IE Web Conference | 1-4 Oct 2021 | #iecon21

Title: Bridging parks, UNESCO-areas and tourism through heritage interpretation
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenters: Kristian Bjørnstad and Trym Holt Rudshaug
Country: Norway
Organisation: Norwegian Parks Association

Summary: The relationship between national parks and the field of heritage interpretation is close. However, there are other types of parks and UNESCO-areas using interpretation today. We see it in the Nature-Regional-Landscape (NRL) parks and in the many UNESCO-areas. Since the first wilderness oriented national parks, there are now a great diversity of parks and UNESCO-areas working with both natural and cultural values. This is likely to increase the need for interpretation. Tourism is also important in these areas. In this presentation we explore how interpretation can be used to strengthen more integrated approaches in parks and UNESCO-areas. We also explore how interpretation can strengthen the connection with tourism. We draw on fresh experiences from developing interpretation in regional parks in Norway as well as in a new network for interpreters in parks and UNESCO-areas. First results show that the field can serve as a bridge, or common platform, between parks and UNESCO-areas.


Title: Interpretation performed by certified tourist guides in Lisbon during the pandemic
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
First presenter: Luís Miguel Brito
Country: Portugal

Summary: Interpretation quality distinguishes tourist guides. According to an investigation carried out by the author in 2008 (Brito, 2013), tourists who travel with a guide claim that, although guides have many different, relevant and complementary roles, interpretation is, no doubt, the most important one. The idea of conducting this study arose from the fact that, from March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic left more than 90% of the guides unemployed. Many of them changed profession, others live very much below their usual standards – sometimes facing serious issues, and some of them decided to face the situation by creating their own walking tours in Lisbon and started selling them on social media. The methodology used in this paper to obtain data on the interpretation of guides was a questionnaire, which was sent to all 24 licensed guides who were active in the last 11 months performing several different walking tours in Lisbon.


Title: Augmented reality and gamification elements for multiperspective, interpretive apps
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Anna Chatel
Country: Germany
Organisation, Job Title: University of Education Freiburg 

Summary: Smartphones provide enormous resources for learning about our local environment. We can see phenomena from different perspectives or update the environment with augmented realities. Gamification elements can make this learning process for some target groups even more attractive. With students, we have developed innovative outdoor interpretation apps for the public. Evaluation showed us clearly that exploring and interpreting our environment and communicating the findings to others via apps can contribute to seeing phenomena from different perspectives. We have initiated some empirical research projects to learn about how effective the implementation of smartphone-apps is for outdoor interpretation for nature parks and biosphere reserves. More and more different tools are being developed to create your own apps very easily.


Title: Sharing the wonders of World Heritage Wadden Sea
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
First presenter: Renate de Backere 
Country: Netherlands

Summary: In 2009 the Wadden Sea was assigned World Heritage status by UNESCO. A title to be proud of! However, as there are many governments and companies involved in the Wadden Sea area, this status wasn't actively promoted. Hence, we started Wadden Sea World Heritage excursions to show the uniqueness of the Wadden Sea. The more you know about this apparently flat and sometimes grey area, the more you value this place. As a rule, we work together with local and involved entrepreneurs and companies. This way we give a positive impulse to the nature experience on a small scale and the local economy. Our guides are very passionate, experienced, and know how to transfer their passion to various audiences.


Title: The ‘Martinki Custom’ – Managing, learning, living, giving and receiving heritage
Type of contribution: 55 min. Workshop
First presenter: Vasilka Dimitrovska 
Country: North Macedonia
Organisation: HAEMUS – the Centre for Scientific Research and Promotion of Culture

Summary: Many years before the Martinki Custom was officially inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List, HAEMUS created 'Grandma March Day' to support the ongoing multinational application about this tradition, thus preserving it. The Martinki Custom is the Balkan tradition of exchanging handmade amulets in red and white colours. They are given to a loved one on 1 March to celebrate the beginning of spring with wishes for health, love, luck, and prosperity for the coming year. Amulets are worn until nature starts to bloom when they are then hung on the trees. The traditional manifestation, 'Grandma March Day', is an annual event with wide social inclusion, during which people – regardless of nationality, religion, gender, or age – educate, interpret, share and transmit this heritage through practice and interactive approaches. This interactive workshop will provide the methodology to create an amulet as well as opportunity for questions and live discussion. At the end, we will vote on the best interpretive handicraft.


