It was all peace and no war for the training team’s first meeting near the battlefields of Austerlitz, where the team hatched exciting plans for a new range of IE training products.

Kaprálův mlýn, the scout education centre close to Brno (Czech Republic), was the ideal place for the IE training team to meet. The old mill (mlyn), is surrounded by magnificent nature and close enough to sites steeped in history, which makes it the perfect setting for IE’s first international summer courses for Certified Interpretive Guides (CIG) and for Certified Interpretive Guide Trainers (CIGT).

The training team includes Valya Stergioti (Greece), Sandy Colvine (France), Evarist March (Spain), Michal Medek (Czech Republic) and Markus Blank (Austria) and its first task was to find the right places for the above training exercises. Historic places, like the battlefields of Austerlitz, which are part of the world-famous novel ‘War and Peace’ by Leo Tolstoy, museums about the history of mankind, like the Anthropos Pavilion, the Spilberk Castle with its exhibition on kasematy (old prisons) and the various caves in the Moravian Karst landscape around Kaprálův mlýn are just some examples of places the training team visited to find the perfect spots for the upcoming training courses.

The other task of this meeting was to think about a training strategy for Interpret Europe over the next few years. Building up membership numbers is one of Interpret Europe’s major goals and training should also play its part in this. So, the training team came up with the following ideas:

  • A one-day course for managers:
    The aim of this course would be to contact site managers and convince them to send people to CIG courses. Furthermore, this would be an opportunity for IE to introduce managers to the notion and principles of interpretation so that they accept ideas and methods.
  • A course for interpretive agents:
    The focus of this course is convincing people about the value of interpretation whilst also enhancing their communication skills to promote interpretation and gain support.
  • Additional training modules based on needs and opportunities, e.g.:
    • Interpretive writing
    • Live Interpretation
    • Museum guiding
    • New technologies and interpretation
    • Interpretive Hosts
    • Environmental Stewards
    • Media
    • Interpretive planning

Other important points to discuss were fundraising and establishing ‘quality criteria for courses endorsed by IE’.

This very intense weekend filled with discussions, new ideas coupled with Markus’ wine, sausage, endless cups of tea and sweet treats from our different countries culminated in a highly memorable  car ride to make the waiting train at Brno station and get back home.

Markus Blank is member of the Supervisory Committee of Interpret Europe. He works for the Gesäuse National Park in Austria in the department of environmental education and interpretation. You can get in touch with him at

To cite this article:
Blank, M. (2016) ‘A novel meeting place for the IE training team’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 1-2016, 7-8

Available online: