The Heritage Contact Zone project welcomes the stronger recognition of a value of cultural heritage that goes beyond the dimension of tangible assets: that is, heritage as a place for public engagement, reflection and re-invention of communities’ contested stories and histories. Communities, citizens’ engagement, co-construction and participation are critical elements that must be at the core of any heritage intervention. Informed participation of communities helps foster ownership and ensures adequate responses to local realities and needs. Promoting diversity in interventions, particularly intercultural encounters, contributes to the well-being of citizens as a whole.
Rooted Participation calls on policy-makers and those who implement cultural policies to pay greater attention to soft-infrastructure and participation, rather than traditional approaches prioritizing hard infrastructure. The policy statement asserts that now is the time to place community involvement to co-design and manage such processes at the core of the new Creative Europe programme, Horizon Europe, the Rights and Values programme, the European Regional Development and Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the LIFE – Programme for the Environment and Climate Action, particularly in view of the mainstreaming of climate action in the proposed post-2020 MFF.
The HCZ Toolkit offers a repository of resources that can be used by practitioners and academics alike who work with contested heritage and creative practices. It brings together the findings from the partners from their activities within the HCZ project and reference points that they have collected.
This toolkit is designed for practitioners who work with difficult heritage. All heritage is ‘difficult’ to one degree or another, but some sites, objects and practices are particularly contentious. Conflict can be useful, bringing issues out into the open, and this Toolkit is designed to help you make the most out of difficult situations. In this sense this toolkit wants to help practitioners to use a heritage site as a space of dialogue and encounter towards more inclusive, multi-vocal and creative narratives that constitute our collective memory and cultural identification.
It draws on the experience of the HCZ consortium, and borrows from some of the existing best practices out there.