CHARTER Alliance in Sweden: General Meeting & last Regional Workshop (12-16 June)

CHARTER Alliance in Sweden: General Meeting & last Regional Workshop (12-16 June)

CHARTER Alliance Västra Götaland Regional Workshop
The CHARTER Alliance met from 12 to 16 June in Sweden for 2 important engagements: hosting our last regional workshop in Västra Götaland, which took place in Gothenburg and Nääs, and holding our General Meeting in Mariestad. Thanks to the hosting institutions and the rich participation of local stakeholders, this week contributed to understanding the Swedish ecosystem, in the particular fields of built heritage and crafts, and advance discussions and exchange on the next steps of CHARTER. Keep reading!

CHARTER Alliance reunited once again for a full Swedish week, involving the Västra Götaland Workshop (12-14 June), organized in partnership with the region and ERRIN, and the Mariestad General Meeting (14-16 June), organized by the University of Gothenburg.

Both events offered a valuable opportunity to delve into 2 topics: local built heritage and crafts. In this framework, thanks to the active participation of local stakeholders, the project was able to cover a wide spectrum of themes, from the specificities of the Västra Götaland, Swedish and Nordic countries heritage ecosystems, to the specific skills and competences needed for built heritage conservation and crafts. Through panels, round tables, case studies and working sessions, both CHARTER members and local stakeholders, engaged in a fruitful exchange that will contribute to the further development of the project.


DAY 1: Kick-off of the CHARTER Alliance Västra Götaland Regional Workshop

After the welcoming and introductory speeches by Kerstin Alnebratt, Head of Cultural Development Administration from the Region, and Astrid Hannes, Policy Officer at ERRIN, who presented the project to the local stakeholders, the panelists shared their experiences and findings.

The panel, moderated by Prof. Gunnar Almevik from the Department of Conservation, University of Gothenburg, included Joakim Malmström, Director General at the Swedish National Heritage, Hanna Geiran, Director General at the Norwegian National Heritage Board, and Tiina Merisalo, Director General at the Finnish Heritage Agency. They provided an overview of the workshop, contextualizing the national Cultural Heritage sector in the Nordic Countries.

CHARTER Alliance Västra Götaland Regional Workshop


Carina Carlsson and Marie Odenbring Widmark, Heritage Consultants from the Cultural Development Administration, Region Västra Götaland, described the regional cultural heritage ecosystem of Västra Götaland using the six functions model defined by Charter.

This was followed by speeches from Maria Palm, Chairman and Historic Painter, Catharina Dahl Palmér, Architect, Mats Lindström, Window Restorer and Educator for the Municipality of Mariestad, and Peter Jarbring, Site Manager FO Peterson & Söner Byggnads AB. They were moderated by Linda Lindblad, Director of the Craft Laboratory, University of Gothenburg. The speakers presented a variety of examples of local realities, businesses, and buildings, highlighting the specific challenges of preserving architectural heritage and discussing the future skills needed in the sector.

Later, a round table discussion took place with different actors from various sectors, including Mats Engvall, Construction Division Manager FO Peterson & Söner Byggnads AB; Paula Femenias, Professor in Sustainable Transformation at the Division of Building Design, Chalmers University; Stephan Fickler, Operations Manager Swedish Association for Building Preservation; Nathalie Werjefeldt, Unit Manager Dacapo Mariestad. The discussion touched on topics such as construction, sustainability, and the intersection of these areas with the conservation of built heritage.

This kick-off day emphasized aspects that had already emerged in past meetings while introducing new notions and insights specific to architectural heritage. The collaboration of CHARTER Alliance partners and keynote speakers was instrumental for this reason. The importance of connecting actors in ecosystems was reiterated, emphasizing the need for dialogue and the hybridization of competences and skills among actors from different sectors. Additionally, the role of civil society and volunteers as important players in accompanying the heritage transition towards the future was highlighted.


DAY 2: Cultural heritage planning and use in Västra Götaland

CHARTER Alliance Västra Götaland Regional Workshop


During the second day in Gothenburg, several speakers alternated to cover two major topics that characterized the morning panels. Moderated and introduced by Tomas Brandt, Head of Heritage and Collections Department, Bohusläns Museum, the first thematic area focused on heritage planning and the intersections between the heritage environment and municipal planning. The speakers included Amanda Jansson, Planning Officer from the Municipality of Sotenäs, Anders Hansson, Architect and Building Permits Officer for the Municipality of Lidköping, and Stephan Fickler, Operations Manager from the Swedish Association for Building Preservation.

After the presentations, the discussion continued with a panel joined by Eva Löfgren, PhD, Senior Lecturer at Department of Conservation University of Gothenburg; Rasmus Renglin, Architect at The Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning; Anna Reuter Metelius, Architectural conservation consultant, member of the Heritage advisory board of the Association of Swedish Architects; Heidi Vassi, head of Cultural Heritage Department at the County Administrative Board of Kronoberg.

The second thematic area of the morning, moderated and introduced by Björn Ohlén, Regional Developer, Cultural Development Administration, Region Västra Götaland, was heritage and use, with presentations by Henrik Olsson, Manager Cultural Heritage, Innovatum Science Centre, Ylva Frid, Architect, Cultural Development Administration, Region Västra Götaland, and Fredrik Hjelm, Cultural Heritage Officer at the Municipality of Borås. During this session, speakers emphasized the role of civil society in pursuing more sustainable tourism models, the competences required to transform a heritage site, and a case study analysis of the industrial city of Borås.

