‘After 319 days of preparations, 861 e-mails, a planning trip to Slovenia, hours of Skype meetings & phone calls, the 3 days of Crossing Borders – Interpret Europe Spring Event in Prague is over…’
That was Michal Medek’s Facebook post after the close of the Spring Event in May. You can sense the exhaustion and relief in his tone, but also a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. On behalf of IE, I would certainly like to thank Michal and the team of SIMID, the Czech Association for Heritage Interpretation, ably assisted by Helena Vičič, for a job very well done in organising the event for us. Through their efforts, IE was able to reach new audiences as well as existing ones and the event was one of the most accessible for encouraging practitioners to come together and share best practice and see what we could learn from each other from across the borders. As someone living through Brexit, it was particularly heart-warming to spend time with valued colleagues from all over Europe and beyond.
So, some more figures … the Spring Event attracted a diverse crowd of 75 participants from 23 countries. Over three days, we heard from three keynote speakers – Lenka Mrazova, UNESCO Chair of Museology and World Heritage from the Czech Republic, Jelena Močević, Council of Europe: European Heritage Days from France and Steven Timoney, head of the MSc programme on heritage interpretation at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, UK – and had the opportunity to attend a choice of 28 presentations and workshops across four themed strands, as well as a choice of two study visits to experience some of Prague’s historic centre – a World Heritage Site.
The parallel presentations and workshops were split into the following strands:• Developments in interpretation theory and practice

  • Heritage interpretation in Eastern Europe
  • Heritage interpretation in higher education
  • IE’s training programme – including taster workshops (find out more about these in Abby McSherry’s article below)

As usual, participants were heard exclaiming how interesting the programme was and how hard it was to decide which sessions to attend, with some members agreeing to split up and share notes later. This is a testament to the organisers for putting on a good and varied programme, and also to everyone who submitted a paper to present. The proceedings containing those papers that were submitted in advance can be found on the IE website so you can catch up with some of the content there: https://www.interpret-europe.net/top/events/past-ie-key-events/2017springevent.html. The keynotes will also be available there soon.
On top of the full programme, the Spring Event provided an opportunity for the IE management and team coordinators to meet in person to discuss the important behind-the-scenes workings of an organisation of this size and to maximise how we can best meet your needs as members and increase the profile of IE on a European and international level. It was particularly valuable for me to meet some of the IE News Team members who provide great support but whom I had never before met.
Thank you, Michal and SIMID – we hope you have found time to relax since packing the car up and returning to daily life after organising this event.

Marie Banks works as a freelance interpretation and exhibitions specialist, proofreader and copy editor, trading as Zebraproof.uk. She has been involved with Interpret Europe since 2013 and volunteers as the News Coordinator. She can be contacted at: marie.banks@interpret-europe.net

To cite this article:
Banks, Marie (2017) ‘Crossing Borders – The success of the Spring Event’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2017, 4. 
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