The European Year of Cultural Heritage

with Lorena Aldana

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Throughout 2018, we will celebrate our diverse cultural heritage across Europe - at EU, national, regional and local level. The aim of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) is to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space. The slogan for the year is: Our heritage: where the past meets the future. Technoculture is part of the EYCH and supports its message.

Lorena Aldana is a member of the dynamic taskforce charged with implementing the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in the European Commission, Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC). She works on the design, management and communication of the Year's activities at EU level. Before joining the Commission, she worked for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the research and design of heritage-led local development strategies. She has been involved in cultural and heritage projects in Mexico, Italy and Egypt.

The year will see a series of initiatives and events across Europe to enable people to become closer to and more involved with their cultural heritage. Cultural heritage shapes our identities and everyday lives. It surrounds us in Europe's towns and cities, natural landscapes and archaeological sites. It is not only found in literature, art and objects, but also in the crafts we learn from our ancestors, the stories we tell to our children, the food we enjoy in company and the films we watch and recognise ourselves in. Lorena tells us about the behind the scenes of the Year, the massive organization, the selection process, the Year in figures and anecdotes of some of the most interesting initatives she has witnessed.

Website of the EYCH: https://europa.eu/cultural-heritage/
The Year on the website of the EC: https://europa.eu/cultural-heritage/




Go to interactive wordcloud (you can choose the number of words and see how many times they occur).


Episode transcript


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Host: Federica Bressan [Federica]
Guest: Lorena Aldana [Lorena]

Welcome to a new episode of Technoculture. I'm your host, Federica Bressan, and today my guest is Lorena Aldana. Lorena works for the taskforce in charge of the implementation of the European Year of Cultural Heritage at the DG Education and Culture of the European Commission. 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The slogan is “Our heritage: where the past meets the future.

[Lorena]: Yes, well, first of all, thank you for the invitation and for giving me this space to explain the Year, and it's something I am very much passionate about, because I've been working in this project for the last two years, and so I'm very excited about this. So, first of all, the European Year of Cultural Heritage is, let's say, a one-year framework, dedicated entirely to Europe's cultural heritage, with three objectives. First of all, raising awareness, of course, so particularly among citizens and among people, so raising awareness. Also, leaving a policy legacy because, of course, it's a work that intends not only to remain as events, but also setting the ground to future initiatives on cultural heritage and invite, of course, to engagement and participation. So these are the three objectives of the year.

[Federica]: And the way to achieve these objectives during this year is through the events organized across Europe.

[Lorena]: Yes, that's one of the ways. We have events, but we also have projects, so, let's say, long-term projects, and... So basically, we are doing this in three different ways. So, first of all, as you said, events, of course. There have been over 6,000 events organized just in the first six months of the year, 6,300, all across Europe. We also launched a communication campaign. As I said before, this is mainly a raising awareness exercise, so we also have a communication campaign. And the third, let's say, stream of the work are our projects, so projects on cultural heritage through different angles - not only cultural heritage as a sector, but also in collaboration with other sectors like research, for instance, social innovation and cultural heritage, sustainable cultural tourism and so on.

[Federica]: Europe is very rich in cultural heritage. It almost accounts for half of UNESCO's World Heritage List, but it's such an abstract term. What is cultural heritage? Could you please tell us a bit more about the types of events that we've had and we keep having this year? They revolve around what type of cultural heritage?

[Lorena]: Yes. Yes. This... Cultural heritage in the frame of the Year of Cultural Heritage is really a broad concept, so this is one of the first messages of the year, actually. One of the most important messages that we're trying to convey is that cultural heritage is not only stones and rocks or churches and monuments, but it's also, it's way more than that and it comprises a wide range of resources - for example, intangible, natural, even digital heritage. So this is the type of cultural heritage that we are trying to promote, a very wide and open concept.

[Federica]: People are very important in the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Communities, the community's identity, are central concepts in the year, so it's not all about the old rocks or the traditional dances. It's really about the people and how the heritage binds us together. I would like to ask you a little bit how you reach out to those people for whom the connection between the heritage, in all its forms, and our identity as a community as a whole might not be obvious, especially children and young adults that will become the guardians of the heritage.

