Our Young Member Roundtables
At Europa Nostra, supporting young people has always been a priority, demonstrated by events like the 2018 “The Future is Heritage” Summit, the 2019 Capacity Building Days, and initiatives like free membership for 18-33 year olds, and newly launched European Heritage Youth Ambassadors Programme.
In the UK, Europa Nostra Trustees have been working on a series of initiatives to support young people to establish and build a career in the field of cultural heritage through advice, support and networking opportunities. Europa Nostra UK Trustee Jamie Davies began organising a series of mentoring opportunities which connected European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award winners with young members in the UK. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this was not able to proceed as planned.
During our Forum with young members in the UK we asked members to give their thoughts about what they were seeking from their membership. The attendees expressed that they joined as a way to network with a broader audience than their studies or current careers provided. They wanted to connect with other cultural heritage professionals across Europe and the World, and be provided the opportunity to network in an informal and accessible setting. Following this valuable discussion, Grace Connelly (Europa Nostra UK Support Officer) and Jamie Davies began a series on monthly ‘roundtables’, led by Europa Nostra Member Organisations in the UK. These online, free and informal events were intended to provide a platform for young people to converse and network with key heritage figures and other like-minded young people across Europe.
Since September 2020, the following virtual roundtables have been held:
Weald and Downland Living Museum, Lucy Hockley - Open-air Museums & the Impact of COVID-19
Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Matthew Slocombe - Old House Project & the SPAB Conservation Approach
New Lanark Heritage Trust, Jane Masters - Partnerships & World Heritage Management
Wessex archaeology, Dan Atkinson - Maritime Archaeology & Wellbeing
To read reviews of some of the events, please check out our blog or click on the titles above.
Each roundtable began with a brief presentation from the host, followed by a discussion about the topic of that individual roundtable, which has included Climate Change, the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector and the importance of developing partnerships. Finally, we would conclude each session with a careers discussion, where the speaker would provide advice to young members about the pathways to different careers, the value of networking and top interview tips.
Receiving career advice from an employer within the sector was incredibly useful and we hoped this would provide the audience members with some inspiration to reach out and to not be afraid to go for their career goals. As Justin Albert expressed in our first session, " Get out there and volunteer, join in and apply for those jobs and continue to challenge perspectives on all fronts. Be brave and go for it!"
One piece of advice which repeatedly arose was that employers are not seeking a singular path of experience or learning. The heritage sector is incredibly broad, and often experience within different fields is a positive quality for employers.
"What I enjoyed most was the openness from the speakers about their experiences"
These sessions have discussed an incredibly broad range of topics and areas within the sector, demonstrating how varied a career within the cultural heritage sector can be, and providing young people with knowledge of the types of careers available. The organisations who led a session work with a variety of skill sets and both regionally and internationally. One member wrote that they most enjoyed getting the "chance to hear from other areas of the heritage sector".
In total, we have had 213 registrations to our roundtables and have developed a great network of inspirational young people across Europe who are interested in or already working within the sector.
We are incredibly grateful to all of the individuals and organisations who hosted the sessions and thank them for sharing their vast knowledge with us and for providing valuable advice and inspiration to our young members. We also would like to thank all the young members for attending and leading some brilliant discussions.
If you would like to donate to support the Europa Nostra UK Youth Initiatives, you can do so by visiting our 'Donate' Page.
We hope to continue the sessions, with our next session on Wednesday 26 May 2021 with UNESCO UK Director James Bridge. Register Now!