Sustainability: Challenging mindsets through heritage interpretation

Koper, Slovenia

Block 21 to 24 March 2024 in your calendar for the Interpret Europe conference entitled Sustainability: Challenging mindsets through heritage interpretation!

There is hardly any layer in our societal tissue that is not concerned by the serious situation that we are currently facing. Mainstream politics advocate more sustainable growth, since any solution other than growth seems unacceptable to many people. On the other hand, activists believe that people need to make a radical shift in their mindsets and lifestyles.

Could museums, monuments, parks and other heritage sites help people to interpret heritage in a way that makes them more mindful towards our common future? Could they complement formal learning that is usually more focused on knowledge by reflecting upon our shared values? Could they also use the interpretive approach to initiate bottom-up movements and foster local small-scale initiatives leading to more sustainable thinking and acting?  

Value-based heritage interpretation has been recognised by UNESCO as a promising approach for fostering peace and sustainability and it is already being adopted by dozens of World Heritage Sites across Europe. Can it challenge people’s mindsets in a way that doesn’t focus on doom and gloom but keeps their spirits up for successful transition?

Koper, a green-labelled destination, will be the location for our exchanges on such questions. Capodistria or Capo d’Istria,, as the Venetians called it, is a small harbour city and the bilingual capital of the Slovenian coastal region, but the conference will also be hosted by a dozen of other heritage sites from Slovenia, Croatia, and Italy. This lively crossroads area of cultures and languages, the junction of South, West and East, is rich in history, with a difficult past but now a more peaceful coexistence in a united Europe that should be able to inspire us. What’s more, the karst hinterland with its countless underground caves, Mediterranean vegetation and the wild  fir and spruce forests of the Dinaric Alps, home to numerous rare species, will provide us with many opportunities for taking deep breaths in nature.

Our pre-conference Alpe-Adria tour starts on 20 March in Villach (Austria), a historic Alpine city in the province of Carinthia and about 2.5 hours drive by car from Koper. You can also reach Villach or Koper by train from Venice (Italy), which will be the final destination of our post-conference tour ending on 25 March so you may choose to begin your conference experience there. Koper can be reached by public transport from Ljubljana in 1.5 to 2.5 hours and from Trieste centre in 30 minutes. Please consider travelling across Europe slower and cleaner by train or by bus, meeting colleagues and visiting places on your way.

The conference will be organised by the UNESCO Chair for Interpretation and Education for Enhancing Integrated Heritage Approaches at the University of Primorska and the Faculty of Humanities UP. Primorska, on the Adriatic coast, is the westernmost region of Slovenia and the university building, on the picturesque mediaeval town square of Koper, will be our main venue.

Make sure you join us in March 2024 at the IE conference entitled Sustainability: Challenging mindsets through heritage interpretation! 

It offers an exciting programme created by colleagues from all over the world with speeches, workshops, presentations, study visits and much more. You will be informed about travel, accommodation, presentations and much more in September.

We look forward to welcoming you to Slovenia – and its neighbours!

A little bit of history

A European Heritage Summit was first organized in London on 26–28 April 2006 by Dr. Simon Thurley, former Chief Executive Officer of English Heritage. The mission of the Summit was to gather for the first time the European cultural heritage leaders who had the opportunity to exchange their experience and initiate common actions. It was attended by 23 European states which agreed in the Final Statement to continue to meet annually as a forum of European heritage heads, known as the “European Heritage Heads Forum”. Future hosting countries are chosen by general agreement at the annual meeting.

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Permanent Secretariat -
Place Saint-Géry 23, 1000 Brussels

Cookie policy - Privacy policy
Copyright © European Heritage Heads Forum
All rights reserved.