[Lorena]: Yes, yes, yes, of course. First of all, well, I said before the first important message of the year is that cultural heritage is more than you think, so meaning not only rocks, but also tangible, intangible, etc. Another important message is also that we are trying to highlight how there are different layers of cultural heritage going from the most local, for instance in your own town, the cultural heritage around you, then your national cultural heritage, going to also another layer which is a European cultural heritage, so this is also a key idea that we are trying to promote and we are trying to help people to find these connections not only because your local heritage, it's right there next to you and you're growing up with this - and this is very evident - but it's a bit harder for people to find the European connection. So we are very much focusing on this European dimension of cultural heritage, and it can be - to reply more directly to your question - it's about storytelling, I would say, and about finding these connections and finding a way to communicate this.

[Federica]: You mentioned that about 6,000 events have been organized just in the first six months of 2018. Can you give us other figures just to get an idea of the size of the magnitude of this initiative, how many countries participate, etc?

[Lorena]: Yes, okay. So, of course, the European Year of Cultural Heritage begin for member states, so for 28 countries. 28 countries have participated, participating. They have appointed national coordinators, most generally from the ministries of culture, but not only, and so this was initially. Then the success it's starting to, started to, let's say, exceed the expectations, and we have now also associated countries. So not only EU member states are participating to the year. We also have the, for instance, Western Balkans associated to the year, so Albania, Serbia, they have appointed national coordinators, also, to run activities. And then we are also counting with the support of EU delegations abroad, which are, let's say, the embassies of the European Union all across the world, and they're also quite engaged with the Year of Cultural Heritage. We have seen events and exhibitions all around the world. For instance, there is one exhibition in Mexico City, in the main avenue of Mexican city, photographic exhibition. It's expected to reach four million people, so this is also - it's quite nice. The idea is also promoting cultural heritage as a basis for cooperation, in this case Mexico and the European Union, and we have these kind of events all over the world in Asia, in Africa.

[Federica]: The year was actually launched in Italy, correct?

[Lorena]: Yes, the launch of the year was in December 2017 in Milan. It's the European Cultural Forum, which is an event by the European Commission, the largest event for cultural stakeholders, and it's taking place every two years. So this year was very special because we launched the year, but that's not it. This was the launch or the kickoff at the European level, but of course, also in member states. They have also launched the year, so we've had more than 20 events also nationally, and in some countries even regionally. So, for instance, in the UK it was launched by Scotland, by the different... It was launched in London as well, so England, Scotland, Wales, and there were different launches.

[Federica]: We listen now to an excerpt from the video message that the President of the European Commission, Juncker, sent to the opening ceremony of the European Year of Cultural Heritage precisely in Milan in December 2017. The excerpt is about two minutes long.

[Juncker]: Today marks the start of the first ever European Year of Cultural Heritage. Throughout 2018, we will celebrate the cultural diversity that makes our union so special from east to west, north to south. Europe's cultural heritage marks our identity, brings people together, and attracts millions of people to our shores every year. With 6.5 million directly employed in cultural jobs, it also helps to create jobs and growth in our union, but the year should not be just a celebration. We must also use it to understand our past and to shape our future. 2018 marks 100 years since the end of the First World War and 100 years of independence for several of our member states. I can think of no better symbol or opportunity to learn from our past than this Year of Cultural Heritage, and as Europe debates how to shape its own future, we should not forget the uniting force that culture can be for our societies. It is a powerful tool for social inclusion. Programs like the EU-funded We Are Roma photo exhibition in Gothenburg has shown how culture can bring people together, break down barriers, and help to integrate minorities into society. There are many more examples right across our union, and this year is opportunity for us to do more. [unclear 10:54] Europe's cultural heritage is all around us wherever we go in our union. We must preserve it, understand what it means, celebrate it, and make the most of the opportunities it presents. This is what the European Year of Cultural Heritage is all about, and I'm delighted that this starts now with you. Thank you. [Applause].

[Federica]: This excerpt is taken from the complete streaming of the event, which is available online at an address that we will link in the description of this episode. So this is a grassroots-based year. It's implemented through a series of initiatives at national, regional and local levels, and it's done thanks to individuals and institutions that actually applied to be part of the year. I have applied, too. This podcast is part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and so I use the label, I use the slogan, and I use the hashtag #EuropeForCulture and I'm actually very proud and very happy about it. I would like to ask you a bit more about the other institutions and individual people who are part of the year, what kind of applications you have received and also how you handle the selection process, because you have received applications from all over Europe, so that must have been a massive moment in the organization of the year.

