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Α workshop on “Communication Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Cultural Organizations”

The online 3-day workshop on “Communication Strategy and Strategic Marketing for Cultural Organizations” has come to an end, with 11 Heritage Managers from various countries gaining valuable insights on how to effectively communicate and manage communication around a crisis or issue. The workshop was held from 10 to 12 March 2023 and was attended by participants from Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The participants were trained by workshop instructor Derwin Johnson, an independent senior communication consultant with over 30 years of experience as a journalist, communication executive, and educator. Johnson is currently senior counsel to APCO Worldwide and PharmApprove, advising clients on how to develop media content and drive local, national, and international media relations campaigns.

The workshop equipped the participants with the necessary tools and techniques to communicate effectively through traditional, new, and social media. They gained insights on how to anticipate media conduct and provide strategic and tactical guidance to improve their communication efforts.

Participants engaged in various group activities that allowed them to play the role of an organization involved in a real, evolving initiative with multiple reputational implications. This included creating communications content for all social media and websites, writing blogs, and conducting interviews to better communicate their organization’s projects. Participants also learned how to communicate effectively in the event of a crisis situation through a crisis simulation exercise. Johnson’s expertise and guidance were instrumental in helping the participants develop their communication skills and abilities.

The workshop concluded with a commitment by the participants to apply the techniques they learned to their respective organizations. They will meet with Johnson again on 20 March for a follow-up tutorial where they will have the opportunity to ask questions on how to improve their work and improve upon their final assignments.


Summer Schools in Cultural Heritage Management – Online or On location in Greece

Hurry up and book your place for one of our two cultural heritage summer schools. You can attend online or on location in Greece.

Our summer schools will this year take place in the town of Nafplio, Greece’s first capital and a few kilometres away from the archaeological site of Mycenae, and on the Cycladic island of Paros. The workshops are designed both for those new to the respective fields and for professionals already engaged in their field who wish to pursue research, training, and professional development.

Community Engagement Summer School – Paros Island, 18-30 June 2023

Join HERITAGE for two weeks on the Greek island of Paros for our annual Engaging Communities in Cultural Heritage Summer School.

Community engagement has become a mainstay in the public programs of heritage institutions worldwide. In this hybrid (physical/online) program we will draw from our long experience with community engagement through heritage. We will collaborate with two local initiatives from the Greek island of Paros: the Paros Festival, an arts and heritage grassroots festival with a remarkable volunteer base and significant impact on the community, and with the local oral history initiative Ai Mnimai (The Memories). Both initiatives will help us discuss the ways in which research can lead to collective modes of knowledge creation and the preservation of local heritage.

The course duration is two weeks, with meetings, interviews and enough time to complete assignments.

In-person students: will attend the online component of the school from Paros, but also will participate in person in ethnographic and oral history research. They are expected to act as the ‘embedded researchers’ of the online research groups formed during the summer school. Hence, students will be trained to employ various ethnographic techniques, such as direct and participant observation, interviews, focus groups.

Online students: will attend online lectures, participate in online short exercises and research meetings. They will also conduct online interviews with key members of the local community. Results of the ethnographic research will be presented in a podcast.

Find out more and apply here.

Digital Tools for Cultural Heritage Management – Nafplio, 15 May – 19 June

Digital Tools for acquiring, processing, managing and analyzing spatial data are crucial for the sustainable management of cultural heritage and allow a better understanding of the objects under study. Laser scanning, photogrammetry, topography and GIS are important tools to facilitate this complex management process.
HERITΛGE, in close collaboration with HOGENT University (Belgium) has organized three integrated and consecutive specialist courses on various topics in geomatics to help heritage managers in their work:

● Photogrammetry and images-based 3D modelling
● Laser scanning

The theoretical aspects will be delivered online and on-site tasks will be organized asynchronously to obtain practical skills. In addition, participants will have the the opportunity to practice their newly aquired knowledge of digital tools with in- person support from the instructor. This option to practice Photogrammetry and Laser Scanning in the field is available for those who are able to travel to Greece.

The field school will be organized in collaboration with the municipality of Nafplio, Greece, and aims to document some of the city’s the most historically significant structures. The field school serves as the education arm of a larger HERITΛGE research project in collaboration with HOGENT, ETH Zurich, Leica and other partners aiming to create and promote applications for the use of 3D documentation for heritage management.

Find out more here.

* Please note that these specialist courses can be booked individually as well.