Co-creating tourism experiences through interpretative storytelling
Type of contribution: 55 min. Presentation
First presenter: Jacqui Doyle 
Country: Ireland

Summary: How are stories used between the guide and tourist? How can the guide and tourist co-create an experience? This presentation will look at co-creation of experiences between guides and tourists at Historic House Tourist Attractions (HHTA), using data from a broader ethnographic study of guided tours at Huntington Castle, Ireland. We will explore the Story Enhanced Tourism Experience (SETE) – the practice of interpretive storytelling to conceptualise a more immersive tourism experience, and how understanding the tourist/guide interactive process can help to co-create better experiences. While co-creation offers a theoretical foundation and strategic guidelines for implementation, storytelling is the tool to create the experience, and thereby dominates from an operational perspective. It requires looking beyond the parties involved to see what other factors influence the experience, particularly what dimensions influence the state of mind of the tourist. Most importantly, it will determine how the SETE results in a pleasurable and more memorable experience.

Title: Land, stories, people and place: The ups, the downs – and the preparations for a new climate future 
Type of contribution: 55 min. presentation
Presenters: Murray Ferguson and Clare Cooper 
Country: UK

Summary: Two place-based projects, each with different roots, set out to do remarkably similar things over the last three years on opposite sides of the Cairngorms National Park – the largest National Park in the UK. To the west, the Badenoch Great Place Project was borne from a combination of opportunities and threats in the historically rich Badenoch area and a desire to make it a renowned place for telling stories about the connections between people and the land. To the east, the Cateran Eco-museum has created an outstanding new cultural destination, based on the principle of a ‘museum without walls’. Designed to reveal the hidden heritage of this captivating area by the community who live there, the Cateran Eco-museum tells the story of its people, places and landscapes. Now, drawing on the all experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, these two areas are looking forward and making exciting plans to use interpretation-based approaches to tackle climate and biodiversity challenges.

Title: Contemporary interpretive architecture and landscape architecture in Europe 
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Angus Forbes 
Country: Germany
Organisation, Job Title: IE Architects Coordinator

Summary: Is there such a thing as interpretive architecture? Perhaps the best place to look for an answer to this question is through studying the designs of purpose-built interpretation or visitor centres. Aiming to find at least one example from every country in Europe, IE’s Architecture Group collated interesting-looking projects and wrote to the architects asking for insights into their design approach. This presentation will look at highlights from this survey and share some thoughts on what makes for good interpretive architecture.


Title: Building back: Volunteer-led interpretation at the British Museum
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Stuart Frost
Country: UK
Organisation, Job Title: Head of Interpretation and Volunteers at the British Museum

Summary: The pandemic has had a profound impact on heritage sites across Europe. Volunteers have an important role to play in helping heritage sites recover, and to adapt to a post-pandemic world in innovative ways. This presentation will focus on recent initiatives at the British Museum to develop volunteering to attract and engage more people from different backgrounds, and to offer a more varied programme that better caters for the needs of a wider range of audiences. These approaches have all involved new ways of working, internally for staff and volunteers, and externally with community partners. This presentation will focus on three examples of new volunteer-led programmes: i) touch tours for visually impaired visitors; ii) LGBTQ tours of the collection; and iii) ‘Walk and talk’ tours developed for small groups from Mind in Camden, London – a local organisation that supports people struggling with mental distress.


Title: If you know, you can tell
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Michael Hamish Glen
Country: UK

Summary: Interpretation is a powerful tool in communicating with visitors. Empowering communities to use interpretive activities and media is a powerful means of linking local people with visitors and helping them to enjoy their visit more, to understand why their destination is special and to appreciate its importance. All local people can play a part in the simplest way – by telling at least parts of the heritage story themselves. But they need to know what to tell. This presentation advocates the preparation of a very simple tool – a pocket-sized summary of answers to many of the basic questions visitors ask and reasons why they should value and help to protect what they have come to see. It will, in effect, imply a call to support sustainable tourism. It will embody the belief that interpretation can help to safeguard the heritage of a place. That heritage is the ‘goose that lays golden eggs’ for visitors and hosts.