[Lorena]: Yes, so how it works is, it's as it follows. So we, as the European Commission, we are granting the label to transnational or EU-funded projects, but of course, Europe's cultural heritage is also found in nationally, regionally, in the smallest towns. So for this kind of projects, there are national coordinators granting the label as well. So it means that we have the same system of labeling, but it's managed by different authorities, let's say. At European level, we have labeled, if I'm not mistaken, 500 - yes - projects, and at national level over 4,000 projects, so these are only the numbers for the first six months. So of course, we are expecting twice as much.

[Federica]: 2018 will be over in just a couple of months as we speak. Do you still receive applications?

[Lorena]: Yes. Yes, yes, yes. We receive a hundred this month, for instance, plus all the submissions in member states. Member states are very active also with the labeling process. I'm thinking about, just to give one example, France developed an interactive map, an online map in which you can go and see which are the labelled projects and see it in the map, in which region. And so the labeling process is quite successful, and we are expecting many more.

[Federica]: You mentioned that December will not be the end of this initiative. You want to carry on the message of the year, help trigger real change in the way we enjoy, protect, and promote heritage. So what will happen after 2018?

[Lorena]: Yes, so as I said in the very beginning, it's not only about events, of course, because events - it's maybe just one one-off activity, but we are also working in long-term events. So here in in DG EAC, we launched the ten European initiatives, which are 10 long-term projects that will, of course, run well beyond 2018 and we are working with different partners within the Commission. Many services are involved, for instance, Directorate for Regional Policy (DG REGIO) or for maritime policy on underwater cultural heritage, cultural tourism, and many other topics, and also external partners like UNESCO, for instance, Council of Europe. So we designed this, let's say, work of ten European initiatives. Each European initiative is tackling one theme, so we have education, heritage, schools. We have youth for cultural heritage, we have innovation for cultural heritage, skills for cultural heritage, so ten topics that the European Commission has chosen, because we consider that European action, joint action, on these topics is needed and that it will bring an added value. So this was the rationale behind these ten European initiatives. And besides this, of course, there are many, many projects run also in member states, because this is a decentralized initiative, and we are also working on a policy legacy for the years to come in cultural heritage. So with all the good practices, the good projects, all the cooperation that we already put into place -to make it last and to bring it in the years to come, so we are also working on that right now.

[Federica]: Policy legacy. Have you been working already during this year? I assume so, but do you give yourself a deadline, like by the end of December we need everything done and in place and then we keep applying these policies, or it will keep being a work in progress, and have you concretized some results at least already during this year?

[Lorena]: Well, in the new agenda for culture, which is the, let's say, the working document for cultural policy in the European Commission, it was already announced that there would be something, an action plan for cultural heritage. Of course, the format and the type of the document is still under discussion, but definitely there will be something to follow up on the year.

[Federica]: The European Year of Cultural Heritage has a website, of course. That's Europa.eu/cultural-heritage and it's also linked in the description of this episode, of course, and with the hashtag, I assume that one can perform searches on Twitter or so, so if I did that, what kind of events would I retrieve? What would I see? Could you name some event that stands out, something that got your attention, something particular?

[Lorena]: Yes. Well, there are events being organized, from very large and visible events organized by the Commission (for instance, I'm thinking about the “run for cultural heritage" race that was held here in Brussels, 20, 25 kilometers, and this is a very, very big event) but also small and local events. For instance, I'm thinking... One I like a lot is this festival of fish soup in Italy, so this is also an example of intangible heritage, and basically it's all about fish soup and Brodetto Festival it's called. And we have a long, long, long list of events, very different. We have also events, I'm thinking about upcoming events, also directed to professionals in the sector, workshops and for the grand public, as well. In 27th of September, to celebrate the European Day of Languages, we have over 70 events all across Europe. These events are organized by field offices from DG Translation, so with the service in the Commission that it's in charge of translation, and it's celebrating languages as intangible cultural heritage. So this is also an interesting event.