Challenges in community engagement and managing heritage in the margins

by Yasaman SADEGHI

Encompassing the tangible and intangible remnants of the distant and recent past, heritage has immense potential for tying individuals, communities, and societies to the past and future. A number of heritage management practices, such as archeology, museology, conservation, restoration, and upholding traditions, can mediate the translation of the remnants of the past into a meaningful resource for the communities. We take pride in seeing a museum exhibiting relics of a long-gone culture. In visiting memorial monuments, we experience the grief of atrocities of the past in which we did not partake. In cooking traditional recipes for special holidays year after year, we enjoy a sense of connectivity to the past and project ourselves into the future, because we anticipate preparing the same traditional recipe the next time that the holiday comes around. 

Heritage is nevertheless subject to the passage of time. A portion of this is attributable to the inherent vulnerability of the remains of the past: as time goes on, material artifacts are susceptible to disintegration and decay, stories may lose their color and fade away, and craftspeople may diminish in their skills and abilities. Another factor, which is less discussed but increasingly prominent, is due to the conditions of the time that may shift the perspectives on the heritage that are now held or require a new way of looking at the past to meet present-day needs. 

Such vulnerability to the passage of time is ever more pertinent to marginalized communities. While consecutive changes in power often heavily impact the breadth and availability of the remains of the past, the changing ideologies, and goals – whether imposed by the authorities or emerging from the felt needs of the communities – increase the sensitivity of heritage to the passage of time. Heritage managers are skilled and knowledgeable practitioners who appreciate such vulnerabilities and dynamism and use a variety of techniques and methods to remedy some of the aforementioned problems. However, it is often difficult to reconcile the rapidly evolving needs and conditions of the communities with the institutional and scholarly understanding of heritage management. How, then, can heritage management adapt to the potential threats that the passage of time imposes on tangible and intangible heritage in the margins?

Community engagement is a deceptively complicated answer to this question, whose importance has been long acknowledged by heritage managers as well as global institutions. For instance, The Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage issued by UNESCO in 2003 requires the member countries to “ensure the widest possible participation of communities, groups and, where appropriate, individuals that create, maintain and transmit such heritage, and to involve them actively in its management”. Applying community engagement in practice, however, proves to be challenging, especially when it comes to the margins.

At times, marginalized communities require a radical shift in perspective toward the past and future. For instance, a statue of a quintessential past figure and the annual celebrations around the statue in the town square may have been a source of pride and glory. Yet, there are myriad ways in which this very figure can be contested: the statue may be of someone whose influence on the community is no longer appreciated; the commemorations may have been mandated by a former authority that is no longer in power; new information may come to light through discovery or changes in the social consciousness that alter the interpretation of a given historical figure, ritual or celebration; the community may need a new source of inspiration and hope through remembering an event, person or object that is significant to them at the present moment. These are but a few reasons for which a community may contest, reject, or modify its heritage, creating a dire situation for the community and heritage managers. 

Yet even though community engagement requires listening to and respecting the community in any heritage management practice, there are several obstacles to implementing community engagement not only to safeguard existing heritage but also to maintain or revise it throughout time in a sustainable and empowering manner: a piece of heritage that the community rejects may be deemed as valuable according to the ingrained approaches, techniques, and practices of heritage managers; the community members may not be willing, ready or able to participate in heritage management; they may require fast, immediate action towards heritage that cannot be accommodated through the often slow and bureaucratic processes involved in heritage management; their everyday realities may be detrimental to upholding a heritage that they will intend to preserve.

Community engagement, then, is a vital yet complicated aspect of heritage management. Attempting to separate or pierce a community to a heritage while disregarding their present-day conditions and requirements has proven to be detrimental, not only to the community itself but also to the heritage that we may insist on conserving as it is. However, it is helpful to remember that heritage is dynamic rather than static, and community engagement is a process rather than a goal. In this sense, being subject to the passage of time may pose problems on heritage, but it is nonetheless an inescapable feature of it, which heritage managers increasingly embrace. Amidst the rapidly evolving needs and requirements of communities, thus, heritage management can engage with communities and mediate the relationship between the community and the remnants of the past rather than striving for an unattainable ‘perfection’.

Drones, digital tools, and archaeological research

By Dr Cornelis Stal

Spatial data play a crucial role in archaeological research, and orthophotos, digital elevation models, and 3D models are frequently used for the mapping, documentation, and monitoring of archaeological sites. 

