Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Elif Aydin

Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Elif Aydin

CHARTER Alliance
CHARTER has partnered with the European Heritage Hub to present a new series of interviews featuring young cultural heritage professionals. On this occasion, we will engage in dialogue with members of various organisations-members of the consortium who are, in various capacities and positions participating in this EU-funded project, to explore their perspectives on navigating the complexities of entering the sector, how their education has equipped them with the necessary skills and competencies, and their visions for the future of heritage!

New profile on the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals series:

 

Young cultural heritage professionals

What was your motivation to enter the cultural heritage field? Was it your first option?

Entering the cultural heritage field was both a goal and a driving force for me. I envisioned a career that would seamlessly merge sociology and architecture while also incorporating historical sites. Fortunately, urban planning provided pathways into all three areas, allowing me to pursue my passion for cultural heritage within a multidisciplinary framework. Ever since I began my bachelor’s degree in urban planning, I’ve had a profound aspiration to explore cultural heritage. Accordingly, I’ve consistently focused on historic environments in my studio projects, approaching them through the lens of urban conservation.

 

How was/is your transition from studying to working?

As a PhD researcher, I’ve consistently prioritised gaining practical experience in the field, particularly through involvement in projects that allow for direct engagement with stakeholders. In addition to my academic pursuits, I’ve actively sought volunteer positions in projects that align with my studies, enabling me to immerse myself in the working environment.

 

How are you looking/looked for a job in heritage?  And how do you experience/experienced the phase of search and application?

I typically search for job opportunities that align with my experience and skills through LinkedIn. Additionally, I subscribe to newsletters or regularly check the job listings of organisations and companies I aspire to work for. This approach allows me to stay updated on both volunteer and paid positions. By doing so, I can identify areas where I need to gain more experience for my applications and select volunteer opportunities accordingly. 

 

What skills and competences do you notice are demanded the most in job offers?

There’s a clear demand for research skills, especially in policy analysis and development. Employers value candidates who can apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations, particularly in project management and implementation. Proficiency in policy research, analysis, and recommendation formulation is essential for guiding projects and advocating for policy changes. Overall, I think bridging theory with practical application is crucial in meeting the demands of the cultural heritage field.

 

Based on the profiles of job positions, do you notice skills or competences that your education didn’t provide you with?

I feel fortunate to have an educational background in urban planning, which I believe is incredibly versatile. Because it prepares students for diverse career paths by addressing every aspect of life. The skills and knowledge gained in urban planning education (including generating development projects in various themes, crafting policies, and subsequently implementing them into urban spaces) can be applied not only within the planning discipline but also across various sectors such as economics, communication, construction, design, culture, law, and beyond. This flexibility enables young professionals to engage in a wide range of fields and industries, making them valuable in today’s multidisciplinary workforce.

 

How do you think young people can be attracted to work in heritage? Do you have proposals?

Among my university peers, I’ve noticed a reluctance to pursue careers in the heritage or the cultural sector, often attributed to the perception of low-budget projects and limited job opportunities in the field. However, I’m unsure about potential solutions to address this issue.

 

How do you see the future of the cultural heritage field?

There seems to be a growing recognition of the significance of the concept of “heritage” in both present-day discourse and future perspectives. In literature and policy documents, we are not only encountering socially oriented terms like art, inclusivity, and diversity but also witnessing the emergence of terms such as sustainability, resilience, health, well-being and beyond. Consequently, it appears that the sphere of influence and power of heritage in everyday life is becoming more evident.

Additionally, there’s a noticeable uptick in my professional circle regarding the value of collective action. My peers grasp the necessity of working together towards common goals, thereby emphasising the importance of collaboration.

 

 

About the European Heritage Hub

European Heritage Hub

The European Heritage Hub is a two-year pilot project launched in May 2023 by a consortium of 20 partners, led by Europa Nostra and co-funded by the European Union, to set up a permanent and autonomous heritage hub in Europe.

Youth presence in the consortium is ensured by the partnership between Hispania Nostra and ESACH who are in charge of the coordination of youth activities throughout the project. ESACH, as a youth-led network of around 400 students and young professionals, contributes to the consortium as an associated partner and ensures the presence of younger generations in the debates and Hub activities. Learn more here!

 

You can find all CHARTER’s Young Cultural Heritage Professionals interviews here!

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