[Federica]: Inclusivity is a huge keyword for Europe today, and I think it can apply to the European Year of Cultural Heritage because Europe is rich in history, but it's also changing its face very rapidly, with immigration, with new people who settle here, first-generation, second-generation, legitimate Europeans - but they may not find our cultural heritage, architecture, the languages to be their own. Like we look back in the past and it's been our own for centuries and millennia. Is there a specific action within the European Year of Cultural Heritage to give a voice, to reach these people and make them feel included, more welcome, or maybe to merge their heritage with our own so that the face of what the European cultural heritage is will keep shifting as the people of Europe change?

[Lorena]: Yeah, we do have... We have - I was talking about the ten European initiatives, and within these initiatives, so we have ten big topics and they are structured around four pillars which are engagement, sustainability, protection, and innovation. So, under the engagement pillar, we do have projects directed to, let's say, hard-to-reach groups, for instance, meaning the people that are not close to cultural heritage, but also we have heritage at school, for instance, also tackling this topic, youth for cultural heritage as well, volunteering opportunities. And so we are tackling this topic within the, basically promoting engagement with cultural heritage and participation.

[Federica]: We listen now to another excerpt from the complete streaming of the launch of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in Milan in 2017. This is an excerpt from the speech of the Commissioner for Education and Culture, Tibor Navracsics. The duration of the excerpt is about one minute.

[Tibor]: This means cultural heritage is not purely an aesthetical phenomenon; it is politically... It can be a politically very sensitive issue, because it always reminds us to our ancestors, to our heroes, to our past, but also to our future. If we can energize those sources of energy of our cultural heritage, we can fund a much brighter future in Europe, and that's why I fully understand those representatives of national minorities who are eagerly protecting their own particular elements - buildings, streets, books, heroes of cultural heritage - because it is really a part of a human identity, a personal identity, but it is a backbone of a community identity. So let it be a backbone of European identity as well.

[Federica]: So there are different layers to cultural heritage. It's the things, it's the knowledge, the intangible heritage, but it's also what it means to us and what we can do with it. So how did you decide to organize the communication campaign within the European Year of Cultural Heritage, to put this message out there for everybody in an effective, convincing way? What channels did you choose, what kind of communication strategy you put in place?

[Lorena]: Communication, of course, we are doing a lot, but we have to tell people about it, so communication is very important. We launched also, back in December, a whole full-fledged communication campaign, including a website, newsletter every two months. The visual identity of the year, which you know because you have received the labels, so we have this logo in five different colors representing the diversity of Europe's cultural heritage, and people can basically use whatever they want to, whichever color they want to. We also have the hashtag #EuropeForCulture, which is working quite well. This hashtag is also reflecting a political compromise. It's a political statement, because it's #EuropeForCulture, so it doesn't have 2018 in it. So it's also reflecting something that should last longer. Then, how do we communicate with stakeholders and with the general audience? We also have media partners. We are working with ARTE TV, and this is also a great way to reach a wider audience, but I must say, communication, our communication budget is really - it's not big. It's 15, 16 percent. We are using the largest part of the budget in projects, so for the communication, we rely a lot on multipliers to spread the word, so I would say it's... I have some numbers here that I would like to share with you. For instance, again, media relations, we've had almost 5,000 media reports published across Europe, so mentions on the year in newspapers. The year has been mentioned, even we had an article in the New York Times, so also well beyond Europe. We had a special supplement in The Herald, and the aggregated online readership exceeds the 5 million people. So this is just some numbers on the communication campaign.

[Federica]: I think I heard you mention that there was some budget to support some of the project within the European Year of Cultural Heritage. I know that, mostly, when people (including me) wanted to apply to get the permission to use the label, the logo, etc., we only applied for that, for the permission, so it was not a call for funding. Can you clarify what the year supported financially as opposed to just giving permission to use the label, the logo and the hashtag?

[Lorena]: Yes, we have a call for proposals for a total of 5 million euros for cooperation projects responding to two objectives, basically. The first one is: How can cultural heritage inspire contemporary creation? So cultural heritage as a fuel for creativity. And the second objective is - was, because the call is closed now - cultural heritage to foster a sense of European community, so again, shared identity, shared memories, remembrance and so on. So these were the two objectives, and 26 projects were selected and received funding to develop these projects, and now they will start very soon.

