Ukrainian Participants Reflect on the Fortress of Culture Program: "We've Gained Insight into an Excellent Example of Cultural Heritage Management"


The seven-day educational program "Transforming a Community through Sustainable Management of Cultural Heritage," designed and conducted by the Fortress of Culture Šibenik with the support of the ERSTE Foundation, was successfully completed at the St. John Fortress campus in Šibenik. Through interactive lectures, workshops, and site visits, 16 Ukrainian experts from various prominent cultural institutions received comprehensive insights into sustainable heritage management and revitalization, EU project implementation, networking, and collaboration, all exemplified by the Fortress of Culture.

"We’ve completed a week of intensive work and experience exchange in the field of sustainable cultural heritage management. The Fortress of Culture is recognized at the European level as a best-practice example. During this time, we transformed our knowledge, skills, and experience into an educational program aimed at empowering our colleagues in the Ukrainian cultural sector to better handle the challenges they face regarding heritage restoration and reuse. Judging by our intense discussions, numerous questions answered, and quality debates, I believe we have provided a solid insight into our heritage management model," said Gorana Barišić Bačelić, Director of the Fortress of Culture Šibenik, at the program’s conclusion.

The expert team from the Fortress of Culture Šibenik designed the program to inspire through best practices and provide strategic insights, fostering collaborative and creative thinking among participants.

"I think Šibenik and the Fortress of Culture is a significant example of cultural heritage management from which we can learn a lot. Here, we have a fantastic group of sixteen representatives from Ukraine’s most important and stable institutions, as well as independent curators, arts managers, and architects. Through this program, we all learn from each other, and we are very grateful to our partners from the Fortress of Culture for allowing us to delve deeper into various aspects of their work. It’s fascinating how they’ve transformed abandoned and ruined sites into attractions that have genuinely transformed the community and had a significant impact on the city as a whole. This pilot project initiative is just the first step and the beginning of an exciting learning program from our Croatian colleagues," emphasized Yana Barinova, project manager for European policies and Ukrainian affairs at the ERSTE Foundation.

The program included representatives from prominent Ukrainian institutions such as the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the National Conservation Institute "Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra," Lviv Polytechnic National University, the Historical and Cultural Reserve "Mezhybizh," and the National Academy for Culture, Arts, and Management in Kyiv.

"I applied to this program to gain new knowledge about how to approach national heritage, specifically how the European community should handle national and cultural heritage. Through this program, we’ve gained insight into an excellent example of cultural heritage management, and I hope that after the war in Ukraine, my group and I will be able to utilize all the new knowledge to develop the future of our entire community," shared Anna Yanenko from the National Conservation Institute Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.

The majority of the program took place at the St. John Fortress campus, with participants also visiting St. Michael's Fortress, Barone Fortress, and the Coral Center Zlarin.

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