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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday March 28, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Vassiliki Sakka

Vassiliki Sakka

History Teacher Trainer/School Consultant , Ministry of Education Greece

portrait of Georgia Evans

Georgia Evans

Senior Editorial Officer , Europeana Foundation

Professionals in Focus - Vassiliki Sakka

Europeana Network Association Members Councillors have diverse jobs and experience across the heritage sector, but are united by their passion for digital cultural heritage. In our ‘Professionals in Focus’ series, we speak to Councillors about their roles, working lives and plans for their time on the Members Council. Today, Vassiliki Sakka tells us about her passion for historical education. 

Photograph of Vassiliki Sakka
Vassiliki Sakka. Permission granted for Europeana reuse.
Katerina Brentanou

How did you enter your profession?

My profession is teaching, specifically history and language. I am strongly connected to immaterial and material culture, approaching the past and the present through language, literature, art, heritage, monuments and museums, artifacts and tradition, archives and music, storytelling and films. There are a lot of teachers in my family and I have loved teaching since I was a student. I have been a secondary education teacher, a teacher trainer and occasionally a post-secondary education lecturer. 

What are you currently working on? 

Currently I work as a member of the Directory Board of the Association for History Education in Greece. I have just been re-elected as president for my second term. At the moment, we are implementing two big projects, alongside various small scale ones. 

Firstly, we are working with selected schools in underprivileged areas in Athens, alongside the University of Patras (specifically the Department of History and Neaniko Plano Creative Group for Audiovisual Communication and Expression of Young People). We are exploring innovative history teaching through the creation of short films based on local history, heritage and oral testimonies. With this, we hope to build a bigger and more inclusive picture of history. This is a three step project, which includes online seminars for participating teachers; the production of supportive educational material; the creation of a website; workshops on filming for the pupils; and the production of short films on special topics. 

Our second project takes place on a European scale. We are cooperating with museums, civil society organisations and universities, using oral testimonies, storytelling and filming of historical sites to explore a special topic. This has just kicked off and the subject and partners are amazing and passionate! 

I also feel like mentioning a smaller project, for which we are preparing a publication on new and innovative approaches to ancient history teaching. We are deconstructing national myths and using a fresh approach to archaeology in schools - which includes graphic novels! - to approach special and controversial topics. 

What are some of your favourite elements of your role?

As part of my role, I coordinate and organise events, seminars, publications and projects. My favorite element of this is finding the right partners, ensuring that they share the vision and passion for a better historical and cultural education, and inspiring teachers to use the means and resources that an organisation such as Europeana offers. I also enjoy trying to implement the new materials in class!

What was your motivation for joining the Members Council? 

My previous experience as a board member of the Euroclio Association helped me to understand that international cooperation and new means of enhancing educational approaches are very important, and an asset to teachers who are struggling with strict descriptive curricula and centralised educational systems. The wealth of Europeana’s collections and projects must be disseminated to as many teachers as possible.  

What do you plan to do as a Members Councillor? 

I plan to cooperate with all colleagues and members to improve inclusion, innovation, multiperspective and alternative history, and cultural and heritage education in schools. I believe that this is strongly connected with cultivating historical consciousness, active citizenship and responsibility to young people - something that we desperately need at the moment, while populist and far right political parties seem to gain power in politics. Education is more important than ever in a digital environment.