November 14, 2019

Documenting the activities through research – The second meeting of the EU Heritage partners in Malta

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Nowadays, one of the main concerns of cultural organizations and educational institutions across EU is how to apply the international experience at local level of cities and villages throughout Europe.

Therefore, the relevance of research for documenting the activities of the community structure takes a special significance. The EU Heritage partners from the consortium have been approaching cultural heritage by applying theory and research results in practice, keeping this method as a priority in all their efforts.

The second project meeting of the partners was hosted by the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture at the University of Malta, at the end of September 2019.

Following recent developments in European trends regarding the management of cultural resources at local and regional level, the first research findings indicate that the cultural heritage professionals firmly state the importance of digital and innovative tools in order to manage the heritage effectively and to generate new ways of interaction within their professional environment and with different communities.

Also, professionals believe that the links between management and cultural heritage help researchers and users having a personal and a professional understanding of the main needs and priorities of the sector.

By involving the professionals – cultural operators, cultural managers, local and regional authorities – into research, the results can be a resource for the training programs for both current and future professionals.

The project consortium consists of the European Network ENCATC; the innovative Italian catalyst Fondazione Fitzcarraldo; the Alden Biesen Association; the Italian Chamber of Commerce, Spain; the Institute for Applied Technology and Media Culture at the University of Applied Sciences Bremen M2C; the National Institute for Cultural Research and Training, Bucharest; the cultural organization La Cultora, Madrid; the Hellenic Open University of Patras and the Institute for Tourism, Travel and Culture at the University of Malta.

So far, this collaboration has proved to be a model of good practice reagarding the way partners connect the local dimension with the European one, approaching different realities, by identifying common grounds and sharing experiences. The main goal of these efforts is the research on the capabilities of both partner countries and European structures.

The training component of the project is based on the identification of the sector’s needs, the demands of the labor market, the profiles related to them and the expectations of the training and educational services providers (VET).

In addition, the research offers a review of the cultural and heritage management sectors both nationally and internationally in the European context.

The next stage of the project will provide specific training programs that will strengthen the positive and effective aspects of cultural heritage throughout Europe.

A brief presentation of the main results of the research on the competences and training programs for cultural heritage managers

In the last months, EU Heritage partners carried out a research to identify the skills and the needs of the cultural heritage sector and other related industries, to develop a skills profile for cultural heritage managers and for other professionals working in the promotion, valorisation, exploitation, mediation and interpretation of heritage.

The research was carried out between February and September 2019 and it was focused on three main activities: identification of training programs and activites within the cultural heritage sector, quantitative research (survey) and qualitative research (interviews with experts and decision makers).

In this article, we will provide some of the main results of this research and the final research report will be published very soon.

Within the documentation stage, 384 heritage training programs and activities were identified in 28 countries where EU Heritage partners have found available information. According to this documentation, educational institutions (82%) – universities, colleges, etc. – are the most common types of institutions that offer training programs dedicated to cultural heritage. Organizations that provide training based on partnership can be found in only 7% of the cases. In general, partnerships are established between higher education institutions and public or private organizations, international institutes or NGOs. Regarding the type of organizations that provide training, over 70% of them belong to the public sector, while 30% are private organizations. The target groups of the training providers include students and professionals, but the courses are mainly organized for students (in 68% of the cases).

About half of the training programs (49%) are dedicated to the management of the areas, 20% of the programs can be included in the cross-sectoral group (art studies, contemporary art practices, tourist guide certification, research and exploitation of cultural heritage), while 17% concerns the communication and media subject. The remaining 14% refer to innovation. Training providers offer courses that develop management skills (31%), cross-sectoral competences (26%), innovation and digital skills (16%), communication and media skills (14%) or skills in other sectors (13%).

Following the documentation stage, an online survey was conducted in July 2019 and 271 questionnaires were collected. The analysis of these answers shows that, according to cultural heritage professionals, the most relevant skills shall be:

  • Communication skills (96%);
  • Problem solving skills (94%);
  • Flexibility and adjustment (91%);
  • Creativity and conceptual ability (89%).

Regarding promotion of cultural heritage, the respondents stated that they would like to improve the information and comunity involvement skills (76%), the network building skills (72%), the marketing skills (66%) and the social media skills (63%).

Regarding enhancing of the heritage, 76% of the respondents would like to improve the community involvement skills and the educational processes involving people of various ages and with various abilities, while 64% are interested in further developing their fundraising or presentation skills (61%).

When it comes to heritage exploitation, 78% of the respondents would like to improve information and knowledge about innovation; 76% – community and curatorial skills; 66% – management skills; 58% – financing skills.

Finally, regarding mediation and interpretation, 71% of the respondents would like to further develop digital skills; 69% – advocacy and decision-making skills; 57% – ownership of heritage sites skills.

Regarding the main obstacles for the respondents who did not participate in a training program, the most mentioned ones are: lack of time, lack of details about courses and training programs, lack of money or the fact that they did not know where to find information for developing these skills.

Only 12% of the respondents mentioned that they are not interested in attending to any training program.

This is only a small part of the EU Heritage research results.

Until the final research report will be published, we invite you to follow the website and the Facebook page of this project:


Informing action through research at the second partners’ meeting in Malta, 02.10.2019

Main findings of our research on the skills profile and training programmes, October 31, 2019