Our Interpret Europe Conference 2018 took place from 23 to 26 March in Kőszeg (Hungary). It had been organised by the Hungarian Association of Cultural Heritage Managers (KÖME) and opened by the EU Commissioner for Education and Culture, Tibor Navracsics. 158 attendees from 40 countries representing all five continents took part.
We linked this conference to the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and we chose ‘Heritage and Identity’ as our theme. Four keynote addresses and 75 workshops and presentations related to this theme, enriched by a large number of scenic and musical performances.
The question of identity is key when it comes to one’s feelings towards Europe in all its diversity and one’s relationship with single nation states, regions and local communities. One European region where identities most intermingle is the Austro-Hungarian border area. We therefore ran the conference as a border-crossing event, starting our pre-conference tour at Vienna from where we travelled into Hungary and ending our post-conference tour in Budapest.
Kőszeg itself was a free royal town in medieval times and its castle became famous for its insolent resistance in slowing down a huge Ottoman campaign against Vienna. This castle, with its large Knight’s Hall, was our central venue. Besides this, we were hosted by iASK, the Institute for Advanced Studies Kőszeg.
11 study visits around Kőszeg lead to places where we tasted local varieties of vine and the famous Hungarian cuisine, and they also included sites within the border-crossing Fertő / Neusiedlersee Cultural Landscape (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Destinations were as different as the Pan-European Picnic Park where the Iron Curtain was first lifted in 1989, the remains of the Roman town of Savaria, or Esterháza, the ‘Hungarian Versailles’, which belonged to one of the most famous landowner families of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and where Prince Antal Esterházy welcomed the attendees for dinner in the orangery.
The European Green Belt along the former borderline between East and West is famous for its stunning natural heritage, especially the Fertő-Hanság and Neusiedler See-Seewinkel National Parks which are important resting places for migratory birds. Besides the park administrations who supported the conference, Europarc Federation contributed by joining a workshop reviewing how nature influences identity.
You can download and view some documents and speeches here:
Conference card (pdf)
Conference programme (pdf)
Welcome address Thorsten Ludwig (pdf)
Opening address Tibor Navracsics (pdf)
Opening address Tibor Navracsics
Keynote address Kenan Malik
Keynote address Ferenc Miszlivetz
Keynote address Constanze Itzel
Keynote address Laurajane Smith
Conference proceedings (pdf)