Over the last couple of decades, thanks to the availability of compact and low-cost uncrewed airborne vehicles also known as drones or unmanned aerial vehicles, the use of UAV-based photogrammetry in this field has significantly matured. More recently, compact airborne systems that allow the recording of thermal data, multispectral data, and airborne laser scanning also became available. 

Recently, a team from HOGENT University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the University of Bucharest, Kiel University, the Lower Danube Museum Călărași, and the Municipality of Bucharest applied various platforms and sensors at the Chalcolithic archaeological sites in the Mostiștea Basin and Danube Valley (Southern Romania). 

We then analyzed the performance of the systems and the resulting data and were given unique insights that enabled us to select the appropriate system for the right application. 

This kind of analyses are based on thorough knowledge of data acquisition and data processing, as well. As laser scanning and photogrammetry typically result in very large amounts of data, a special focus is also required on the storage and publication of the data. 

Sultana site: DEM (left), orthophoto (middle), and thermal composite (right) based on Mavic 2 Enterprise data of the archaeological site of Sultana (illustrative, the white dots represent the locations of the GCPs).

In a recently published article (reference below), the team provided an overview of various aspects of 3D data acquisition for UAV-based mapping and explored multiple methods for the online publication of data as well as various client-side and server-side solutions to make the data available for other researchers/users. Data are available through an academic open repository (https://zenodo.org/) and an in-house developed website (https://geo.hogent.be/sultana).

Based on our research, it is concluded that photogrammetry and laser scanning can result in data with similar geometrical properties when acquisition parameters are appropriately set. However, the used ALS-based system outperforms the photogrammetric platforms regarding operational time and the area covered. On the other hand, conventional photogrammetry provides flexibility that might be required for very low-altitude flights or emergency mapping. Furthermore, as the used ALS sensor only provides a geometrical representation of the topography, photogrammetric sensors are still required to obtain true color- or false color composites of the surface.

Undoubtedly, the resulting data will serve as the basis for a more in-depth understanding of the complex natural and anthropogenic processes that are documented in the targeted area, and the non-intrusive investigations and the logs from “The dynamics of the prehistoric communities located in the Mostiștea Valley and Danube Plain (between Oltenița and Călărași)” project will provide complementary data for this broader understanding of the prehistoric realities. More specifically, this approach contributes to the research on transformative processes of the archaeological sites and the landscape from proximity, enabling us to create a highly accurate image of the scale of transformation of the area inhabited 6000 years ago by various human communities in order to better understand how Chalcolithic human communities integrated, adapted, and survived in the surrounding environment. 

Chiselet site: Hillshade DEM (left) and false colour composite (right) of the larger extent of the tell settlement (coordinates in EPSG:3844).

Finally, with spatial data playing a crucial role in archaeological research, and orthophotos, digital elevation models, and 3D models being frequently used for the mapping, documentation, and monitoring of archaeological sites, we concluded that recent developments in UAVs and compact sensors have and will have a considerable impact on archaeological research. 

In conclusion, it is stated that applications of geomatics in archaeology contribute to a better understanding and knowledge of various research topics, and the connection between these two disciplines strengthens as data acquisition methods and data processing capabilities evolve.

We explore these methods and tools and instruct our students in their use in HERITΛGE’s Digital Tools for Cultural Heritage Summer School which takes place online and on location in Greece in a few months, and in the ECTS credit-bearing academic certificate that HOGENT UNIVERSITY and HERITΛGE are offering – applications for 2023-2024 academic years are currently being accepted (more information here.) 

I and the HERITΛGE and HOGENT teams look forward to meeting and working with a new cohort of students this summer and in the new academic year to further explore the possibilities of these ever-evolving methods. 

Stal, C., Covataru, C., Müller, J., Parnic, V., Ignat, T., Hofmann, R., & Lazar, C. (2022). Supporting Long-Term Archaeological Research in Southern Romania Chalcolithic Sites Using Multi-Platform UAV Mapping. Drones, 6(10), 277: https://www.mdpi.com/2504-446X/6/10/277

Website: https://geo.hogent.be/sultana

Data repository: https://zenodo.org/search?page=1&size=20&q=%22Mosti%C8%99tea%20Valley%22

“Interpretive writing for natural and cultural heritage” workshop

HERITΛGE’s three-day online workshop on “Interpretive writing for natural and cultural heritage” took place from 27 to 29 January 2023. It was delivered by Steven Richards-Price.

