From 18 to 30 June 2023, a transformative two-week online Summer School on Engaging Communities in Cultural Heritage was held, bringing together 14 heritage managers from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Led by HERITΛGE’s Dr. Aris Anagnostopoulos and Dr. Lena Stefanou, the annual program aims to cultivate a fresh approach to community engagement in cultural heritage, emphasizing social and artistic research with community-led initiatives.
The Summer School provides a platform for participants to explore the principles of community engagement, collaborative research, and heritage values. Through dynamic and tailored modes of research, this year’s participants gained insights into reaching specific target groups, including university students and rural communities. Training sessions on applied ethnography, oral history interviews, and documentation of personal narratives and material objects equipped them with practical tools for engaging with communities effectively.
One of the highlights of the Summer School was the opportunity for participants to delve into the curation of multimedia content. By conducting interviews with community leaders Habtamu Gizawu Tola and Amar Tuldhar about their projects, “Peaceful Understanding and Reconciliation for Pastoralists Livelihood Enhancement” (PURPLE) and “Attending the Unattended” respectively, participants developed a deep understanding of how cultural heritage can be preserved and presented through various digital mediums. These interviews will be transformed into podcasts, ensuring that the stories and experiences of these communities find a wider audience.
The Summer School featured three distinguished invited lectures, enriching the learning experience for the participants. Dr. Evangelos Kyriakidis, founding Director of the Heritage Management Organization, shared his expertise in Mycenaean administration, Minoan religion, and iconography. Dr. Vicky Papadimitriou, a managing director with a background in archaeology and cultural management, provided insights into event planning and cultural tourism. Aba Hydara, the founder of the NIUMI FORT BULLEN COLONIAL HERITAGE FESTIVAL, shed light on community-led initiatives and the challenges of waste management for sustainable tourism.
HERITΛGE is already receiving applications for our next Community Engagement for Cultural Heritage Management Summer School that will take place in June 2024.