This session was followed by a panel discussion joined by Claes Brunius, Business Developer at the National Property Board, Gunilla Davidsson, Project Manager Cultural Tourism at Tourism Board West Sweden, Gerhard Jansson, Chairman of the Local Heritage Federation of Dalsland, and Lisa Lundin, Regional Developer Business and Innovation at Regional Development Administration, Region Västra Götaland.

In the afternoon, our Coordinator, Lluís Bonet (University of Barcelona), was in charge of presenting the state of arts of the project, next steps and what we have defined as drivers of change for the cultural heritage sector. Elis Marçal (E.C.C.O.) and Bosse Lagerqvist (ICOMOS) focused on sharing the latest developments of the work carried out by WP2 in relation to the CHARTER model and methodology to draft competences profiles. Karin Riegler (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna), representing WP3, introduced the 8 innovative/emerging fields for Education & Training opportunities.

To conclude our workshop, led by WP4, participants divided into small groups to work on a visual representation of the future cultural heritage, aiming to depict its dynamics, stakeholders, roles, and values.

The second day was officially closed with a visit to the district of Haga, Gothenburg’s old town, known for its wooden buildings and 19th-century atmosphere.


DAY 3: Visit to Nääs and beginning of the General Meeting

On day 3, 14 June 2023, the CHARTER Alliance consortium moved from Gothenburg to the city of Nääs, most precisely to its Crafts and Building Preservation Center, Slöjd & ByggnadsvärdThis center provides counseling, a library, exhibitions, short courses and life long learning, festivals and fairs, a shop and support to business operations within the cultural creative industry. The visit provided an opportunity for discussion with craft professionals such as Manne Svedberg (carpenter and teacher), Sara Degerfelt (regional handicraft consultant), Peter Jarbring (heritage consultant and teacher), Elinor Brouang Möller (straw handicraft) and Maria Sidén (Manager at Nääs).

In the afternoon, the General Meeting started. The first session involved the Expert Advisory Board, who provided an evaluation, feedback and recommendations for the development of the project. Later, the General Assembly took place, in which each work package presented its results and next steps among the consortium.

Among the key points shared, WP2 focused on the findings of their last report and the ongoing focus groups held to collect occupational profiles, skills and future challenges from professionals. WP3 shared updates on its 2 new databases (Literature Collection; Cultural Heritage Education Programmes in Europe) and its upcoming deliverable presenting the 8 emerging fields of education and training opportunities, which will be developed in the form of guidelines. WP4 offered an account on the completion of all regional workshops, reuniting more than 500 stakeholders in total, and the next steps for their next report analysing these experiences. WP5 reflected and gave further inputs on the first Policy Round Table, held on 4 May 2023.


DAY 4: Mariestad General Meeting – Open day for stakeholders

On the morning of 15 June 2023, CHARTER hosted its open day for stakeholders, organised and held at the Craft Laboratory of the Department of Conservation of the University of Gothenburg in Mariestad. The Crafts Laboratory aims to combine research and crafts in their research processes and programs and it has three main cores, built environment, cultural property preservation, craftsmanship. It serves as a national center for handicrafts and a platform for craftsmen to document and develop their knowledge.

During the morning, we got the opportunity to explore all the wealth of programmes offered at the Laboratory, including painting; roof thatching; building crafts, wood-work, carpentry; gardening and landscape; masonry and windows restoration.


In the afternoon, the focus was dedicated to vernacular heritage with Marwa Dabaieh, Professor in Urban Studies at Malmö University. The keynote address highlighted the diverse perspective that vernacular heritage offers regarding the built heritage, as resilient environments that resist climate change, societal, and economic changes.

Afterwards, the panel “Crafting the future” took place, exploring facts, dynamics and diagnosis on heritage. The discussion, moderated by Nils Björling, Senior Lecturer, Urban Design and Planning at Chalmers University of Technology, involved Jonatan Malm, Craft Consultant from Västra Götaland Region, Géraldine Brun, PhD Craft Researcher at the University of Gothenburg, and Helena Hansson, Researcher and Lecturer at the Academy of Art and Design.

Speakers shared experiences and examples to address the topic of heritage dynamics and diagnosis in the context of crafts, including examples of heritage related craft in Västra Götaland and how/why we craft consultants support them; traditional knowledge for resilient production; and the concept of co-crafting, a collaborative process integrated in a participatory process mixing professionals and amateurs.

The last part of the agenda included a presentation of CHARTER findings and overview of the next steps by members from the consortium, and a new creative challenge: visually representing how different sustainable goals match with cultural heritage.


DAY 5: Internal meeting and closing

The final day of the General Meeting gave the opportunity to CHARTER Alliance members to reflect on the next steps of the project. Guided by our Coordinator, Lluís Bonet, members reacted to different statements in relation to the cultural heritage sector to foster discussion and exchange. This exercise contributed to start reflecting and aligning points of view on what our future recommendations should address.

After two years and a half of work, with multiple reports and resources published, CHARTER is now moving towards its final stages of work. On 2024, the project will issue its final recommendations and strategy to bridge the gap between educational and occupational systems in cultural heritage. We invite you to have a look at our new short film, providing and overview of what the project has done so far, as well as testimonials from cultural heritage professionals on what their skills needs in daily practice are.


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