Title: Recreating post-pandemic tourism through the use of travel texts
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenters: Margarita Ioannou and Katerina Gotsi
Country: Cyprus
Summary: Travel writing was a hybrid, fluid and “highly adaptable form” (Thompson, 2016: 196) long before the digital era. For this study, we examined travel memoirs, travelogues, guidebooks, coffee table photobooks, as well as online newspaper and magazine articles, travel blog posts and travel website articles, travel TV shows, YouTube videos and documentaries, travel vlogs and podcasts. These travel texts are an exceptionally rich source of information covering all aspects of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, as defined by UNESCO. The study of the travel texts, whether synchronically or diachronically, may prove a valuable tool when it comes to getting to really know a place, its culture and its people. The outcomes of the study of travel texts may be perfectly used in tourism, helping create meaningful and memorable experiences – especially for post-Covid era tourists, in need as they are of the healing power of travelling and culture after a long period of isolation and social distancing. Interactive maps, educational games, guided walks, talks and exhibitions – all based on material provided in travel accounts – may be designed to suit different age group needs. The information, ideas and insights they communicate can be addressed to and received by locals and tourists alike, making them feel like members of the same community instead of separating them.


Title: Art prints as an interpretation tool
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Vincent Jacot
Country: Estonia

Summary: Art has been used to interpret history for centuries. Art prints are inexpensive to produce, easily reproducible, and transportable. With these benefits it is difficult to understand why art prints have not been widely adopted by the heritage sector as an interpretive tool. This presentation will use real-world examples to explore the many ways in which cultural institutions can use art prints to engage audiences, enhance their exhibitions, generate revenue, and create touring exhibitions.


Title: Re:start! Product/ market/ consumption changes for a more sustainable and participatory heritage tourism
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenter: Daniela Angelina Jelincic
Country: Croatia

Summary: The Corona crisis substantially affected heritage tourism, which resulted in three types of change in business operations: changes in the market, product and consumption. Changes in the market are seen in the promotion of ‘staycation’ (focus on domestic destinations) and low tourist density locations. The shift from over-tourism to soft tourism (e.g. creative, nature, well-being and experience tourism) characterises the product change, the greatest one being remote tourism (tourism performed without physical travel). Consumption type also changed: de-seasoning is encouraged to avoid the masses, with shorter trips and digitisation. Heritage interpretation is a powerful, although not almighty, tool reflecting those changes. Good practice examples (e.g. Tocatì Festival, Verona; English Heritage’s Agile Interpretation Programme; Faroe Islands’ Remote Tourism product) show how interpretation may impact resilience, sustainability and empower communities to participate in heritage interpretation.    


Title: Recreating tourism on the Greek-Albanian borders through oral history and tradition 
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenters: Angeliki Kita (Greece) with Vassilis Nitsiakos, Ioannis Fudos, Christos Bellos, Thanos Kotsis, Spyridoula Kolovou, Persefoni Ntoulia, Dafni Patelou, Konstantinos Stefanou, Georgios Stergios and Georgia Tsamadia
Country: Greece

Summary: The cross-border area in the Southeastern Europe, Permet, Gjirokastra and Konitsa, has a unique cultural heritage that could provide the basis for tourism development. The memories of people are the interface between past and present and could relate the common past cultural characteristics with the very different present and contribute to the sustainability of tourism. This perception led to the creation of the Exploral and VirtuaLand projects, which were co-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund – ERDF) and Greek national funds through the Interreg Greece-Albania 2014-2020 Programme. Through these projects, touristic information relates to information acquired from oral and written sources in an interactive map and a virtual reality (VR) interactive platform, in the form of a customised documentary. Users not only ‘consume’ information but also ‘travel’. The result is to turn the Public Library of Konitsa into a reference point for tourists. 


Title: Unravelling the mountain layer by layer: Heritage interpretation for a story that lasts
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenter: Mateja Kuka 
Country: Croatia

Summary: Symbolically and in reality, our team of creatives recently climbed the mythical Croatian mountain of Učka, devising the most appropriate way of conveying its complex heritage story. Učka is a powerful mountain, massive and compact, yet to those who truly surrender to it, it dissolves into countless harmonised layers. Unravelling this unique story of natural heritage that connected the mountain, nature and man has been woven into a stimulating interpretive experience. In the Poklon Visitor Centre in Učka Nature Park, we created an exhibition that – through extensive interpretation – contributes to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, to the maintenance of biodiversity, and the building of meaningful emotional connections with local people. With over 1,000 illustrations, photographs, videos, models and other media, the senses are flooded with stories of customs, language, music, culture, biodiversity, the cohabitation of people and the environment around them, and much more.


