2018 is the European year of Cultural heritage which was officially inaugurated at the European Culture Forum on 7 December 2017 in Milan. In 2018 there will be many events and initiatives to bring citizens closer to their cultural heritage and strengthen their sense of belonging to a common European space.
Why Cultural Heritage?
Cultural heritage has a universal value for us as individuals, communities and societies. It is important to preserve and pass on to future generations. You may think of heritage as being ‘from the past’ or static, but it actually evolves through our engagement with it. What is more, our heritage has a big role to play in building the future of Europe. That is one reason why we want to reach out to young people in particular during the European Year.
Cultural heritage comes in many shapes and forms.
- tangible – for example, buildings, monuments, artefacts, clothing, artwork, books, machines, historic towns, archaeological sites.
- intangible – practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – and the associated instruments, objects and cultural spaces – that people value. This includes language and oral traditions, performing arts, social practices and traditional craftsmanship.
- natural – landscapes, flora and fauna.
- digital – resources that were created in digital form (for example digital art or animation) or that have been digitalised as a way to preserve them (including text, images, video, records).
Cultural heritage at school
Linking school projects and activities carried out in the class to the European year of Cultural Heritage is a good way to help young people reflect on their experiences and interests and confront with their peers at local and European level. The European Council has published “Cultural heritage and cultural diversity lessons – A handbook for teacher” to provide an introduction to the themes related to the topic. The book contains 8 lessons on Cultural heritage and cultural diversity. Each lesson unit has a thematic focus and contains learning objectives, background information and activities for grades 3-6 and 6-9. After evaluating the level of the students, the teacher can choose a lesson that is grade appropriate. The lessons are designed for a forty minute class period, yet activities can be adapted or revised to be used over several class periods.