Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Leonor Nogueira

Meet the Young Cultural Heritage Professionals – Interview with Leonor Nogueira

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 motivation for entering the field of cultural heritage stems from the fact that I consider it a personal mission to preserve the collective memory of a place or a population. This area was my first choice for this very reason. Hence, I seek to defend the importance of valuing and managing cultural, natural, tangible and intangible heritage as legacies that have been left to us that we must protect and maintain.


How was/is your transition from studying to working?

It has not been the easiest of transitions, and I haven’t worked as much as I would have liked in the field of heritage management. During my master’s degree, I did a training programme at the Palace of the Dukes of Cadaval in Évora, Portugal. I also did an internship at the Permanent Delegation of Portugal to UNESCO, where I was able to keep a close eye on major meetings in the field of heritage, such as the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, among others.

I feel that I’m still in that transition, actually, given that I finished my master’s degree recently last year. Although I’m in the cultural area I’m not yet in the heritage field. 


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

I have made a word document with links to the job vacancy pages of a vast number of cultural institutions and foundations worldwide linked to heritage and where I would like to work, and I check it regularly to submit my applications. It is not easy to search and apply for jobs in the heritage field because there are very few vacancies and the field is quite competitive by nature. Sometimes it can be discouraging, but I’m sure that one day all this effort will be rewarded. 


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

More than skills and competences, I often see that companies ask for a couple of years’ work experience, which makes it more complicated for someone who’s just starting a career. 


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

I would say no, I strongly believe that I have attended two excellent universities that provided me with the essential theoretical and practical tools to be able to pursue a career in this field. However, I’m fully aware that once I started working, I gained other skills that complement what I learnt in my studies very well.


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

I think it all starts with education. If there were more incentives for schools to take their students travelling and learning about the history of the various places, if they stimulated their creativity and reading skills, perhaps young people would be more interested from an early age to delve into the wonderful world of heritage.

I also think that one way of attracting new people to work in the heritage field is to put an end to unpaid internships, provide good contractual conditions, encourage networking, creating more research scholarships, and so on. In one word, investing more in the field itself, thereby making it more attractive and less insecure. 


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

I see it as an ever-growing area with a lot of potential which will be valued and cherished more as time moves onwards. We live at a time where everything takes place too fast, everything is too disposable and superficial. This leads me to fully believe that a quest for identity can be already seen.

Our identity also involves a collective memory, history, the critical ability to look at history and identify its cycles, know-how, ancestral techniques that accompany us over time, buildings that tell us stories, grandiose monuments that speak of different eras, new approaches. I see the future of cultural heritage as a fundamental factor for the memory and identity of peoples, and one that is growing. 



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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