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.