25 June 2024

This year’s edition of the Educational seminar for OWHC CEER cities was held in Krakow, Poland.

Kraków, Poland

Intangible heritage is our special daily duty! This was the message of an international educational seminar held in Krakow on June 17-21, which brought together groups of children from Budapest, Dubrovnik, Kutná Hora, Banská Štiavnica, Vienna and Krakow.

The seminar was organized as part of a project that Krakow has been implementing together with the cities of the OWHC Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Europe since last year. The first educational meeting in 2023 was hosted by the Slovak city of Banska Štiavnica. The international exchanges serve not only to broaden children’s knowledge of the history and culture of Central and Eastern European cities, but also to open them to other traditions. The seminars contribute to the popularization of the idea of World Heritage. They provide an opportunity to test innovative methods of working with children and to develop the creativity of the youngest in the context of historical education. Most importantly, they are an opportunity – often the only one – to meet colleagues from other countries and to develop face-to-face communication skills. While recent years have shown that virtual meetings can also enable effective collaboration and learning, they have left no doubt about the inestimable value of children’s face-to-face contacts.

During a visit to a specific World Heritage city, the children not only learn about its monuments and history, but also expand their knowledge of European regions and heritage management issues through educational games prepared by the schools. An obligatory highlight of the program is a short presentation by the project’s expert advisor, Dr. Katalin Kiss from Budapest, on heritage issues. The main theme of the Krakow meeting was Intangible Heritage. The program, conducted in English, is an excellent exercise for the children to communicate in this language and an opportunity to make contacts with their peers.

The message of the seminar is to show that heritageis with us every day. We are surrounded by historical, commemorative objects and we cultivate certain customs or rituals. Sometimes they are important to us – like family heirlooms, or favorite dishes made from grandma’s recipes, or gatherings with loved ones. Sometimes they are important to our city, country, or nation because they define its identity. The diversity we want to celebrate is precisely the meeting of different, unique traditions that we are responsible for cultivating.

The project was funded by the OWHC Regional Secretariat for Eastern and Central Europe, based in Warsaw, and the City of Krakow. It was organized by the Department of Foreign Cooperation of the Mayor’s Office in Krakow.