With the launch of European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 less a month away, numerous cross-border initiatives are coming underway.
Next year’s celebrations will uncover new aspects of heritage through innovative new projects, one of which is coming from Ireland to the rest of Europe. Focusing on heritage of ethnic minorities, a Sharing Stories initiative will empower minority communities to share their stories through participatory, inclusive, and cooperative events.
Initiated by Niamh Donnellan, Heritage Week Project Manager for Ireland within as part of her study for the European Diploma in Cultural Project Management, the project explores how ethnic minority groups can be encouraged to tell their stories during European Heritage Days.
Ethnic minority heritage is an integral part of European culture and Sharing Stories aims to bring it to public awareness. Through collaboration of European Heritage Days national coordinators, this aim will get a pan-European dimension.
Communities from all across Europe will be encouraged to join European Heritage Days celebrations and showcase uniqueness of their traditions. Historians, folklorists, craftmakers, heritage community leaders, and other heritage owners will be invited to discuss and present their stories. This way, the project will unveil the richness and uniqueness of ethnic minority heritage in different regions of Europe.
Heritage of ethnic minority groups is a pan-European topic that carries significant value for the cultural heritage celebrations of 2018. As such, it was recognised by multiple European Heritage Days national coordinators, who will integrate it in the European Heritage Days common theme for 2018 - The Art of Sharing.
So far, the countries that announced their participation in the project are Belgium-Brussels, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, England - UK, Scotland - UK, Northern Ireland - UK, and Norway. Each of them will address a specific theme relevant to heritage of minority groups, uncovering a variety of meanings it has for Europe.
The proposed themes go beyond the European Heritage Days celebrations and also relate to key ideas of European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. By developing appreciation and understanding of ethnic minority heritage on such a large scale, the project will also help in countering xenophobia and encouraging greater tolerance.
The Sharing Stories activities will take place within European Heritage Days 2018, while a series of coordinator meetings will be held throughout 2018. National coordinators and project representatives will work with communicities on a local and national level to plan and support the organization of the initiative and ensure its wider adoption.