Balkans students gaining interpretive skills


Students at the Regional Restoration Camp in Shkodra, Albania, who attended the workshop on interpretive panels, have learnt that creating panels is not as easy as it seems. 
About 20 students of social sciences from all over the Balkans: Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia, as well as from Romania and Greece, attended one of several Regional Restoration Camps that run every summer in different Balkan countries. Now in their tenth year, the annual camps are Run by Cultural Heritage without Borders-Albania (CHwB-Albania), an organisation which restores buildings and monuments as well as relations between Balkan cultures.  
The Camp on Heritage Interpretation took place in Shkodra, a scenic town located on a lake of the same name in North Albania. In ten days, students learned about basic interpretive principles, tools and means. 
Besides skills for storytelling and live interpretation in museums, they also practiced principles of interpretive panel planning. On behalf of a newly established link between CHwB-Albania and Interpret Europe, the latter workshop was provided by an IE trainer. 
The lecture first offered a basic understanding of visitor psychology and design elements and also provided answers to why we need to determine objectives and how to develop basic interpretive writing techniques. Panels as a means of interpretation can be a very effective tool, bearing strong messages, but they can also be an off-putting and intrusive element in nature. One of the most important outcomes of the panel-workshop was the realisation of how interpretive panels differ from informational counterparts and that the traditional approach is no longer sufficient for a modern visitor. 
Last but not least, students of history, archaeology, art and other humanistic sciences surely feel encouraged to learn more about heritage interpretation and apply it to their future work. 
Helena Vièiè from Slovenia is an IE Certified Interpretive Guide Trainer and heritage interpretation consultant. She studied interpretation at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) in Scotland, UK. She can be contacted at: helena.vicic@gmail.com 

To cite this article: 
Vièiè, Helena (2017) ‘Balkans students gaining interpretive skills’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 3-2017, 15. 

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