Becomming a Zoom pro (Image: Mohedano)

The conference was ready to take place in Haapsalu, Estonia when it became clear that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this would not be possible. We felt the need to overcome the consequences of social distancing but also to enable our speakers, presenters and workshop leaders from all over Europe and beyond, whose proposals had been selected, to share their experiences and ideas. We therefore decided to turn the conference into an online event.

Our conference theme was ‘Fostering heritage communities’. Heritage communities are a cornerstone of the Council of Europe’s Faro Convention. But how do heritage sites actually become meaningful for everyone? What triggers volunteer engagement and what boosts someone’s sense of fulfilment?

People are better connected to heritage when they are actively involved as co-creators of interpretation. This includes lively debate and sometimes dealing with controversial opinions as to why that heritage is meaningful. Consultation broadens consideration about different narratives which, in turn, helps establish practices that accommodate the values people attach to heritage.

During four full days, a packed programme of more than 90 inspiring speeches, workshops, presentations and special features took place, to explore how interpretation can bring heritage communities to life. 162 attendees from 37 countries joined.