[Federica]: I know you're not the initiator of this initiative, but I would still like to ask you if you can tell us a little bit of how this whole thing started. When did it start, how long before 2018, and is it maybe a motivation to celebrate our cultural heritage that binds us together, the fact that there is need to strengthen the European identity because skepticism is getting more and more popular, so there is this need to emphasize the fact that there's such thing as Europe, and our cultural heritage is one - which I'm completely on board with that. I'm pro-Europe very much, but I see around me, of course, in mainstream media discourse that shows how, because of the changing face of Europe, our perception of our identity might be fragmented and, in short, weakened. So is one of the motivations to celebrate cultural heritage, like this year does, also to strengthen the identity of Europe as one?

[Lorena]: So first of all, the European Year of Cultural Heritage and the attention on cultural heritage in in the European agenda is not coming from one day to another. This is the result, of course, of years of policy developments and policy debate, and so in the past years, the Commission and the Council, Commission proposed recommendations, Council conclusions on cultural heritage, and it culminates in the proposal for this year. Of course, as you said before, it is a time of crisis, and cultural heritage is something that it's positive, that binds people together, or... So it's also quite a positive subject and a positive message. So I believe this is also, you can also see it like this, but definitely in the last years, the attention for cultural heritage has been growing and for culture in general we are moving from a union that's only monetary and economic and realizing that there's much more needed to do in terms of integration. So people need really to feel closer to each other, and culture and cultural heritage are a wonderful tool to do this..

[Federica]: I couldn't agree more. In fact, cultural heritage matters for Europe in more than just, well, being there, and, as we say, being part of who we are, but it also drives the economy. The creative industries are a very strong sector at the moment and resilient to crisis. 7.8 million people are directly or indirectly linked to heritage with interpretation or security services, so it's also a big part of the European economy. This year is the first Year of Cultural Heritage. There has not been another in the past, correct?

[Lorena]: No. No, no. There have been other years before. There was the European Fear of Development, European Year for Solidarity, for instance, as well. It's not every year, but it's, again, a reflection of what's happening in the political debate and something - a theme - that wants to be brought to the attention of the public to be debated and to raise awareness. But this is, yes, this is the first Year for Cultural Heritage.

[Federica]: After granting permission to hundreds of thousands of people to use the label, the logo, did you do a follow up to see if it was used correctly or if it was used at all, if it was actually popular as it should have been?

[Lorena]: Yes, indeed, we do not follow up at this moment, because the thing is, it's a decision as well. We want it to be really a bottom-up process and not only grant the label, for instance, to big European projects, but also to, as I said before, to small local projects that might still be interesting. So at this moment, also, the label does not entitle any financial contribution, so it's really a way to promote the initiative and to multiply the message more than a label of excellence, for instance. We do have other kind of initiatives that recognize excellence, like the European Heritage Label or the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage. The label of the year is more a communication tool so that we can put it out there and reach more people, and, of course, projects are showing their support for the year.

[Federica]: Is it possible that there has been an increase in submissions you have received recently? So in the summertime, probably, of 2018. Because after the year started, people learnt about it more because of the communication campaign. Like the year gained popularity during 2018 with all the events going on rather than a big campaign in 2017, maybe, and then by January 2018, we're all ready and we start. Because you said you still receive lots of applications now.

[Lorena]: Yes, yes, definitely. And also, in member states, in the different countries, we have noticed that, for instance, I think it was in Slovakia, if I'm not mistaken, they did have a very big press conference, and basically, after that press conference, they started receiving hundreds and hundreds of applications, so of course, it's kind of a snowball.

[Federica]: But after December, people cannot apply anymore.

[Lorena]: Well, applications will not be open, but people can still use the label, even though it's after the year.

[Federica]: Let's go back to when it all started. You said that this this big machine was set up sometime about in 2016. What happened then, and also tell us when you joined the team. When did you get involved with this initiative that you're so passionate about?