Title: Join the discussion: Heritage interpretation and sustainable tourism – match or clash?
Type of contribution: 55 min. Workshop
Presenters: Laila De Bruyne, Barbara Struys and Helena ten Berge
Country: Belgium

Summary: At this conference you’ll get loads of inspiration about the connection between heritage interpretation (HI) and tourism. But how do you feel about this theme? Let’s discuss and use the strength of the network to exchange views and connect through reflection. The following questions will form the starting point of the conversation: What makes HI a suitable tool to recreate tourism after the COVID-19 crisis? What do we mean when we talk about sustainable tourism? Are there any pitfalls we should avoid? Should we take conditions into account when we want to use HI as a tool for more sustainable tourism? How can an individual HI practitioner contribute to sustainable tourism? With interactive digital tools we will collect information and open a lively discussion. We will share the output of the session with all members after the conference (in a newsletter article or webinar). By joining this interactive session, you will contribute to a small but meaningful inquiry on heritage interpretation in relation to tourism.


Title: Disgust is in the mouth of the beholder: Using distasteful foods to interpret culture
Type of contribution: 25 min. workshop
Presenter: Lucy M. Long
Country: USA

As interpreters, we often present a 'foreign' food culture by emphasising foods that will appeal to audiences’ tastes, assuming that if they try the food and like it, they will also like the culture. However, 'disgusting' foods that seem inedible or distasteful offer an opportunity to explore the culture behind the food and the meanings of the food itself. This workshop will discuss examples and offer a framework for interpreting taste as a cultural, social, and personal construction, asking participants for illustrations from their own experiences.


Title: How can interpretive experiences make people more mindful?
Type of contribution: 55 min. presentation
Presenter: Thorsten Ludwig
Country: Germany

Summary: As part of their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations agreed upon substantial goals for learning. Heritage interpretation can play a role in this. However, in tourism in particular, heritage experiences are often limited in time, and in-depth learning is not necessarily on top of people’s agenda. The presentation will suggest that the degree to which insights become relevant depends on the immediacy, wholeness and reflection of interpretive experiences. It explains what characterises a whole interpretive experience, what helps to memorise, recall and apply its conclusions, and what it means for contemporary interpretive planning, to make people more mindful towards our common future.


Title: From visitor to guide: How changing the roles can improve the impact of heritage interpretation
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenters: Catarina Magalhães, Pedro Morais and André Coelho
Country: Portugal
Summary: In May 2021, at Vila do Conde, Portugal, we carried out a heritage interpretation (HI) workshop: ‘There are hidden secrets at Cividade de Bagunte’. The main purpose of this activity was to take two different groups on a visit at Bagunte’s archaeological site. The first group, composed of people with different backgrounds, some without any experience at guiding, was subject to a five-day online workshop, to prepare each participant to guide a specific point at the visit on the sixth day; the second group was made of regular visitors, who evaluated the outcome. We will present the development of the activity’s design and how simplicity was needed to create clear contents suitable for the workshop’s short length. The main results indicated that this is an efficient, alternative, and recreational strategy to attract people to understand HI, thus raising awareness about the importance of HI for both visitors and tourism stakeholders involved, enhancing the value of natural and cultural heritage.


Title: Discovering heritage interpretation from the other end
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Simana Markovska
Country: Bulgaria

Summary: How can a local community escape stagnation? If tourism is the answer, how can they develop it sustainably and pack their own competitive product? We will discuss the case study of Razlog Municipality in southwest Bulgaria. It has several villages located on the southern slopes of the Rila Mountains, just below the border of the biggest national park in Bulgaria bearing the same name. Together with the local communities, we searched for creative paths towards tourism development – paths that would make the destination stand out and gain competitive advantages.


Title: Interpretive plans for Czech protected landscape areas
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenters: Michal Medek with Ladislav Ptáček
Country: Czech Republic

Summary: The first interpretive plan for a protected area in the Czech Republic was created in 2010, but the real boom started with the decision of the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic to create interpretive plans for all the 26 protected landscape areas that comprise about 14% of the country. The presentation sums up 12 years of interpretive planning for the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic. What led to the decision to create interpretive plans, what planning methods have been used, how the plans translate to everyday operation of the agency and where we can see weaknesses to be dealt with in the future plans. The contribution also shares a critical reflection of the planning methods and outcomes.


