Forget Heritage Conference in Ljubljana

These old houses need new stories – How to manage cultural heritage sites successfully?

On 21 March 2017 the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region with its Regional Creative Economy Centre hosted the international Forget Heritage  Conference on Best Practices in City Museum Ljubljana.

The aim of the conference was to promote (re)use of historical sites for new community contents, to present up to date examples of successful management of cultural heritage sites and to encourage integration of different communities - from local to a variety of creative and life-style communities for new economic practices - with an emphasis on the fields of cultural and creative industries.  The conference was aimed primarily to owners and operators of cultural heritage sites as well as decision and policy makers in this field. Cases of management of historical sites from nine European cities were presented – from Ljubljana (SI), Genoa and Milan (IT), Nuremberg (DE), Warsaw and Bydgoszcz (PL), Rijeka (HR), Ustí nad Labem (CZ) and Pécs (HU). They would serve as a basis for the development of the Management Model of historical sites.

The keynote speaker of the conference was Tiva Montalbano, Director of Heritage Strategy at The Prince's Regeneration Trust, United Kingdom. In her introductory lecture Making the Past Sustainable for the Future: Examples of Heritage-led Regeneration (Successes and Failures) in the UK, she presented a number of practical experiences in the management policies of the cultural heritage sites; she also spoke on funding, grants and community engagement. The lecture was organized in collaboration with the British Council Slovenia.

The lecture was followed by presentation of nine Best Practices from seven Central European countries, which highlighted the international perspective on the use and revitalisation of the historical sites.

Later on the Transferable and Sustainable Elements of Moder Cultural Heritage Management were presented by Maria Trunk, an independent specialised journalist in the area of urban transformation with focus on the cutting sides of art, space and the public sphere(s). Her lecture was based on the analysis of good practices in the management of historical sites with diverse forms of Public Private Cooperations (PPC) in seven CE countries focused on practices with cultural and creative contributors. Each of them intended the re-use of cultural heritage such as former factories, hospitals, schools and barracks that once have marked history and identity of European cities. On one hand they have been successful due to their uniqueness in history, location and character of the buildings, but on the other side there were transferable elements that could enhance the hidden potential of cultural heritage sites in the area of urban development in general.

The conference concluded with a round table dedicated to a discussion on (1) creative renewal and/or re-use of buildings of cultural heritage - both in terms of infrastructure and programme, (2) the role and involvement of cultural heritage sites in the local environment and community, (3) how to attract new audiences in the areas of cultural heritage and (4) to various management models of historical sites with an emphasis on sustainable and long term impact.