Civic Heritage Forum in Toruń

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On March 5, 2024, we initiated Citizens’ Heritage Forum on tour. At the invitation of the Marshal’s Office of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship, the team of the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub presented projects realised by Europa Nostra and carried out a workshop for non-governmental organisations operating in the region.

The seminar entitled “Cultural heritage – support and promotion in European programs and projects” was attended by over fifty people representing cultural and heritage institutions and civic organisations operating in the field of broadly understood heritage in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. The seminar was opened by Magdalena Burdziej, Director of the Department of Foreign Cooperation of the Marshal’s Office.

During the seminar, Dr. Katarzyna Jagodzińska, Head of the Europa Nostra Heritage Hub in Kraków, presented the goals and activities of Europa Nostra and the Kraków Hub. The accent was put on the European Heritage Awards and participants were encouraged to prepare submission for the call which will open in September 2024. Also the 7 Most Endangered programme was discussed, to which sites that are at risk and require special attention from decision-makers and financing entities can be submitted. Then, Dr. Joanna Sanetra-Szeliga presented the European Heritage Hub – one of the largest heritage projects currently realised on a European scale, including the project Mapping the non-governmental heritage sector in Central and Eastern Europe, implemented as part of the European Heritage Hub by our reginal centre of Europa Nostra.

In the workshop part, we met with representatives of non-governmental organisations from the region within a series of meetings entitled “Civic Heritage Forum”. In a round table format, participants discussed the challenges that civic organisations operating in the field of heritage have to face, as well as the opportunities offered by working in the third sector.

Among the limitations, barriers and challenges mentioned, participants pointed to financial issues (including insufficient funds, required own contribution in grant competitions, lack of project continuity and stabilisation), problems related to organisation, administration and management (including limited human resources and time, excessive bureaucracy, leader burnout, lack of trust) and not always easy contacts with local authorities. During brainstorming on solutions that could help non-governmental organisations run their business, participants proposed improving systemic solutions, including legal ones, reducing bureaucracy, administrative and training support and the ability to apply for funds for current activities and fixed costs.

As part of the meetings of the Civic Heritage Forum series, we listen to the voices of non-governmental organisations operating in Central and Eastern Europe. We will use them to build recommendations for the heritage sector, which we will subsequently forward to the Europa Nostra Secretariat in The Hague. One of main tasks of Europa Nostra is to lobby for better solutions for heritage sector at European level.