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“Engaging Communities Cultural Heritage” in The Gambia 

On World African Heritage Day, the Heritage Management Organization is happy to announce that 41 heritage and cultural managers in Banjul, Barra and Janjanbureh attended its 3-day “Engaging Communities Cultural Heritage” workshops.

“This workshop addresses the needs of the country’s heritage organizations and local groups as they themselves set them out in a survey we conducted to establish the sector’s specific training needs. As a result, we are delighted to be offering this workshop and to be working with multiple and very diverse stakeholders including the NCAC, Banjul, Janjanbureh, Lower Niumi, and Basse local communities, as well as the festival committees of Barra and Janjanbureh, tour guide groups and local heritage-related business managers,” said Evangelos Kyriakidis, the Heritage Organization’s Director.

The workshops, which are held online, are part of the Heritage Management Organization’s “HerMaP Gambia” program, which aims to develop the business skills of heritage and cultural managers working for civil society organizations in The Gambia. The aim is to enable them to establish and better support heritage and cultural enterprises. It is hoped that supporting enterprise-building based on the Gambia’s cultural heritage will promote greater community solidarity and eventually provide opportunities that will help reduce the number of people being lost to The Gambia through brain drain.

“The HerMaP project is a unique opportunity for us to engage with the incredibly diverse heritage sector of the Gambia, a country extremely rich in traditions, oral history, poetry, song, and dance among others. It is extremely encouraging to see the engagement of the Gambian stakeholders who ultimately will have ownership of this program. It is here important to thank all stakeholders in this program, and the European Commission for making it possible,” Kyriakidis added.

During the workshop, which was held online, participants familiarized themselves with the context of community engagement through heritage, the importance of values in community initiatives, discussed methodologies based on ethnography and oral history, and engaged in practical exercises aimed at understanding the communities they work with and producing multimedia content with the guidance of the instructors.

“We need to redouble our efforts at proper management of our cultural heritage. This will enable our younger generation to benefit from it since it will also promote tourism’’, said Saloum Sheriff Janko program manager Artists in Alliance for Arts and Culture.

The project is co-financed by the European Union with funding partly matched by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. It is being realized in partnership with the National Centre for Arts and Culture.

Summer School Stories – Arezoo Khazanbeig

“Engaging Communities in Cultural Heritage” Summer School

Arezoo Khazanbeig, Architect

With the aim to broaden my knowledge in the field of heritage preservation and to develop further my personal project which is called “Workshop on Regeneration”, I participated in the “Engaging Communities in Cultural Heritage Summer School” offered by HERITΛGE in July 2021. As an architect, I am mostly interested in the preservation of heritage in rural settings, and to this end I have co-organized several workshops aiming to regenerate rural neighborhood and abandoned villages. In my work, I realized the importance of community and the engagement of rural inhabitants in the process of rural regeneration and heritage preservation and this is one of the main reasons why I joined this summer school.

The villages of Iran forget their wise and sustainable methods of living. They are transforming from primary producers to mass consumers. Neglecting the value of their vernacular heritage, the rural population is leaving for the cities. Villages are left abandoned for the sake of unbalanced development. We tried to overcome the issue by designing “Workshop on REGENERATION,” a bottom-up, teamwork process whose primary aim is to frame the problem in the context of conservation, sustainability, indigenous construction, and resiliency. Besides this, it aims to investigate possible solutions through lectures, discussions, and hands-on work. These yearly workshops are also the starting point for interdisciplinary collaboration and practical effectiveness.

 

The initial condition of the abandoned watermill, ©Sonia Beigi

The regenerated Watermill, ©Amirreza Azadeh

The workshop makes different groups of people work together and encourages them to get involved in a specific issue, which is vital in sustainable development. It has been designed to make a link between professionals, academicians and locals to form a bond of mutual respect and perception. Professionals and heritage practitioners will find here an alternative influence through working in a rural context, and local populations will revive their relationships with the heritage values of their properties.

 

Collaboration of students and local craftsmen, ©Sonia Beigi

Night-work of the students, © Hannaneh Mortazian

 

In these projects, the regeneration and the restoration of public spaces – like the watermill of Sarar in the centre of the village – was completed successfully through the cooperation of academia and local craftsmen. However, the lack of comprehensive and inclusive communication and community engagement as the principal users of these sites were noticeable. Also noticeable was the dissatisfaction and disapproval of the community and the inhabitants, as well as their apathy towards the future of the project.

