Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Gioele Racca

Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Gioele Racca

Young cultural heritage professionals
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?

My background is in Philosophy, which obviously is quite a broad subject. So is ‘culture’. Philosophy looks for what is meaningful in things and significant for people, and culture provides one answer to it. For me, working in the field of culture and cultural heritage means to be in touch with what is important for people on a deep, sometimes implicit, level.

My motivation to work in this field steams from the fact that what we, as humans, define as culture and heritage influences the way as we live and behave, and has the potential to re-organise the present and the future (and to be fair the past too, as what we identify as ‘heritage’ is not a fixed and immutable concept). Since the second leg of my education is International Cooperation, working in an organisation that regards cultural heritage as a means for wellbeing, sustainability, and peace was indeed my first option.

 

How was/is your transition from studying to working?

The transition was smooth; however there has been an overlap between my education and work experience. With that I mean that the traineeship programs at my university allowed me to explore a couple of alternatives in the job market, with a gradual shift from education to work. On the other hand, my current employment begun before I completed my education, and the coexistence of the two requires dedication and patience.

 

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

I looked for a job in heritage through traineeship opportunities provided by my university. I think it was the best way to transition from education to working as well as an opportunity to test my expectations in real-world setting. In my experience, the search was somehow smooth: the timeframe was lengthy but, in the meantime, I was busy with my studies. However, I recognise that this process is not the norm, and that finding a job after the graduation, in this fields as in others, can be quite frustrating.

 

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

In my experience, alongside a sound knowledge in the field, the most demanded skills and competences in job offers are the ability to adapt to fast-evolving contexts, work both independently and collaboratively in a group, and effectively interact with a very diverse audience of people.

 

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

If I were to identify some weak spot in my educational experience, I would point out the lack, to some degree, of a ‘reality-check’. By this, I mean the acknowledgement of how expensive project-base activities can be, how many people are involved, how much the human factor including ideas and personal opinions matters, and how much the delivered results may differ (positively or negatively) from the concept design.

 

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

Going back to my previous responses, I believe the most attractive aspect of working in heritage is the opportunity to engage with something that holds, or could hold, a deep existential significance for people. Empathising this potential that culture and heritage possess could be a way for the whole sector to become more attractive. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that material conditions, such as on-the-job training, the employment stability and flexible working conditions, also have a huge appeal on young people.

 

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

I might be relatively new to the field to provide a justified answer this question, but I see that there is an increasing recognition in European society of the importance of preserving and promoting cultural heritage, also through the digitalisation of cultural heritage assets and the dialogue with the new technologies, notably AI.

On the other hand, the fragmentation of world into macro-blocks and the emergence of new wars in Europe or in its proximity may divert the attention and funding away from cultural heritage. I believe this may happen despite culture and heritage being potential powerful means of conflict resolution and peacekeeping, playing a vital role in shaping our identities and finding our place in the world, whether with or against others’ place and identities.

 

 

About the 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!

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