[Lorena]: So in 2016, in August 2016, the Commission, the European Commission, presented a proposal for the European Year of Cultural Heritage, but of course, how it works, it needs to be negotiated with the Parliament and the Council. So then the Parliament adopted the decision in April 2017 and the Council in May 2017. So it was a long process of negotiation of the document that gave birth, let's say, to the year. It's the legal basis, so it's the document with the objectives. It's setting also the governance of the year, what is it going to happen, and so on. So this was, let's say, the birth. This document was the first block that was laid. And as for me, in my personal involvement in the European Year of Cultural Heritage was two years ago. So I'm working in this project from the past two years, and I'm very happy because I've really... I am not European, to start with; I'm from Mexico. So for me, it's super interesting to, when I arrived here, and I also, I saw how is it working between the institutions, all these negotiations, let's say the machinery. It's just a great project, and I'm working with people who are very engaged and very passionate about what they do. So yes, so I love my work.

[Federica]: If I may ask, what makes you so passionate about this initiative, and even more so now, I'm curious, because you told me you're not European, everything revolves around this concept of European, as we're European, it binds us together. So how do you connect with this?

[Lorena]: Well, first of all, it's a topic that it's very interesting for me. I have a background in culture, cultural studies, cultural management and international relations. So for me, it's very interesting, but also what really - I'm speaking as a person and also off the record; all my views are personal, not from the European Commission. So to begin with, the topic, it's very interesting for me. It's also very interesting for me, the whole concept of Europe and the European Union. And, as I said before, I'm from Mexico, so I'm coming from a continent, Latin America, in which basically, except for Brazil, we all speak the same language. We all speak Spanish - well, some exceptions - but the efforts of the European Union of really creating a political and economic, of course, and cultural entity for me, is very interesting. So this is also quite interesting to see and to be part of this as well.

[Federica]: Can you mention some other event or other events that stand out because they are either big, or they are funny, or they have something special about them?

[Lorena]: So the peak of the events were really the European Heritage Days. The European Heritage Days are a scheme co-founded by the European Union with the Council of Europe, and it's really very, very community-based. So basically, what happens is, monuments and sites are open for free and they were also so many different events organised all across Europe, really, from very diverse - for instance, tea and home baking, degustation in a castle in Ireland or a night in the museum. So these are very interesting, engaging events. So for the first time, 2018, all the European Heritage Days across Europe adopted the same topic, which was the Art of Sharing, the European Year of Cultural Heritage. So this was a very important contribution. There were thousands and thousands of events, and yes, even here in Brussels, journées européennes du patrimoine. In Ireland, it's a week, it's not a Heritage Day, but it's Heritage Week. So this is a very interesting initiative.

[Federica]: Has anything been planned for a grand finale at the end of the year, like a closing event in December or January?

[Lorena]: Yes. There is going to be a closing conference in Vienna in Austria on the 7th of December. That's at European level. Most probably, there will also be some events organized by the countries, by member states. There has been even a midterm event in France, for instance. It was the kind of sort of evaluation to see what happened during the first half of the year. So we are expecting also some closing conferences or events, and one launch that I was present and I really liked was the launch of the year in Belgium. So it was organized... There was a mapping, a video mapping in the Grand-Place, which is a listed Heritage Site, and so the whole square was lightened up, and there was a performance and everybody could just come and see it, and it was very nice. Another launch event that was interesting was in Malta. It was done in a school with students, so this is also, you know, not the formal launch with only political figures, but it was done in a school. It's also a nice message to send as highlighting the role of the students and the kids as really the guardians of cultural heritage.

[Federica]: Back to you a little bit. So, Lorena, you're part of the taskforce for the implementation of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Your colleagues and yourself, what do you do? What do you do day to day?

[Lorena]: Yes, so my tasks involve a lot of communication, so the website, the news for the website, the newsletter, I'm in charge of the newsletter. Labeling process with the help of my colleague. So yes, this is in terms of communication. Then I am also contributing to the coordination of - I said before we have a network of national coordinators, so we have also to manage relations with them, and we also have a group of stakeholders which are organisations from civil society that are assisting the Commission in the implementation of the year, so... And we have, of course, all people within the European Commission, but working in different fields. So it's a big governance structure that we have to coordinate. We meet them regularly, so this is also part of my tasks and, as I said before, we are a very small but dynamic taskforce. So I am contributing to the implementation, communication, and also the evaluation of the year, because we, of course, we want to know what's happening and what's going on, so we are doing reporting and monitoring, and every three months we have a quarterly reporting exercise in which we get to see the numbers.