My participation in the summer course illustrated to me the importance of the ethnographic study, oral histories as well as media and digitalization in the research and preservation of heritage today. All these aspects emphasize the participation of the communities as the main users and inhabitants of heritage sites; in other words, they are the “authors” of these places not only during the restoration and preservation projects but also in their maintenance and their long-term sustainability.

Moreover, I noticed the importance of oral historical and ethnographic research to engage locals further in the process of highlighting the values of tangible heritage especially in rural neighbourhood where enough written historical information and archives do not exist.

At the end, all the study materials, case studies and lectures together with the possibility of practicing all the learned topics with the inhabitants of Paros in small groups, turned into a special experience. Subsequently, I believe with applying the essence of this course on the “Workshop on Regeneration” project, not only the community will engage with the project in a comprehensive and inclusive way, but also the projects themselves will progress in more sustainable ways.

Teach for Future Mentoring Campus on ICT – Bucharest, Romania

Between March 28 and April 1, 2022, ANBPR coordinated the Teach for Future Mentoring Campus on ICT (C4 – Blended mobility for adults regarding the testing and certification of ICT skills and the transfer of best practices within the Center of Excellence in Romania). This activity was attended by 11 adult learners from Romania, 10 adult learners from Greece, and 9 adult learners from Bulgaria. The first day of the Campus consisted of presentations, projections, and demonstrations on innovative ICT solutions, robotics, digitization, best practices, etc.). The activities of the Mentoring Campus took place both at the Center of Excellence in the ICT field within the National Library of Romania, and at the ECDL EduHub in Veranda Mall (taking the ECDL simulations and certification exams).

In addition to the Campus activities, some of the facilitators of GLBF Bulgaria, HERITAGE Greece, and ANBPR Romania responded to the invitation to participate in person at C1 reloaded – Short-term staff event on ICT at the Center of Excellence in Romania. They had the opportunity to interact with each other and with the adult beneficiaries, in order to strengthen the collaboration between the facilitators and ensure the networking component that was missing during the C1 activity, organized virtually in February 2021. Silvia Ivanova Koumanova and Madlen Svilenova Asparuhova, from GLBF, Bulgaria, had a short speech via Zoom during the plenary activities at the National Library of Romania, while Evangelina Papadogiannaki, from HERITAGE, Greece, present in Bucharest, addressed the entire audience.

Best practices on ICT

Among the impact presentations within the Mentoring Campus were: Integration of STEAM activities within the library services, Nao Robot – support solution for children with special needs, Dreamoc XL3 – complex holographic projection system, Heritage at your fingertips: smart ideas for bringing culture and knowledge closer to wide audiences, NITRO Clubs: presentation and demonstration of robotics using Arduino robots, etc.

Presentations and technology demonstrations were followed by questions from the audience. Participants had the opportunity to test the technical functionalities of the different devices themselves and were able to interact directly with the technology specialists to find out details about the technical characteristics, areas of use, and applicability of these solutions in the real work environment.

Through practical demonstrations accompanied by punctual explanations, the participants made a foray into the technology of the future world.

The “City of the Future” Exhibition

Another premiere of the Mentoring Campus on ICT in Bucharest was the opening of the “City of the Future“ exhibition. Starting from an original idea, that of giving a new life to the waste resulting from the disassembled robots from the Makerspace of the “Panait Istrati” County Library in Brăila, the “City of the Future” exhibition gave a youthful, dynamic, and inspiring note to the space. Participants and the activities themselves were more attractive and engaging.

Exhibition coordinators: Prof. Florentina Giol and Prof. Cătălin Batîr, “Hariclea Darclee” High School of Arts, Brăila, and Silviu Octavian Gheorghe, “Panait Istrati” County Library, Brăila. Through this exhibition, the STEAM concept was highlighted, in an original way, from an artistic and creative perspective, complementary to the technical, engineering approach, with which it is currently associated.

“The creativity of young people and the recyclable materials that come from the library’s Makerspace show that nothing is impossible when our imagination has no limits and when we are not indifferent related to our future“, the organizers declared.

ECDL simulations and certification exams

Over the next 4 days, Teach for Future participants went through recapitulation sessions, refreshed their knowledge, took simulations on the 4 ICT skills taught in the project, and at the end of each working day, took ECDL certification exams in the ICT field.

