At HERITΛGE we are delighted to announce the launch of a new EU-funded project AHEAD (Accessible Heritage Experience for Audiennce Development). The project, that seeks to remodel the heritage experience and provide a blueprint to help cultural organizations develop and engage new and existing audiences, held its kick-off meeting in Rome on January 24-26 2024.
AHEAD, which is funded by the European Union’s European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), brings together a dynamic consortium of partners, including Melting Pro (MEP), an Italian cultural consultancy that is responsible for managing the project; the Italian Ministry of Culture (MIC), the University De Le Iglesia De Deusto, in Bilbao, Spain, and the Brussels-based innnovation agency Impact Valley. Participants include the Archaeological Park of Ostia Antica in Italy and the Altamira National Museum and Research Centre in Spain.
Challenges in Cultural Heritage Sector and the AHEAD Impact Vision
Cultural Heritage (CH) stands as a vital economic and social resource for EU countries, yet many institutions face challenges in financial sustainability and audience engagement. AHEAD tackles these issues by addressing the low levels of entrepreneurial and audience-centered skills that are often found in cultural heritage institutions, introducing participatory audience development practices, and breaking down resistance to new marketing approaches among CH professionals all the while focusing on increasing accessibility for all and engaging local communities.
AHEAD’s vision is to innovate working practices in the CH sector by applying human-centered approaches, learning by doing, and data-driven methodologies. This transformative project aims to make the cultural heritage sector more relevant to communities, financially sustainable, and a catalyst for social, cultural, and economic growth.
The AHEAD Blueprint
AHEAD comprises three key components:
The AHEAD journey began with its kick-off meeting in Rome on January 24-26. Partners collaborated on shaping the AHEAD manifesto for audience engagement, taking into account all three key components of the project. Notably, the meeting saw the participation of end-users, including representatives from the Archaeological Park of Ostia Antica and the National Museum and Research Center of Altamira who contribution vital insights for the development of the project’s components.
During the project, HERITΛGE introduced partners and participants to SHIFT, a major EU-funded research project to make cultural heritage more appealing and inclusive.
Importantly, the project wrapped up with a presentation of AHEAD and a networking session with representatives of Italian cultural institutions at Rome’s Europa Experience – David Sassoli building that showcases the institutions and contributions of the European Union.
Stay tuned for updates as AHEAD unfolds, unlocking the full potential of cultural heritage for current and future generations.
By Çağla Parlak
We are thrilled to share our recent post-earthquake cultural heritage assessment field visit to Kahramanmaraş, Turkiye, conducted in cooperation with the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. This meaningful initiative was made possible through the generous funding provided by the Aliph Foundation.
Between 23-29 July, our team of dedicated conservationists assessed 175 historic buildings in the city of Kahramanmaraş, which suffered significant damage from the February 2023 earthquakes, including awe-inspiring civil architecture and time-honored monuments, each carrying the weight of centuries of history. The devastating earthquake had left its mark, reminding us of the vulnerability of our shared cultural heritage. The once-proud monuments, centuries-old buildings, and priceless artifacts bore the scars of nature’s fury, urging us to act swiftly to protect the region’s cultural treasures.
During our site visit, we focused on assessing the extent of the damage and devising restoration strategies. What touched us most was our engagement with the locals. They welcomed us with open hearts, sharing their concerns and hopes for the future of their historic houses.
By Mina Morou*
Women’s entrepreneurship in The Gambia has experienced remarkable growth, empowering women and catalyzing positive societal change. From supportive collectives in rural areas to innovative ventures across sectors, women entrepreneurs are breaking barriers and leading the charge towards a more inclusive and prosperous future.
A noteworthy example of this progress is the establishment of supportive collectives in rural areas, where women pool funds from their entrepreneurial endeavors to provide support within their group. This fosters solidarity, sisterhood, and shared responsibility, offering not just financial aid but also emotional support and knowledge exchange. During our work for HerMaP Gambia, we witnessed firsthand the impactful role of women collectives in promoting women’s entrepreneurship in The Gambia. These collectives serve as networks of support, fostering collaboration, shared experiences, and mutual assistance. They create an enabling environment that empowers women entrepreneurs to thrive in their ventures.
