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Call for Applications: 3rd Regional Workshop for Europe on Visitor Centres in UNESCO designated sites (Deadline: 31 May 2021)

UNESCO invites professionals from visitor/interpretation/information centres for World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks in Europe to apply to participate in the 3rd Regional Workshop on the role of Visitor Centres in UNESCO designated sites. The workshop, tentatively scheduled from 29 September to 2 October 2021 in Herculaneum (Italy), with an introductory webinar on 23 September 2021, will focus on the relationship between such centres and local communities within the context of site management strategies.

In 2018, a regional initiative on “The role of Visitor Centres in UNESCO Designated Sites” was launched by UNESCO, through its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, as an inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary activity to investigate how such centres can contribute to the broader management goals of World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks. The initiative included the organization of 2 workshops so far, held respectively in Palermo (Italy, 2018) and Bamberg (Germany, 2019), and the production of the related reports.

The definition of “Visitor Centre” within the present framework refers to any kind of organized service with front-desk activities, the main purpose of which is to welcome and orient visitors, facilitate the presentation, interpretation and/or visit to UNESCO designated sites. This concept includes a broad range of different structures, sometimes carrying different names such as “interpretation centre”, “information centre”, “house”, "World Heritage site centre”, among others.

In continuity with the previous two meetings and as a complement, the 3rd workshop will focus on community engagement and community-oriented services, as one of the three core work domains for such centres identified during previous activities. The workshop is organized by UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe together with the Herculaneum Archaeological Park, in collaboration with the Pompeii Archaeological Park, the Vesuvius National Park, the Herculaneum Conservation Project, the Herculaneum Virtual Archaeological Museum - MAV, and the Cooperativa Sociale Giancarlo Siani. The organization of the workshop is made possible thanks to the annual contribution of Italy to the UNESCO Regional Bureau.

Objectives

The course aims to advance knowledge on how Visitor Centres at UNESCO Designated Sites can work with and for local communities in order to achieve site management objectives and foster sustainable development at the local level. Within this framework, the meeting is also expected to:

  • develop participants’ awareness and capacities on the matter, inspiring follow-up action at the respective sites
  • provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange, networking and cooperation
  • produce advice and recommendations for a broader audience across relevant UNESCO networks
  • reinforce the alignment between site management objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals

Methodology and programme

The above-mentioned objectives will be achieved through a blend of facilitated knowledge exchange, group work and presentations, combined with site visits and meetings with local actors using the Herculaneum Archaeological Park and surrounding area as a real case study.

The programme is composed of

  • an introductory online session (23 September 2021)
  • an onsite face-to-face workshop (29 September – 2 October 2021 in Herculaneum, Italy)

The working language of the workshop is English.

Eligibility and selection criteria

The workshop is primarily aimed at professionals (managers or other relevant staff) from visitor/interpretation/information centres dedicated to World Heritage properties, Biosphere Reserves, and Global Geoparks in Europe.

A maximum of 25 applicants will be selected to participate, based on a combination of criteria including: eligibility of applicants, completeness of application, quality and relevance of the application file, balanced representation of different UNESCO designations and of cultural and natural sites, gender balance, and geographical distribution.

While the call for applications is open to the broader European region, priority in the selection of participants will be given to applicants working for UNESCO designated sites in countries under the geographical scope of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, namely: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey; plus Italy, as the Bureau’s host country.

Participation costs

Participation in the workshop is free of charge. Selected applicants will receive accommodation (board and lodging) in Herculaneum for the duration of the workshop.

Applicants may request support for their travel costs, which will be provided in the form of pre-paid tickets, contingent on the availability of funds. Priority in the provision of the travel support will be given to eligible applicants from the countries under the geographical scope of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe.

How to apply

Please fill out and submit the online application form by no later than 31 May 2021. In addition, applicants are recommended (not mandatory) to send a letter of support and an updated CV by the respective visitor centre or site managing authority to Ms. Zhi Ye (z.ye@unesco.org) by the above-mentioned deadline.

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