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© 2018 by Refresh project

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Our heritage: where the past meets the future

What is Refresh?

Refresh  is a European Project approved under the Creative Europe Programme, included in the activities of the  European Year of Cultural Heritage. 

The principal aim of the project is to bring the cultural heritage of the participating peoples and regions closer to the people, celebrate their diversity and share their value with future generations.

Description of the project

 

The project partners decided to take part in the celebration of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage through a joint initiative aiming at bringing the selected heritage sites closer to the people through artistic creation and intercultural dialogue.

 

Our main idea is to explore the cultural heritage in new ways that would at the same time build closer relationships with the existing audiences and to reach out to other community groups which have so far been more difficult to engage in exploring the cultural heritage, and to support interaction between cultural heritage organisations, artists and audience from different cultural backgrounds.

 

The REFRESH unites partners from four different cultural backgrounds and institutions who are brave enough to release potentials of ‘young crazy talented artists’ to sweep the dust from the walls of towns and palaces and create, perform and play with the locals during the REFRESH Heritage Weeks (RHW).

Challenges of the project

The cultural heritage is our link with the past and our resource for the future. However, changing life styles, new technologies and fast way of living often lead us to forget about its potentials and values.

 

The project partner identified two main common challenges:

 

1. How can the cultural heritage become more integrated in local communities?

Cultural heritage is often associated with tourism, whereas links with local community and its groups are still recognised as insufficient by the cooperating partners. Many potentials of how to make cultural heritage part of everyday experience, how to re-use it in new and creative ways, remain unexplored.

In the experience of partners, many cultural heritage and related events are visited by the same type of audience who already perceive culture as part of their life (elderly, cultural professionals, ...). On the other hand, there are groups which could be attracted, but for various reasons (life style, social, economic, educational) are not reached by usual practices. The main gap is perceived especially in how to engage better the children and youth, but also mid-generations, young families are those that the partner would like to attract more through development of more interactive approaches.

 

This requires:

-      Increased interaction between the cultural organisations and the local community (schools, civil society sector, specific target groups, etc.) to recognise their needs, interests and potentials;

-      Approaching to the promotion of cultural heritage in cooperation with other cultural and creative industries;

-      Experimentation in the sense of developing new ideas and approaches to working with the existing and/or potential new audience, community groups on joint development and co-creation of cultural contents;

-      Exchange of experience and increased of knowledge on the audience development between the partners themselves and experts in the field.

 

2. How to strengthen the awareness of the value of the cultural heritage and its diversity in the wider European context?

The countries participating in the project and the selected heritage sites provide a rich diversity in terms of the histories of the places including architecture, music, literature, arts, dance, etc. Each place is unique and the local people can identify with it, whereas the sense of being part of the wider European space still needs to be promoted and encouraged. This challenge can be addressed in several ways:

 

-      Providing opportunities for intercultural dialogue by enabling the exchanges of artists, in particularly young talents, to explore joint history;

-      Engage the local audience and other target groups in discovery and reflection about the cultural heritage or development and co-creation of new cultural contents in cooperation with artists from other countries;

-      Exploring the opportunities of modern technologies to improve connections between artists and the audience from different parts of Europe and to increase access the cultural heritage through virtual tools.