The CHARTER Alliance Consortium reunited for the last 2021 General Meeting, “Charter: Building Bridges”, from 1 to 3 December. The meeting was organised and virtually hosted from Ljubljana by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia.
As the title suggests, CHARTER is the only EU cultural heritage project connecting different national education programmes, professions, sustainable and modern technologies, all interwoven with a common European history that binds us together. The General Meeting aimed to continue this working path with specific Working Packages (WPs) workshops as well as an opportunity to get familiar with the cultural heritage landscape of Slovenia and the Western Balkans.
Day 1: Slovenian/ Western Balkans’ cultural heritage context and WPs State of the Arts
The General Meeting began with a set of four opening speeches to welcome participants, starting with Lluís Bonet (University of Barcelona), CHARTER’s Coordinator, and Jernej Hudolin, Director General for the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (ZVKDS).
CHARTER’s Project Officer, Mariachiara Esposito (DG EAC D1 Cultural Policy Unit), stressed how topical the cultural heritage domain is for the European Commission. Recovery and resilience facility plans, budget increases and focus on developing skills and creating access to funding opportunities were presented.
The last speech was given by Jelka Pirkovic, Acting Director General of the Cultural Heritage Directorate at the Slovenian Ministry of Culture. She shared her view of CHARTER and the importance of working on glossary and definitions for an understanding at European level.
The first round of presentations allowed for the CHARTER consortium to delve into the Slovenian CH landscape:
- Borut Šantej (ZVKD-1) presented the Cultural Heritage Protection Act. The presentation focused on the organisation of public service in the field of immovable and movable CH, the organisation of local public service and voluntary work.
- Martina Lesar Kikelj presented the different profiles of collaborators in the Institute for Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, including architects, archaeologists, conservator-restorers, conservators, etc. Martina explained the cooperation between different employment profiles, associations and educational institutions.
- Jana Šubic Prislan (Goriški Muzej) presented the professional exams required in the field of CH protection. Jana explained how people engaged in professional activities in a museum or other public institutions are required to pass a professional examination that will award the first title. Titles are required to obtain self-employed status and for applying for government tenders for funding.
Following this first introduction, a round-table to present the situation of CH professions in the Western Balkans countries took place. The speakers invited were Azra Bečević-Šarenkapa, Textile Conservator at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Meri Stojanova, Ethnologist, Director of the NI “Institute and museum”, North Macedonia; Daniela Korolija, Conservator-Restorer at the Gallery of the Matica srpska, Serbia.
The topics discussed included the different labor market situations, organisation of services, regulation and acquisition of education. The round-table offered valuable insights to fully understand the different local contexts of the countries represented.
In the afternoon session all WPs shared their 2021 State of the Arts. The entire consortium had the opportunity to follow-up each group’s achievements, current work and future steps presented by the WP leaders and co-leaders.
DAY 2: Young professionals & internal workshops
On the second day of the CHARTER General Meeting a round-table with CH young professionals was organised for the first time. This space was crucial to have a direct contact with the future generations of CH professionals and give them a platform to voice their thoughts and experiences.
The round-table was moderated by Lucija Močnik Ramovš (University of Ljubljana) with the participation of Barbara Dragan, Erica Sartori, Lara Skukan, Anja Novak and Čila Berden. The speakers shared their status and their experiences of transitioning from being a student to entering the employment market. The young professionals contributed with identifying some gaps and necessary skills to be included into the curricula such as management, digital, communication, and funding skills.
During the morning and afternoon, two internal workshops were arranged for the whole consortium to join and work together for important future developments:
- WP2 Workshop on cultural heritage workers’ skills. The aim of the workshop was to discuss and define within the CH sector which are generic relevant skills; which are specific skills; which are the skills all workers have in common. For this purpose, six groups were arranged to work with different profiles cases. Moderation was carried out by partners from E.C.C.O., NEMO, ICOMOS and FARO.
- WP3 Workshop on education and training database structure. This session was fully devoted to test the digital database WP3 is developing and identify improvement opportunities. The workshop was hosted by Akademie der Bildenden Künste and Fondazione Scuola dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali.
DAY 3: Risk management session and closing meetings
The last workshop took place on the third and final day. The session was conducted by WP7 (Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and Museovirasto – Finnish Heritage Agency) and aimed to detect risks and provide strategies to tackle them in four different areas: communication; human relationships; management; external environment.
Concluding the 3-days event, meetings of the General Assembly, the Steering Committee and the Expert Advisory Board’s feedback session were held to address formal 2021 closing matters. To officially end our General Meeting, our Coordinator, Lluís Bonet, and our Project Officer, Mariachiara Esposito, shared final remarks and conclusions with the consortium.