[Federica]: I assume in January 2019, you will take stock of the situation again and, you know, look back, and what will you look at, exactly? Will you count the number of times that the hashtag has been used or the number of visitors to the website?

[Lorena]: Yes, we have... We are evaluating, for instance, number of events, number of participants to the event, also media relations. So how many... We have a media monitoring in which we look how many mentions, how many times was the year mentioned in newspapers. We also have a social media reporting. For instance, the use of the hashtag, the times where the hashtag was trending. This was the case for, for instance, for the launch in Milano. The hashtag was a trending topic on Twitter, along with the Neapolitan pizza, which was inscribed in the UNESCO list of representative intangible cultural heritage. So cultural heritage was filling Twitter. And what else do we have? Labeled events, I think I mentioned it, yes. The number of visits to the website, which resources are being most downloaded or most visited, and these kind of indicators.

[Federica]: Have you ever detected an illicit use of the hashtag, like somebody did not apply, somebody had an event somewhere did not ask for permission and still used the label, the logo? Did you check on that? Has it happened?

[Lorena]: Yes, no. Yes, I'm sure it will happen, because, you know, it's in the website. It's easy to get nowadays, you know, just an image, so probably it will happen, but yes, I think it's a risk that... The risk is, it's lower than the positive, the positive experience that we've had, yes. But, of course, in the terms and use of conditions and use of the label, it's clearly stated that you should not use it without the permission of the European Commission, and, of course, if this happens, we will contact and ask them to remove the label, but at this point we haven't done it yet.

[Federica]: I promise I asked for information.

[Lorena]: Yes. [laughs]

[Federica]: So if someone wants to go to the website and look for an event like a food festival near me, a food festival next week, or a concert, an exhibition, or if I'm curious and I want to know if there is another podcast show that has received the label of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, how can we do it? Because I went to the website, and it wasn't so clear if there is a complete list of events - probably there's too many. So how does one look for events, in fact, to participate to?

[Lorena]: The labelled initiatives are not automatically showcased in the website. This is a common misconception, but I mean it's just because, as I said before, we are labeling hundreds of hundreds of initiatives and events, so we cannot put them all in the website, so in the website, what we are trying to do is just highlighting inspiring events, or it's just really the tip of the iceberg, it's just a preview.

[Federica]: Actually, I know that Technoculture is not the only podcast with a label of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, and I know that because I have another podcast in Italian with a great cohost, Gianluca Verlingieri. The podcast is called Banda Critica, bandacritica.it or .com. I mean, you can go to both; it's not that I don't know which one it is. And that podcast is also part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, so this was my self-promotion moment, and I would like to ask you: Do I have your permission to keep using the hashtag #EuropeForCulture all the way into 2019 every time I release new episodes for both podcasts?

[Lorena]: Yes, absolutely! Actually, we encourage you to do it because it's also part of the legacy of the year, and the idea is not to end, shoot down projects the 31st of December of 2018. Of course, it's quite the opposite, and yes, I'm very happy that the podcast is using the label.

[Federica]: I would like to thank you so much for your time, Lorena. I'm happy we got a chance to talk about this initiative. I'm happy I got to learn more about it, and, of course, I'm happy and proud to be part of it with the podcast. I invite everybody listening to go to the internet to this particular website and check the events near them and keep using the hashtag. Of course, most importantly, the purpose is not to use the hashtag, but it's to go out there and engage with our cultural heritage, participate, be active, connect, and people are always the most important thing. It's not about the thing; it's the community. So, I very much marry the spirit of this initiative. It also resonates so much with what this podcast is about, and my research work as well, so I'm very glad that we got together today and we got to talk about this great initiative, the European Year of Cultural Heritage. Our heritage: where the past meets the future. Thank you.

[Lorena]: Thank you. Thank you very much, and thank you for coming.

Thank you for listening to Technoculture! Check out more episodes at technoculture-podcast.com or visit our Facebook page at technoculturepodcast, and our Twitter account, hashtag technoculturepodcast.


Page created: October 2018
Last updated: July 2021