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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday November 17, 2023

Updated on Thursday July 4, 2024

portrait of Carlota Marijuan Rodriguez

Carlota Marijuan Rodriguez

Urban Planning Officer , Paris City Council

portrait of Sorina Neacsu

Sorina Neacsu

Executive Director and Vice-President & EHYA Programme coordinator at ESACH , Heritage for the Future Cultural Association

ESACH shares their position paper ‘Youth for the future of cultural heritage in Europe’

In September, the European Students’ Association for Cultural Heritage (ESACH) published the position paper ’Youth for the future of cultural heritage in Europe’. They tell us how the paper expresses the vision of youth for a sustainable future for cultural heritage.

Participants of the European Heritage Masterclass “Climate Heritage Digital Advocacy” post in a group of around 55 people for a photo
European Heritage Masterclass “Climate Heritage Digital Advocacy”
© Josef Rabara / Europa Nostra

About the paper

At ESACH, we are excited to share our new position paper which hit the scene this September, and is all about the power of youth in shaping the future of cultural heritage. Titled ‘Youth for the future of cultural heritage in Europe’, this position paper dives into how young professionals and students are preserving and promoting our cultural heritage in a world of climate change. It's like the encore to the 2022 European Year of Youth, capturing all the dreams and ideas the younger generation has for the cultural heritage scene.

‘Youth for the future of cultural heritage in Europe’ shines a light on the urgent challenges hurled at us by climate change, which sends shockwaves through cultural heritage sites, artefacts, and traditions. It's like a firm sign of the need for quick, decisive action to shield and preserve cultural heritage for the generations to come. This position paper is all about advocating for a game-changing, sustainable and all-embracing approach to managing our cultural heritage.

A crew of over 40 young heritage professionals and students made up the dynamic squad behind the scenes of the paper. There were both contributors and reviewers, who teamed up with 10 institutional partners. The Europeana Initiative was represented alongside Europa Nostra and The Future is Heritage.

A call to action

This position paper isn't just a document; it's a call to action. It's shouting about inclusivity, collaboration, intergenerational exchange, strengthening the sector and, of course, riding the wave of new technologies. The position paper further pairs these with five principles for that all-embracing approach to managing our cultural heritage:

  • Inclusion – heritage as a confluence;

  • Collaboration – heritage as a collective network;

  • Intergenerational exchange and dialogue – heritage as a bridge;

  • Strengthen the sector – heritage as a future profession;

  • New technologies – heritage as an expanding field.

One of the key components of the position paper is the invitation to sign a pledge, committing to the principles outlined within the document. By adopting this pledge, both individuals and organisations can demonstrate their commitment to working collaboratively towards a future that respects and mobilises the potential of cultural heritage.

Youth pledge for a sustainable and inclusive future for Europe - infographic inviting people to sign the pledge
Youth pledge for a sustainable and inclusive future for Europe. CC-BY-NC-ND
Medina Fazlic with Tetiana Golub’s support
Youth pledge for a sustainable and inclusive future for Europe - infographic inviting people to sign the pledge

The journey

The position paper is just a stop on a long road that began in April 2022, when Europa Nostra, its partner organisations (including ESACH) and young people working and studying in cultural heritage launched a wide consultation on ‘Youth for the Future of Cultural Heritage in Europe’ as a contribution to the European Year of Youth 2022. The consultation provided a much needed window into the position of young people in the sector and directly inspired the team to write the position paper. The results of the survey analysis are open to all in The ESACH Quarterly N°3.

The consultation gathered approximately 120 responses and aimed at empowering and raising the voice of Europe’s young generation. It was developed in collaboration with the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the European Heritage Tribune (EHT), The Future is Heritage, the Europeana Initiative’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, ICOMOS and the European Heritage Volunteers.

Get involved

We very much hope that you enjoy reading the position paper. To further disseminate the message and engage stakeholders, a comprehensive awareness campaign is being carried out alongside the position paper. Spin-off events and initiatives that started during the European Cultural Heritage Summit will be organised to further foster dialogue and encourage active participation from youth, cultural heritage organisations, and relevant advocators.

We encourage you to contact if you have any dissemination or spin-off events ideas around this work; and to be the first to hear about what is planned, we encourage students and young professionals to join ESACH.