Interpret Europe Training Days | 7-11 October 2022  | #ietrainingdays22

Three renowned speakers will offer food for thought in the morning
to get us inspired for the day!

8 October
Interpretation of Tortosa
by Òscar Cid Favà

9 October
Interpretation in tourism as a force of good
by Viola Lewis

10 October
Interpretation in the ‘Age of Participation’
by Graham Black

Keynote speakers

Òscar Cid Favà (freelance interpreter, ES) holds a master's degree and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Barcelona and a diploma in advanced studies (DEA) in environmental education from the University of Girona.

He is a pioneer of environmental education in protected areas in Spain, the founder and director of the Camp d'Aprenentatge del Delta de l'Ebre (1982-2012) and a professor at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili-Tarragona (2004-09).
He has been president of the Association of Professionals of Camps d'Aprenentatge (APCA) (2002-06) and president of the Association for the Interpretation of Heritage (AIP) (2013-16).

Oscar’s professional experience has been developed in the field of environmental education and heritage interpretation.
He has given numerous talks at conferences and training courses at Catalan, Spanish and international levels and has published numerous articles in magazines and various chapters of books on these topics.
Oscar is the author of various projects for the interpretation of the heritage of the Terres de l'Ebre and numerous didactic materials related to the natural and cultural heritage that form part of the educational resources of the Camp d'Aprenentatge del delta de l'Ebre.

He is now retired but acts as an advisor to the Communication and Education Commission (CEC) of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Interpretation of Tortosa

Tortosa is a 2000-year-old city that preserves many interesting remains and lots of evidence of the different periods in its history. Throughout the ages, its location, at the crossing point of delta of the river Ebro with the Roman Via Augusta, conditionedthe evolution of the city and the structure of a material and non-material diversity of heritage.

The city developed on the banks of the river Ebro which has played three crucial roles throughout history: the river as a border; the river as a means of communication; the river as a source of life and survival. As a result of this triple dimension, Tortosa's heritage presents a related defensive heritage, a rich civil architectural heritage and a religious heritage too.

Currently, tourism is starting to develop in the city and various tourist companies offer lots of guided-tours. The Festa del Renaixement, which is celebrated every year in July, represents the most successful festival event in the city and has moved some processes in the community.  

The paper will try to identify the most interesting heritage sites and opportunities to communicate the heritage values of the city and contribute some ideas for an analysis of the potential for interpretation development of the city's heritage.

Over 20 years ago Viola Lewis (WFTGA, UK) became a tourist guide for Scotland out of a desire to share her adopted country with likeminded people. Having worked for European Commission Programmes she had gained a strong capacity-building ethos and quickly got involved in shaping the training for tourist guides with her own professional body, the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) as well as the European Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) and the World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (WFTGA). Working as a trainer – and tourist guide - in the cruise industry she saw the realities of mass tourism. When overtourism started arriving in Scotland she became a firm champion for sustainable tourism, community involvement and Tourism for All. Over the years her passion for sharing experiences and developing potential has grown. She is immensely proud and humbled to be Head of the WFTGA Training Division at a time of dramatic changes in tourism and in the role of tourist guides. 

Interpretation in tourism as a force of good

Throughout the pandemic a loud chorus sang the praises of sustainable tourism development and promised to create ‘a better normal’ for the tourism industry and our planet. According to the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism ‘… direct and personal access to the discovery and enjoyment of the planet’s resources constitutes a right equally open to all the world’s inhabitants.’  Rights come with responsibilities. How can these be communicated? Who is communicating them? As per definition, tourist guides are ‘interpreting the cultural and natural heritage of an area’. Are we using these skills, this art, to its full potential? Are we ready for the pressing challenges?
This talk will look at current trends in tourism, will examine how true we are to our words of making tourism a force for good and what roles and responsibilities we have – all from the viewpoint of tourist guides working on the ‘coalface’ of tourism. 

Graham Black (Nottingham Trent University, UK) is Emeritus Professor of Museum Development at Nottingham Trent University. He has been working in and with museums for over 40 years. He has combined work as a consultant in heritage interpretation with an academic role since 1991.  

Museum developments in which he has acted as Interpretation Consultant have twice won the prestigious UK £100,000 Art Fund Prize alongside many other awards. He has published three books with Routledge - The Engaging Museum (2005) Transforming Museums in the 21st Century (2012) and Museums and the Challenge of Change (2021) – as well as numerous articles.

His publications build on his fascination with the changing nature of heritage audiences and their expectations – and what this should mean for interpretation. His exhibitions and consultancy reflect the practical application of his ideas.

In supposed retirement, he continues to publish and has returned to his first love – volunteering with and advising local communities on the development of museum exhibitions as they celebrate their own heritage.

Interpretation in the ‘Age of Participation’

The “Age of Participation”, resulting from generational and technological change, has seen a revolution in people’s attitudes, expectations and behaviour. This has led to museum and heritage audiences who expect to actively engage; to personalize their visit; to take part; to encounter different perspectives; to decide for themselves; to contribute; to share their experiences; to use collections; and to choose their own levels of participation.

However, more than 80% of these audiences has continued to come from a small, white socio-economic elite, and museums at least remain peripheral to the lives of most people (I cannot find figures for other types of heritage sites). Meanwhile, Western populations are both ageing and becoming much more diverse.  Alongside these issues sits an ambition within the heritage sector to play a more active role in society, responding to social challenges as complex as climate change and conflicting histories.

Starting with museums, but then looking more broadly, this paper will explore the impact of these issues on the principles but particularly the practice of heritage interpretation. While some issues are relatively straightforward, others depend on a major change in the missions, attitudes, staff structures and budget allocations of individual institutions. 

If the opportunity arises, the paper will also involve ginger nut biscuits.