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Redefining the future of cultural heritage, through a disruptive model of sustainability

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ReInHerit (Redefining the future of cultural heritage, through a disruptive model of sustainability)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2022-02-28

• What is the problem/issue being addressed?
The heritage sector is currently undergoing structural transformations; from being expert-driven to the recognition of multiple forms of knowledge and epistemologies due to the rapidly changing dynamics and expectations of contemporary societies. European and international treaties, have placed community work and public engagement, leading to inclusive heritage work, at the centre of cultural policies. This democratized and inclusive approach to heritage requires a paradigm shift of heritage management from top-down and methodologies that support this kind of practice (i.e. co-curation and stakeholding) and make it relevant to society. This entails the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders that will engage in constant dialogue about the value of heritage as part of the decision-making.At the same time the expansion of the concept of heritage led to the inclusion of different kinds of professional expertise (including technological and managerial); this has increased the demand for the professionalization of the field. In this context, the Cultural Heritage organizations face many interlinked challenges and opportunities individually, which make the development of a model of sustainable heritage management necessary.

• Why is it important for society?
As emphasized by European and international treaties and policies, the cultural heritage sector has a crucial role to play in cultural sustainability, now considered to be the 4th pillar of sustainable development. This connection aids cultural heritage organizations in finding their place in the global agenda and helps them demonstrate their relevance and impact. Aligned with rapid societal changes, cultural heritage has been reconceptualized as a resource and process that can make a positive contribution to forming inclusive, peaceful and sustainable societies. ReInHerit proposes a cultural heritage digital ecosystem that, in responding to the European Commission’s key priorities (an economy that works for people; a Europe fit for the digital age; protecting our European way of life; a stronger Europe in the world; a new push for European democracy) and in adopting the framework of the UNESCO 2030 Culture Indicators and of the ICOM-OECD guidelines, will release the potential of European heritage for cultural sustainability. It will also be an innovative stimulant for growth and employment blending a wide range of tradition and new industries and for an inclusive sustainable development as it will foster social cohesion by bringing together different communities through active participation and by developing new ways of engaging with heritage.

• What are the overall objectives?
The overall objective of ReInHerit is to create a model of sustainable heritage management, which will foster a digital dynamic European network of heritage stakeholders. This model will be based on a digital cultural heritage ecosystem based on a Digital Hub in which all the stakeholders (cultural heritage professionals, policy makers, and communities) will be provided with the tools and resources to communicate, experiment, innovate and disseminate European cultural heritage. The proposed work plan includes a variety of key activities that will enable the real time collaboration of museums and cultural heritage sites.
Reflecting the current needs and prospects of the cultural heritage sector, the ReInherit consortium is multidisciplinary and includes experts from academic institutions, research centres, museums and heritage sites, and non-governmental organizations across Europe. Since 1 March 2021 and throughout Reporting Period 1, the ReInHerit project has been actively working towards its objectives with the overall scope to create a model of sustainable heritage management based on a dynamic European network of heritage stakeholders fostered by a digital ecosystem (ReInHerit Digital Hub). The project has been implemented successfully during the Reporting Period 1 as the Consortium has achieved all its milestones per the Grant Agreement and has submitted 19 deliverables. The whole Consortium has been dynamically and enthusiastically involved in the implementation since the first day of the project. The formation of an effective collaboration between the consortium partners – which was characterized by openness, symbiosis and dialogue - was the essential first step towards the development of the digital cultural heritage ecosystem (ReInHerit Digital Hub). ReInHerit’s focus on collaboration between cultural heritage stakeholders in the context of digital innovation act as an experiment in itself and lays the foundation for a sustainable cultural heritage management ecosystem.

In the first three months of the project, 7 deliverables were submitted by WP1 Project Management that ensured the efficient administrative, operational and financial management of the project throughout its life-cycle during RP1. This modus operandi has strengthened and supported the consortium to achieve its objectives, complete its milestones and submit the deliverables on time, at a high level of quality and within the allocated budget. WP2 Needs Analysis & Guidelines submitted 3 deliverables. During RP1, special emphasis was given to WP2 as it set a solid foundation for the implementation of ReInHerit project since it defined the current state-of-the-art in the cultural heritage management and mapped the emerging trends in cultural heritage management through an extensive literature review, qualitative and quantitative data collection. The submitted deliverables of WP2 have already provided valuable information for developing the next stages of the project in a way that will be relevant to the current needs of the sector. Through WP7 Dissemination, Communication & Exploitation, the Consortium submitted 4 deliverables, all focusing on the dissemination and communication activities: these deliverables reported ways in which ReInHerit has increased or plans to increase its initial public awareness, created, and will continue to do so, relevant interest and commitment among its key stakeholders, has attracted the attention and commitment of various audiences during RP1, and how it has set out to promote in various ways the project’s impact. In the first 3 months of the project, 4 deliverables were submitted by WP8 Ethics Requirements that ensured that the project adhered to the ethical requirements of the project.
The ReInHerit project actively contributes to the existing dynamic and intensive research framework achieving the impact envisaged be the call ‘’Culture beyond border’’ under the Work Programme Europe in a changing world – inclusive, Innovative and reflective Societies. The implementation of the project adds new knowledge and training models in the context of globalization and digitalization in the sector. Its vision is to achieve an alternative policy option for the cultural heritage sector proposing a model of sustainable cultural heritage management having digital cultural partnerships at its core. ReInHerit also aims to highlight the existing or promising social and cultural strengths of Europe, as well as reinforce the social, cultural and economic benefits of the fourth industrial revolution. The development of the Digital Hub will act as a powerhouse for social, cultural and technological innovation. aims to develop synergies, strategies and tools to overcome.