Interpret Europe conference: Heritage and identity

Hungarian flag
Friday, 23 March, 2018 to Monday, 26 March, 2018
Flag of the European Year of Cultural Heritage held by four men

Interpret Europe celebrated its four-day conference on heritage and identity with four keynote speeches, 75 workshops and presentations, 11 study visits and tours to Vienna and Budapest, plus a large number of scenic and musical performances.

When Commissioner Tibor Navracsics opened the conference at Jurisics Castle, in Kőszeg, he welcomed delegates from 40 countries, representing all five continents. He confirmed that “Interpret Europe can have a big impact how people can interact with cultural heritage”.

Instead of presenting a specific conference logo, Interpret Europe agreed to meet this year under the logo of the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) and gifted the Commissioner with the first EYCH flag.


Who are we and where do we belong?

The question of identity is key to the way we feel about Europe in all its diversity and our relationship with single nation-states, regions and local communities. The conference theme ‘Heritage and Identity’ was subsequently reviewed and challenged from different perspectives. 

Kenan Malik, columnist for The Observer and The New York Times, explained that identities are diverse and fluid and so, interpreting heritage is a critical process. Ferenc Miszlivetz, from Hungary, introduced the Austrian-Hungarian border area as a microcosm of diverse identities, while Constanze Itzel, from the House of European History in Brussels, discussed differences between identity and memory.

Finally, Laurajane Smith from the Australian National University, underlined the necessity to encourage people to search for their own identities. Attendees then joined workshops and presentations exploring the theme from various standpoints in seven parallel strands, from ‘Humanist values’ to ‘Nature and I’.

The conference advanced thinking and sparked intense debate on the subjects of the EYCH, and Interpret Europe expressed its thanks to all partners, especially to the Hungarian Association of Cultural Heritage Managers (KÖME) for organising the conference, the Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg (iASK), for providing their facilities and the City of Kőszeg for involving the lively, local heritage community, who created a thoroughly warm and welcoming atmosphere.


Links and contact information

Organiser: Interpret Europe in collaboration with KÖME – Hungarian Association of Cultural Heritage Managers (organisation partner) and National parks Austria

Visit the website, where the Commissioner’s opening address and all four keynote speeches, as well as the conference proceedings, including 385 pages of abstracts and full papers, can be found.

Photo: Gergely Timan