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.

The charming Baltic Sea resort of Haapsalu provides the setting for our 2020 conference and the fresh sea breeze will be the perfect tonic to contemplate these subjects. The stunning seashore, its islands and the nearby Matsalu National Park are among Europe’s best places for birdwatching and there will be plenty of opportunities.

Haapsalu’s historic railway station was directly linked to Saint Petersburg from where the Russian Tzars arrived to take the waters and enjoy rejuvenating mud baths. The little town still retains an elegant, aristocratic air with colourful wooden houses, its romantic Episcopal castle and St Nicholas Cathedral. It was also a haven for renowned writers, artists and poets.

Haapsalu is less than two hours from Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, which was once a trading hub of the Hanseatic League in the 14-17th centuries. It is also one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe and a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Join us in Estonia on 8-11 May 2020 for a packed programme of inspiring speeches, workshops, presentations and study visits, when we’ll explore how interpretation can bring heritage communities to life.

Our 2020 conference will be organised by SALM, the Foundation of Haapsalu and Läänemaa Museums (www.salm.ee).

Bettina Lehnes is IE’s Conference Coordinator and can be contacted at: bettina.lehnes@interpret-europe.net.