A nuanced view on heritage management

Hello everyone, my name is Karla and I have been given a wonderful opportunity to volunteer in my home country of Croatia. As a psychologist, I wanted to broaden my horizons by learning more about the topic of heritage management. This topic is of great importance to Croatia, a country so rich in cultural heritage. The Interreg project I am volunteering for is called ForHeritage: Excellence in heritage management in central Europe. It involves a transnational cooperation, as four countries are involved: Croatia, Poland, Slovenia and Italy.

The central European region is abundant in damaged, neglected or abandoned historical buildings, which can effectively be repurposed with adequate management. Therefore, the goal of the project is to address some of the problems in heritage management, such as the lack of public funding and strategic planning by using an integrated approach. IRMO, my host organization, is working closely with the City of Rijeka in order to transform the Rikard Benčić factory complex in Rijeka.

I have been volunteering for different activities so far, all of which helped me to better understand the structure of such a wide-reaching project. I particularly enjoyed one activity, which required conducting an interview with an expert on participatory governance. Participatory governance is a term that describes active involvement of all stakeholders in a given process.

What really opened my mind about this topic is the fact that stakeholders in heritage management are not only institutions, investors, or consultants, but also potential tourists and local people living near the site. Moreover, excellence in heritage management can only be achieved through considerate communication and cooperation between these parties, which also resonates with the core values of all Interreg programs. Therefore, I would like to finish with a quote that captures my impression of the project so far:

“Coming together is a beginning;

keeping together is progress;

working together is success.”

- Henry Ford

Karla Jelincic, Interreg Project Partner at the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)

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