During the preparation of the certification exams, the adult learners trained in small groups, solved knowledge verification quizzes, did practical exercises, exchanged information with their colleagues, and perfected their 3D models made during the sessions.

As a result of the skills acquired in the project, participants from Romania, Greece, and Bulgaria took part in the 3D Printing Contest, where they were able to enroll their own 3D Printing models and business plans based on creative ideas, derived from 3D Printing technology, at one of two categories available, as follows: 3D Entrepreneur – entrepreneurial ideas developed by adults, and 3D for Life, respectively – creating functional objects through 3D modeling and printing. Adult participants benefited greatly from this technology-supported learning experience. As a natural continuation of the local sessions in each participating country, the adult learners present in Bucharest enriched their knowledge, practiced their ICT skills, and strengthened the collaboration with their colleagues in the transnational Teach for Future network, in a stimulating and inspiring environment. This new activity brought together participants with the same concerns, thus contributing to increased group cohesion and a sense of belonging to the Teach for Future community.

Documentary visits

Documentary visit to the National Heritage Institute – guests attended a presentation on the digitization projects of the Digital Heritage Directorate (CIMEC), as follows: the Treventus book-scanning robot, biblioteca-digitala.ro, and the large manual book scanner.

Documentary visit to RoboHUB, e-Civis – participants from the 3 countries had the opportunity to interact with the latest technological solutions in the field of robotics with applicability in the educational, agricultural, medical, and HoReCa, such as the ESCU robot, the Nero robot dog, the Alpha humanoid robot, as well as other various ozobots, meaning some small hemispherical robots that can be programmed even by children, etc.

 

Documentary visit to the M.A.M.E. – “Little Stars Center” – Teach for Future guests learn about the use of the Nao Robot in therapies children with severe illnesses and the integration of the Virtual Reality solutions in assisting the 124 beneficiaries with various pathologies, supported by the M.A.M.E. Association in the present.

3D Printing powered by TEACH

During the Mentoring Campus in the IT field, the participants were involved both in face-to-face teaching/learning activities, as well as in distance interactions and demonstrations, being challenged by readers, through interactive sessions, video lessons, and practical examples, to continue the study and posttraining and to consolidate their knowledge through individual exercise.

After taking the certification exams, the adult beneficiaries from the 3 countries participated in a 3D Modeling and Printing competition, on two thematic components, namely: 3D Entrepreneur and 3D for Life respectively, the most innovative ideas being awarded by a jury of experts. All the models made by the participants will be exhibited, during the dissemination event coordinated by ANBPR, but they will also be photographed/filmed, and will be available on the project website as well as on the partners’ websites.

“Thank you very much for the opportunity you gave me, to be part of a wonderful team, with beautiful, open and empathetic people. A week full of news, which is more attractive. I feel like I’ve gained a lot from this campus, both informally and emotionally.”
-Cătălina Popa, adult beneficiary from Romania

Communication Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Cultural Organizations

The online 3-day workshop on “Communication Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Cultural Organizations” took place from 18 to 20 March 2022.

9 heritage managers from Africa (The Gambia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe. Ethiopia, Kenya and Egypt) have been trained on how to effectively communicate news, initiatives and announcements of their organization and manage communication under crisis.

Participants took part in a number of individual and group activities. The role-playing activities enhanced their understanding of how to apply communication tools to convey a message that successfully represents the profile and culture of their organisations. In addition, these activities involved creating communication content for social media and websites, blogs and interviews. Through a crisis simulation, participants learned how to effectively manage and enhance their organizations’ reputations under pressure. After completing the workshop, participants are able to effectively communicate news, initiatives and announcements that their organization may encounter.

The workshops’ instructor Derwin Johnson is an independent senior communication consultant with more than 30 years-experience as a journalist, communication executive and educator. He is currently senior counsel to APCO Worldwide. He advises clients how to develop media content, anticipate media conduct and drives local, national and international media relations campaigns.

“Introduction to the General Principles of Cultural Heritage Conservation” workshop

The online 3-day workshop on “Introduction to the General Principles of Cultural Heritage Conservation” took place from 18 to 20 March 2022.

28 heritage managers from Africa (Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Rwanda, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya) and from Asia ( Pakistan, Jordan, Nepal, Iran) have been trained on the principles and objectives of conservation and its methodology.

