In the context of the 12th Annual Advisory Forum on the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, held from September 20th to 22nd in Łódź, Poland, the theme of “Cultural Routes: the social and creative dimensions of cultural heritage in a post-industrial context” was addressed. The event was organized by the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) and the European Institute of Cultural Routes, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
The 2023 Forum brought together participants from 40 EPA member states and representatives from 47 certified Cultural Routes, with the aim of exploring “the role of cultural heritage in the construction of a peaceful and democratic society” within post-industrial societies, linking it to contemporary challenges to heritage posed by conflicts, natural disasters, and climate change.
The Forum was opened by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Bjørn Berge, the Minister of Development and Technology of Poland, Waldemar Buda, and the Deputy Mayor of the city of Łódź, Małgorzata Moskwa-Wodnicka.
The annual Advisory Forum on the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe has become a crucial meeting point for experts, professionals, and government representatives dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of European cultural heritage. This year, Łódź, a city historically linked to industrialization and culture, was chosen as the event’s venue. This added particular significance to the discussions as the city itself represents a successful example of post-industrial transformation where cultural heritage has been used as a lever for social and economic development.
The central theme of the Forum, “Cultural Routes: the social and creative dimensions of cultural heritage in a post-industrial context,” sparked in-depth discussions on the importance of cultural heritage in the context of transitioning contemporary societies. Industrialization, while bringing about significant economic changes, has also left behind complex cultural legacies often characterized by social and economic challenges.
Experts explored how cultural heritage can become a driver of sustainable development, an element of social cohesion, and a vehicle for creative expression in post-industrial communities. The discussion centered on how Cultural Routes can be used to connect and valorize cultural heritage in innovative ways while promoting intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding.
One of the most relevant themes addressed during the Forum was “the role of cultural heritage in the construction of a peaceful and democratic society.” Discussions highlighted how the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage can contribute to mitigating conflicts, promoting cultural diversity, and strengthening social cohesion.
Furthermore, the Forum examined current challenges threatening cultural heritage, including armed conflicts, natural disasters, and climate change. Experts sought innovative solutions to protect and preserve heritage in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly evolving world.
The 12th Annual Advisory Forum on the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe provided a valuable opportunity to reflect on the importance of cultural heritage and Cultural Routes as tools for promoting dialogue, social cohesion, and sustainable development in post-industrial societies. The joint efforts between EPA member states and certified Cultural Routes promise to make a significant contribution to the preservation and valorization of Europe’s rich cultural heritage while addressing contemporary challenges that affect our shared heritage.