Cultural heritage is a significant force for 21st century Europe. Traditionally, understood in terms of tourism, it improves economic performance and contributes positively to the European GDP. It can be considered an innovative stimulus for growth and employment in a wide range of new sectors as well as traditional ones.
In the current realities of globalization, the migration crisis and the disengagement from democratic structures among the European population that addresses these issues remains a serious concern for the EU and its member states. The partnership behind this project believes that in this current situation, the commitment of cultural heritage combined with digital skills and competences can address these problems and lead to the sustainable growth of Europe, as well as of European culture and values. The management of cultural heritage is seen as a priority by recent European policies. It is considered a great value for European society from a cultural, environmental, social and economic point of view. The Council underlined, in its conclusions of May 21st 2014, that sustainable management of cultural heritage is a strategic choice for the 21st century, as it is considered a “strategic resource for a sustainable Europe”.
After the meeting in Namur, Belgium, in April 2015, the European Ministers concluded that cultural heritage is a key component of the European identity. Its transmission to future generations is a shared responsibility of all the interested parties, because it is “a unique, fragile, non-renewable and non-transferable resource, which contributes to the attraction and development of Europe and, crucially, to the creation of a peaceful, just and supportive society.” This is also reflected in the UN Agenda 2030 on sustainable development, which recognizes global citizenship, cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue as general principles of sustainable development. It recognizes that all cultures and civilizations can contribute, and are fundamental, to sustainable development. Culture is explicitly mentioned in several Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda and in particular in Objective 11 (City-Heritage), as well as in Objective 4 (Education) and in Objectives 8 and 12 (sustainable growth/consumption patterns ) in relation to tourism.
All of the above was confirmed once again by the adoption, by the Council, of a general approach on the November 2016 proposal for the creation, in 2018, of a European Year of Cultural Heritage: Celebrating the diversity and richness of the European Heritage. On February 15th 2017, the ambassadors of the Member States approved the provisional agreement reached on February 9th between the Council and the European Parliament, thus confirming the decision for the EYCH2018.
In accordance with the latest European policies, we believe that further integration is needed between HEIs across Europe to improve the quality and effectiveness of information technologies for applications in the areas of safeguarding, promotion and protection of Cultural Heritage.
From these premises comes the idea of the Safeguarding Intangible culturaL Values and HERitage – S.I.L.V.HER. project, Which finds its roots in the need to design a new training path that embraces and positively exploits all that comes from digital transformation, a phenomenon that is also strongly encouraged at national level and which increasingly provides for the introduction of ICT tools in all areas. Even the cultural sector and, more specifically, the safeguarding and promotion of cultural heritage, are not exempt from this advent.
The S.I.L.V.HER. project, therefore, proposes to develop a training course related to Cultural Heritage, but which also includes the digital tool, not only as a means of learning, but also and above all as a future means of developing a strategic sector and which will also support a process of recognition of its European identity. Precisely for this reason the need arises to implement this project on a transnational level.
The blended, or mixed, course will be divided into two types of activities: online training and transnational mobility as face-to-face training sessions.
This course will be divided into three modules:
– Management of cultural projects;
– Digital storytelling of intangible cultural heritage;
– Augmented and virtual reality in the cultural sector.
Following the publication of each module in the online platform of the project, which will be developed specifically for the provision of training, there will be a transnational mobility in which students from the three universities that will have developed the training course will participate (Italy, Portugal and Turkey).