11 Heritage Managers from Africa (Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda), Asia (Turkey) and Europe (Greece, Serbia) were trained in writing effective heritage interpretive text that captures and holds the reader’s attention.

Over the three days of the workshop, participants engaged in a variety of individual and group activities, such as developing a strong theme for a piece of interpretive writing, turning a poorly written and poorly produced heritage graphic panel into a good example of interpretive writing and panel presentation, and editing and rewriting a complex interpretive graphic panel using the principles of interpretive writing and the importance of plain language. By participating in all the activities, attending the lectures, and using the techniques demonstrated by the workshop instructor, all our participants gained much knowledge and experience in using interpretive writing for their own projects.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with their instructor again this week for a tutorial session where they can pose questions about how to improve their work and enhance their final assignment.

Steven Richards-Price is a heritage interpreter with many years of practical experience working for natural resources agencies in Wales, UK. In his part-time role with Natural Resources Wales as Visitor Experience Specialist Advisor, he connects people with state-owned forests and national nature reserves. He has been an Interpret Europe Supervisory Committee Member and Training Team member/Trainer, former  Chair of the UK Association for Heritage Interpretation (AHI) and Vice-Chair of Interpret Wales. He has been running this course for the past three years, with excellent feedback from participants.

Highlights 2022

We bid farewell to 2022 with our top 10 highlights of the year.

HERITΛGE was honored to take active part in the 6th African Union – European Union Summit that was held in Brussels from 14 to 18 February 2022. In collaboration with the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, HERITΛGE organized a session on heritage and socio-economic development, addressed by Vera Songwe, Undersecretary General for Africa and Executive Secretary of UN-ECA, and Angela Martins, Head of Division of Culture for the African Union Commission as well as HERITΛGE director Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis.
A new academic certificate is now offered by HERITΛGE and HOGENT University for university students, young graduates and professionals that want to further their training. This exchange program awards 30 ECTS credit units, equivalent to 50% of a full academic year. HERITΛGE is now accepting applications for the academic year starting October 2023.
HERITΛGE participated in the first European Humanitarian Forum that was hosted by the European Commission’s Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Directorate and France in Brussels, Belgium on 21-23 March. The Organization hosted a Humanitarian Talk on “The role of the private sector in fostering local identity and culture: emergency preparedness, relief and reconstruction” in cooperation with Greek Foreign Ministry.
TEACH FOR FUTURE was co-funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + initiative to train more than 300 people in three countries, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania. The aim of the program is for graduates to transfer specialized knowledge in the fields of Information Technology, Innovation Management and Network Collaboration, as well as Entrepreneurship and Leadership to diverse communities of adult learners from the three participating countries and the wider region and act as multipliers for the acquisition of skills.

For our HerMaPGambia project, our teams visited The Gambia and also delivered a number of online workshops. Find out more about this EU and UNECA funded program realized in partnership with the National Centre for Arts and Culture.

HERITΛGE 1st visit to The Gambia
HERITΛGE 2nd visit to The Gambia
“Engaging Communities Cultural Heritage” in The Gambia

HERITΛGE launched a training program for Benin in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Our team visited the country to deliver an in-person workshop and liaise with the heritage community in October.

Learn more.

HERITΛGE announced its participation in a major new European Research and Innovation Action (RIA). SHIFT: MetamorphoSis of cultural Heritage Into augmented hypermedia assets For enhanced accessibiliTy and inclusion supports the adoption of digital transformation strategies and the uptake of tools within the creative and cultural industries (CCI), where progress has been lagging.

Learn more.


Three key members of the HERITΛGE team have recently published a new book based on their work in the field. Making Heritage Together: Archaeological Ethnography and Community Engagement with a Rural Community, by Routledge, is co-authored by Aris Anagnostopoulos, Lena Stefanou and Evangelos Kyriakidis and is the distillation of many years of community engagement and collaborative knowledge creation with a rural mountain community in central Crete, Greece.

Learn more.

All the years of community engagement research that have gone in the above publication also form the basis for HERITΛGE’s annual summer school in the Cretan village of Gonies.

Learn more about this year’s session.



A group of 17 World Monument Fund Professionals took part in a tailor-made 6-day online workshop on “Climate Change, Heritage and Risk”. The workshop was exclusively conducted for the World Monuments Fund professionals.

Learn more.

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