action
👉 decolonize approaches, models, and tools
👉 promote local resources and innovators instead of “importing” them in the Global South
👉 train local stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of heritage-led international action
A policy highlight
Heritage is high on the European Commission's agenda as demonstrated in the New Agenda for Culture, the place of culture and creativity in the future Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme and the work of the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. The recently established European Innovation Council Accelerator Pilot supports SMEs, including in heritage, with substantial funding and business support. ILUCIDARE is part of the Community of Innovators in Cultural Heritage and will animate a community on international relations.
From the workshops
The afternoon programme was jointly developed with 4 heritage-related projects Horizon 2020 projects: CLIC, ECHOES, RURITAGE and Rock provided their insights on heritage as a driver for entrepreneurship, the legacies of colonialism in heritage led diplomacy initiatives, heritage-led rural and urban regeneration. Collaboration will continue with these projects to develop a joint White Paper for recommendations on cross cutting themes such as innovation and entrepreneurship.
Four well-attended workshops run in parallel to a very popular speed-networking session with morning speakers and members of the ILUCIDARE Advisory Board.
The heritage diplomacy and international cooperation workshop looked at how to undertake heritage-led initiatives on the international scene: from needs assessment, memorandum of understanding/common grounds, shared ownership of the project and balanced power dynamics.
CLIC-led workshop on intrinsic value of heritage to drive entrepreneurship looked at ways in which such value can be recognized by local communities and can act as driver/enabler of new heritage-led entrepreneurship, valorizing the uniqueness of local cultural expressions. Download the workshop presentation.
Rock and RURITAGE joint workshop brainstormed heritage-led regeneration strategies for social inclusion, building resilience and boosting local sustainable development. Heritage can contribute to building communities’ resilience, to creating social inclusion, in particular for vulnerable groups and to driving creativity.
The IMEC (ILUCIDARE partner) Innovatrix and living lab methodology was applied to three heritage innovation cases to understand how to make such innovations scalable and marketable through understanding target audience needs, practices value propositions and barriers.
There will be another ILUCIDARE Playground in 2020. We cannot tell much more at the moment but stay tuned, we would be glad to have you there!