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  • INTO Europe: Learning and sharing workshop (5 November 2018)

    Posted on November 9, 2018

    European collaboration was focus of INTO’s first ever round table discussion in London on 5 November.  INTO members, volunteers and supporters joined colleagues from the UK heritage sector to learn and share.

    (See the full programme here.)

    Why Europe?

    Well, for obvious reasons really.   But also because 2018 is European Year of Cultural Heritage.  And INTO has been involved in various European projects over the course of 2018, including Innocastle, Secretary-General, Catherine Leonard, began by outlining.   It’s surprising, she said, for an Anglo-Saxon model widely replicated in the Commonwealth, to have so many European members.  But in fact Europe is by far INTO’s largest regional group.

    Helen Hamlyn Trust project

    Catherine also used the opportunity to announce INTO’s new capacity building programme, funded by the Helen Hamlyn Trust.  She explained that the grant will enable us to better support our members in the achievement of their objectives.  It will provide additional opportunities to collaborate and share practical expertise across the INTO network. Furthermore it will increase the profile of INTO’s work, transmitting our and our members’ messages about the importance of heritage.  Catherine then informed delegates that the project manager role we are recruiting had gone live on the National Trust Jobs site that very afternoon!

    National Trust of Georgia

    Another reason for the focus on Europe is our recent work with Georgia, Czech Republic and Romania.  In July, Donald Hankey and Kevin Hallaway (see above) went to Tbilisi to advise the National Trust of Georgia.  The NTG has its first property but it is subsiding and in need of considerable attention.   Kevin and Donald made a series of recommendations for the building’s conservation.  And the NTG, together with ICOMOS, is now taking these forward.

    Peter Nasmyth added that the NTG is considering how it could get involved in the Tusheti National Park (see below) due to a proposed major infrastructure project.

    Czech National Trust

    In August, a Czech National Trust volunteer was embedded with the National Trust at Fountains Abbey.  Another nice collaboration.   Irena Edwards enthusiastically shared with participants her experiences establishing the CNT and her tips for success.  These included:

    • Raise money from a wider base to have a secure base income
    • Leverage income and funds from projects
    • Get more volunteers, build our administrative capacity
    • Create a first class web site/IT capability and platform


    At our summer Trustees meeting, we agreed to hold our next INTO Conference in Antwerp, hosted by our Flemish members, Herita.  It was therefore a huge pleasure to welcome Margit Bal, General Director of Herita to the Roundtable meeting.  Margit explained Herita’s three main roles: to grow public support; to establish a B2B network and site management and development.

    Storytelling, outreach and engagement are a high priority and Herita’s public support function is now run as Open Monumenten.  Herita itself remains the brand for the network of 250 partners and for the nine sites that they manage.    A relatively new organisation within the INTO family, Herita has a lot in common with many of our members.   It all augurs well for our ICNT in Antwerp in 2021!

    EU Innocastle project

    Lastly, this year we have embarked on an EU funded project, called Innocastle.  Innocastle seeks to develop heritage friendly policies in four different European regions. Namely, Extremadura in Spain, Romania, the Dutch province of Gelderland and Bulskampveld in Belgium.  June Taboroff explained that INTO/NTEWNI is the knowledge partner in the project and everyone is benefiting from mutual learning.

    With Pro Patrimonio continuing to offer wonderful working holidays in Romania as part of our programme, INTO is therefore currently quite active in Europe.  So, if it’s not too cheesy an EU joke, one could even say that the stars were aligned for our event on 5 November …

    Learning and sharing

    The presentations and discussions revealed a lot of similarities and common challenges.  Perhaps the most fundamental was the sustainability of heritage organisations.  INTO Adviser Maggie Morgan suggested that the NTEWNI has learning to share on this, along the lines of the Future Parks Programme.   Have a look at the ‘Creating a Financial Model’ video which would apply to heritage trusts as well as parks.

    There was a discussion about the name ‘National Trust’.  Delegates were interested that it had been used in English for the Czech and Georgian organisations.  This certainly underlined the value of the National Trust family which INTO champions.  But it did seem that getting the local population behind the concept was not always as easy.   Margit was however able to share an inspirational guide with 30 ideas for participation in Heritage Days.

    Nino Strachey of the NTEWNI spoke about relevance and that almost every organisation was tying their work in to human emotions.   She mentioned the Places that make us Report which demonstrates scientifically how places we love make us genuinely happy.  And the event ended very happily with an informal reception.

    We hope to hold similar workshops in the future and will be polling our supporters on what topics they would like to cover.

    Further reading – presentations


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