During the workshop participants developed four projects practicing the principles of cultural heritage conservation. Participants identified the conservation infrastructure of their projects and recognized the importance of interdisciplinarity for a holistic conservation approach. They focused on issues of values, authenticity, integrity, and compatibility and how these concepts transform conservation into a process of change and continuity. They have been also introduced to the evolution of conservation, and the contemporary international context of conservation and they formed a better understanding of the potential of the action of conservation.

By attending the workshop, participants acquired a solid foundation of the notion, the purpose, and the aim of conservation. After completing the workshop participants are able to identify the conservation needs of their projects and collaborate with conservation specialists in order to apply all the necessary measures to safeguard and promote the cultural heritage assets of their region.

The workshop’s instructor: Alexis Stefanis is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art of the University of West Attica. He has been involved in many research projects and has produced a significant number of studies and publications concerning the conservation, restoration, and rehabilitation of architectural heritage.

TEACH FOR FUTURE: Mentoring Campus in Romania

TEACH FOR FUTURE: Testing and certification of ICT skills and transfer of best practices between adult learners from Romania-Greece-Bulgaria, within the Mentoring Campus in Bucharest

ANBPR announced the organization, between 28th of March 2022- 1st of April 2022, of the Mentoring Campus in Romania (C4 – Blended mobility for adults regarding the testing and certification of IT skills and the transfer of best practices within the Center of Excellence in Romania). The Mentoring Campus in Bucharest will be attended by 30 adult beneficiaries from Romania, Greece and Bulgaria. This activity is part of the Erasmus+ TEACH FOR FUTURE project – Educational Transformation of Adults through Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

Following the local adult learning activities on ICT (Digital Marketing, Online Collaboration, 3D Printing and Image Editing), Management of Innovation & Network Collaboration and Entrepreneurship & Leadership, the top 30 adult participants from Romania, Greece and Bulgaria was invited to take part in the Mentoring Campus in Bucharest.

The activities of the Mentoring Campus will take place at the Center of Excellence in ICT in the National Library of Romania (presentations, guided tour, projections, exhibitions, demonstrations of innovative ICT solutions, best practices in 3D Printing, robotics, digitization, etc. ), as well as at the EduHub ECDL in Veranda Mall (taking ECDL simulations and certification exams).

After taking the certification exams, all 30 adult beneficiaries will have the opportunity to participate in a 3D Modeling and Printing competition, on two thematic components: 3D Entrepreneur and 3D for Life, respectively, the most innovative ideas will be awarded.

Participants from Romania, Greece and Bulgaria, who have created models produced in different media or formats, will choose to register in the competition as follows:

– 3D Entrepreneur: entrepreneurial ideas developed by adults

– 3D for Life: making functional objects by 3D modeling and printing.

 “The TEACH FOR FUTURE project is a complex educational initiative, grafted on the current training needs of adults in the 3 participating countries. Both the transnational component of the learning process and the collaborative approach of this formative endeavor make TEACH FOR FUTURE a European-level educational reference. Regarding the transfer of specialized knowledge for adults in topical thematic fields, adapted to the current requirements of the labor market, our project aims to become a replicable model of best practices in other complementary areas of expertise”, said Ioana Crihană, TEACH FOR FUTURE Project Manager.

About TEACH FOR FUTURE: TEACH FOR FUTURE project is funded under the European Union’s Erasmus+ program, Key Action 2, Strategic Partnerships. The consortium of partners consists of the National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania – ANBPR, Romania, Global Libraries Bulgaria Foundation, Bulgaria, and Initiative for Heritage Conservation, Greece, as well as associate partners from all three countries involved: The National Library of Romania, Bucharest Metropolitan Library, “Octavian Goga” Cluj County Library, “Panait Istrati” Brăila County Library, “Kájoni János” Harghita County Library (Romania), Bulgarian Library and Information Association (Bulgaria) and Learning for Life (Greece).

About ANBPR: The most representative professional association of public librarians and libraries in Romania, concerned with the well-being and professional performance of its members, the evolution of the national cultural field and the substantial emancipation of communities.  Starting from the basic principles of associative work – solidarity, cohesion, social employment and competitiveness – ANBPR advocates for the support of qualitative education, democratization of access to innovation and awareness on the benefits of technology for heterogeneous categories of library service users.

Contact information: [email protected]; phone: (+40) 758 220 291; www.anbpr.org.ro; www.teachforfuture.ro

The project is co-funded by the European Union.