It is very encouraging that recent research shows most women employed in Micro – SME’s state that a range of opportunities such as micro-financing and business development opportunities like training and coaching are available to them in the country.
Women’s entrepreneurship plays a pivotal role in driving sustainable development, contributing to economic growth, employment opportunities, and innovation. Moreover, women entrepreneurs prioritize community development by supporting local suppliers and investing in socially impactful initiatives such as sustainable agriculture and tourism.
However, women entrepreneurs in The Gambia face challenges including limited access to finance, cultural biases, and gender inequalities. Overcoming these obstacles requires collective efforts from the government, private sector, and civil society. It is crucial to provide targeted financial support, offer business training and mentorship programs, and promote gender-responsive policies.
Creating an enabling environment is essential for fostering women’s entrepreneurship. This involves ensuring equal opportunities for education and skills development, addressing infrastructural gaps, and challenging gender stereotypes. By encouraging women, fostering supportive networks, and creating favorable conditions, The Gambia can unlock the full potential of women entrepreneurs.
Women’s entrepreneurship in The Gambia is a potent catalyst for economic growth, social transformation, and sustainable development. By celebrating their achievements and continuously advocating for women’s entrepreneurship, we can build a more equitable and prosperous society for all. It is through the collective efforts of various stakeholders that we can ensure the thriving of women’s entrepreneurship, both within The Gambia and beyond its borders. HERITΛGE actively contributes to this mission by providing targeted training and mentorship programs that address the specific needs of women entrepreneurs, equipping them with the essential skills and knowledge for entrepreneurial success.
*Mina Morou is HERITΛGE’s African Programs Manager
HERITΛGE actively contributes to women entrepreneurship, through HerMaP Gambia, which is co – funded by the European Union.
The Heritage Management Organization (HERITΛGE) is launching a new call for concept notes for small grants ($5000-$50000) for organizations, groups, and individuals working with heritage in Africa.
The grants are part of our Heritage Management Project – Africa (HerMaP-Africa) which is funded by the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program. They will fund projects that focus on the protection of and/or promotion of local heritage for socio-economic development in the continent.
“We are looking to untap the potential of heritage in Africa, in order to make a difference for the development of local communities, “ said HERITΛGE Director, Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis. “Heritage has the ability to empower and we are ready to partner with local organizations around the continent to this end.”
Applicants will have to demonstrate that their project addresses one or more of three criteria:
1) Sustainability – Our focus is on projects that will have a lasting impact, much beyond the duration of the project, for example protecting heritage sites from desertification by creating green belts, preserving/stabilizing/restoring and adaptively reusing a historic building for community needs, researching the public heritage landscape, installing solar panels at heritage sites to generate income or decrease expenditure in the long term, building eco-friendly tourism infrastructure, direct interventions that strengthen social institutions, like traditional methods of mediation, etc.
2) Capacity development and network building – We encourage projects that strengthen local skills and build closer links with peer organizations in the HERITΛGE network. Examples include on-the-job training in preventive conservation (e.g clearing or fencing sites), experience and expertise exchanges with other local NGOs on shared issues such as desertification or erosion of sites, co-operative training on museum exhibition design, etc.
3) Concrete and community impact – We encourage projects with strong, measurable incomes in terms of heritage protection and benefits to local people. Each project should provide clear indicators of the planned impact. These indicators will depend on the type of work carried out but some examples include increased visitation to a heritage site or program, financial benefits to the local community in terms of increased employment opportunities or local businesses created; tourism earnings; money savings by solar panel installation; the size of area protected from desertification, etc.
To apply for these grants please complete the concept note application form you will find here.
About HerMaP-Africa: Made possible by a $5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program, it aims to strengthen HERITΛGE’s Africa programs, fund initiatives that link heritage with socio-economic impact, develop the capacity of local organizations, and help them preserve African heritage and culture.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the largest supporter of the arts and humanities in the United States. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through its grants, it seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.