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International network for Leveraging sUccessful Cultural heritage Innovations and Diplomacy, cApacity building and awaREness raising

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ILUCIDARE (International network for Leveraging sUccessful Cultural heritage Innovations and Diplomacy, cApacity building and awaREness raising)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

ILUCIDARE is a three-year project with a budget of almost 3 million euro to promote heritage as a resource for innovation and international cultural relations through a diversity of collaborative activities throughout the world.
Despite increasing recognition of how the economy and society could benefit from the potential of heritage, it is still underestimated in many cases. Various factors threaten heritage resources including geo-political, environmental, sanitary, economic, social and cultural factors.
A systemic collection of evidence and best practices demonstrating heritage’s contribution to international relations, innovation and spillovers in other sectors is lacking, as recalled in several EU policy documents (notably the 2014 Council Conclusions on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe). There is an increasing need to rethink how heritage organisations and experts, governmental structures, businesses and citizens can collaborate to collectively improve the safeguarding, management and valorisation of heritage resources while reinforcing mutual understanding.
In this context, ILUCIDARE aims to:
• Map and analyse existing evidence of heritage’s contribution to innovation and international cultural relations with a view to understand current gaps and barriers, and identify key success factors for replication in other territories though co-creation and participatory processes;
• Share knowledge through capacity building activities in 12 locations in Europe, the Western Balkans, the Middle East and Northern Africa region, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South America;
• Engaging with stakeholders and heritage practitioners, developing sustainable relations in an international network, nurtured by face-to-face initiatives, international awards and digital communication activities.
As part of the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage, ILUCIDARE strongly contributes to the overall objectives of the EU Strategy for international cultural relations as well as the EU actions in enhancing and focusing international cooperation in research and innovation.
ILUCIDARE’s first 18-months (December 2018 – May 2020) focused on setting-up the foundations of its network.
ILUCIDARE carried out an extensive pan-European mapping and analysis of ca. 150 best practices deploying heritage as a resource for innovation or international cultural relations from government-led initiatives to entrepreneurial ventures, and EU-funded projects. Preliminary findings have been enriched and validated through extensive stakeholder consultations including two sets of Focus Groups and Co-Creation Ateliers with regional and national experts in Poland and Belgium. The results of the evidence-based research informed the analysis of the regulatory, economic and technical barriers for heritage-led development in Europe.
The ILUCIDARE Coaching Sessions support knowledge sharing and co-creation to increase impact of and advance understanding on heritage-led innovations and international relations. During 12 Coaching Sessions, ILUCIDARE co-developed the capacity building agendas according to local needs in cooperation with local experts and stakeholders. These interactions resulted in training modules for heritage-led innovation and international relations and capacity building implementation guidelines. The guidelines were tested during the first capacity building activity in Prizren, Kosovo focused on creating a heritage-led creative hub.
In parallel, ILUCIDARE has been developing its international community. The project set up dedicated online communication channels (website and social media accounts) complemented by a promotional video, international events and awards to develop networking opportunities. Notably, in November 2019 the first ILUCIDARE Playground created a unique space for unconventional encounters sparking discussion, networking, and international exchanges, attracting more than 200 international participants in Brussels. Through a co-developed afternoon session, the Playground also fostered synergies with other H2020 funded projects working on similar topics (CLIC, ECHOES, ROCK and RURITAGE projects). In 2019, ILUCIDARE also launched the first ILUCIDARE Special Prizes within the prestigious European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2020, which collected more than 70 applications Europe’s success stories.
Today the ILUCIDARE community consists of ca. 100 core stakeholders who have been directly involved in the project activities and more than 400 European and non-European organisations working in research, creative and business sectors, innovation, international cooperation, preservation and management of heritage connected on ILUCIDARE social media.
The Coaching Sessions and the first capacity building in Kosovo pioneered participatory and co-creation methods adapted to the heritage sector. They contribute to a mentality shift towards an increased appreciation of heritage potential for territorial development through the activation of local craftsmanship, entrepreneurial and economic activities, and educational pathways.
The extensive evidence-based and participatory research led to important milestones, remarkably the first working definition of heritage-led innovation and heritage-led diplomacy. The definitions attempt to capture the diverse roles heritage can play in the innovation and diplomatic realms. Notably, ILUCIDARE goes beyond the focus on R&D investment and considers other forms of innovation (social, environmental and legal). The project also acknowledges the role of non-state actors in promoting international cooperation, assimilating diplomacy to international cultural relations. The definitions led to better communication of the pivotal role played by heritage in these areas, further improved through a graphical visual translation for wider dissemination (the ILUCIDARE postcards).
In the next months, ILUCIDARE will keep engaging and enlarging the community capitalizing on the work done on user-needs and preferences to understand how the ILUCIDARE network could support stakeholders in their activities and fulfil networking and development needs. The project will organize two Playgrounds, one international challenge on the potential of heritage-led innovation tackling societal issues, and the second ILUCIDARE Special Prizes within the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards 2021.
ILUCIDARE will also continue its knowledge sharing activities through 11 capacity building activities in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Egypt, Iraqi Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Ecuador, and two summer schools in Poland and Belgium as well as the development of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
ILUCIDARE’s final outputs will make the project’s experience accessible and transferable at local, regional, EU and international levels. This will include roadmaps to implement the capacity building modules and a collection of practical tools to replicate efficient heritage-led innovation and international cultural relations methods; policy recommendations and advocacy strategies.
ILUCIDARE’s communication and dissemination efforts are expected to increase awareness on heritage’s potential for sustainable development, leading to more consideration in policy making and funding opportunities within the public and the private sectors.