Å ibenik, a town which over the last few years has proved itself to be a favourite Dalmatian destination regarding its cultural-tourism offer, was the host of the three-day educational workshop, ‘Interpretation of heritage and tourism of experiences for the sustainable development of local communities’, which took place 22-24 November. The workshop aimed to improve the knowledge and skill of participants from the field of heritage interpretation and the creation of an experiential cultural-tourism product, and with its work to contribute to the development of local communities. The workshop was organised by Interpret Croatia and a local host, the Association of Tourist Guides ‘Mihovil’ Å ibenik, who are partners in the project ‘Interpreting our heritage’.
The workshop’s programme consisted of several lectures and interactive workshops led by four different, very inspiring individuals:
- Valya Stergioti, IE’s Training Coordinator and a freelance interpretation trainer and planner, introduced the attendees to the world of heritage interpretation, vividly describing her main principles with the help of many examples from her experience. She emphasised the idea of ‘provocation instead of instruction’ wherein heritage is brought closer to the user via universal human themes and experiences.
- Daniela Angelina Jelinčić, a scientific adviser at the Institute for Development and International Relations in Zagreb, dealt with the senses and she practically illustrated the possibility of provoking emotions with the help of sensory stimuli.
- Dragana Lucija Ratković Aydemir, Director of Muses Ltd consulting and management in culture and tourism, co-founder and vice-president of Interpret Croatia and IE’s Country Coordinator for Croatia, illustrated the art of interpretation planning with the example of her award-winning project, the ‘Kuća o batani’ eco-museum. She pointed out the power of heritage interpretation for the preservation of local identity and the vital role which the support of the local community has in it.
- Lana Domšić, lecturer and coordinator of international cooperation on the course of cultural management at the accredited ‘Baltazar Zaprešić’ University lead the participants into the world of participatory approach in heritage interpretation, which was also her research subject in her PhD thesis, ‘The participatory interpretation of heritage and the social effects on the young’.
We asked Lana Domšić to comment and expand on her workshop, which she called ‘Interpretation of heritage and tourism and the sustainable development of local communities’, and to speak about the impressions that she gained from the course:
‘The changes in the methods of communication and cultural spending which have come about in contemporary society, notably following the development of Internet technology, have also led to the changes in the understanding of the role of heritage interpretation,’ she says.
Lana’s workshop concluded that traditional tours are no longer enough to attract and hold the attention of visitors. The task for heritage institutions and experts is to abandon their role as expert and turn into facilitators who will enable interaction with heritage and encourage users into the communication, creation and the sharing of content. Museums and places of heritage must transform from static monuments into valuable resources for the sustainable development of a community and its learning.
During the highly interactive session, Lana and the participants discussed possible methods to personalise heritage and to encourage active inclusion through offering alternative viewpoints, user-created content, digital technology and participatory design. The participants contributed significantly with ideas and examples from their own practice or from heritage institutions that they had visited. The group also practised encouraging users into the active involvement by asking relevant and provocative questions.
‘It was a special honour for me, and I am pleased that I gave my presentation at this gathering in the company of three top experts in the field of heritage interpretation and cultural tourism.’
One of the participants, Vida Ungar, described the workshop as a great success:
‘The excellent themes and even better leaders delighted our interpretation clan who were just waiting for the chance to learn from and enjoy the inspirational company. The workshop gave us an excellent introduction into the noble skill of heritage interpretation as well as a powerful incentive for the creative involvement of the connections of heritage in the life of the community’.
Ivana Jagić is a museologist and heritage manager from Zagreb, Croatia. Since 2013 she has been working in Muses Ltd consulting and management in culture and tourism, as a museologist and interpretation planner. She is the Association Secretary for Interpret Croatia and has been a member of Interpret Europe since 2016. She can be contacted at: [email protected].
To cite this article:
Jagić Boljat, Ivana (2018) ‘Learning about interpretation in Å ibenik, Croatia’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 4-2018, 24.