Title: CLIP is linking heritage interpretation across continents
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenters: Pedro Morais and Carla Silva
Country: Portugal

Summary: We will present CLIP: Comunidade Lusófona para a Interpretação do Património (the Portuguese-speaking community for heritage interpretation). Created in 2020, this is an informal network that joins associations, work groups, or individual professional members from Brazil, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, Portugal, and São Tomé e Principe. It is a bottom-up initiative, raised on genuine needs of individuals from different countries, that realise the small development of heritage interpretation in Portuguese-speaking countries and the importance to cooperate in this field. Both national and multinational tourism policies grew during the pandemic, leading to an increase in the level of sustainability in tourism experiences. To accomplish this objective, the use of natural and cultural heritage interpretation is fundamental, to promote educational impacts on visitors, local communities, and other tourism stakeholders in order to encourage them to defend endangered heritage.


Title: The music of nature: Interpreting nature for the benefit of a Romanian geopark’s small communities
Type of contribution: 25 min presentation
Presenters: Adina Popa and Dan Horațiu Popa
Country: Romania

Summary: Natural elements, such as stone, water and wood, are given value on a thematic trail in Peștera village from Hațeg Country UNESCO Global Geopark Romania. The aim is to offer resilience for a small and isolated community, revealing the link between humans and Earth. About 100 years ago, stone, water and wood represented the primary resources of the locals. They put them to work for community benefit. A watermill, a lime kiln and an ancient laundry washing machine using the three natural elements now represent a part of the vernacular heritage of the geopark. We added eight land art installations (including a lithophone, wooden bar-chimes, and a ‘Community Tree’) to interpret the local geodiversity, biodiversity, and to facilitate discovery through direct interaction, observation and games. Now, the thematic trail is one of the geopark’s main tourist attraction points. The small community has the opportunity to preserve and promote its identity, to make it more resilient instead of disappearing.


Title: ‘Interpretive Stories’ project revives tourism in mountainous Greece
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Valya Stergioti
Country: Greece
Summary: This is the story of a small project with great results that proves that local people can be persuaded that heritage interpretation is the future for a new kind of tourism and reveals a simple yet effective recipe to achieve this. Join this presentation to hear more about the past, present and future of Interpretive Stories.


Title: Recreating a pragmatic friendship: The houses of David Ben-Gurion and Konrad Adenauer in post-Covid times
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenters: Esther Suissa (Israel) and Sabine Steindle (Germany)
Countries: Israel and Germany

Summary: We will show a joint virtual tour of the houses of two founders of states: David Ben-Gurion of Israel and Konrad Adenauer of Germany. The two leaders were friends and worked together to strengthen ties between the two countries. Covid-19 has forced us to think out of the box.  These two leaders had two different styles of home, but with similarities in character. The ties between them were controversial and pioneering. The joint tour, with a guide in each house, interprets the heritage of each leader and connects two cultures. We believe that this cooperation can be adopted by other heritage sites to enrich the experience of citizens from different countries. It can be used as an educational and enriching tool. Through the virtual tour of both houses, in Sde Boker in Israel and in Bonn in Germany, we can learn about history and leadership in a meaningful and experiential way.


Title: Mouth- and eye-opening gastronomic heritage interpretation: Entrepreneurs become heritage ambassadors
Type of contribution: 25 min. presentation
Presenter: Jeroen Van Vaerenbergh
Country: Belgium
Summary: Getting local entrepreneurs to (co-)create meaningful and memorable heritage experiences for visitors is not obvious. Often the two supposedly opposite sectors of business and heritage refer to each other as speaking another language. They get lost in translation. How can local entrepreneurs be real heritage ambassadors? Gastronomic heritage interpretation can be an eye and mouth opener… The story of a place goes through the stomach. Using Belgian examples, we reflect on the dos and don’ts of involving and enabling local entrepreneurs in hospitality and food craftsmanship to create sustainable touristic heritage experiences. Food connects us with the place and each other. A recipe of trial and error with a mouthwatering climax.


Title: Bringing people and nature together: Inspiring action through wetland centre interpretation
Type of contribution: 55 min. presentation
Presenter: Anna Wilson
Country: UK

Summary: The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) has been bringing people together with nature and delivering wetland interpretation for 75 years. But in 2021 our challenges are greater than ever. As well as the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is facing a climate crisis, a nature crisis and an emerging wellbeing crisis. Our interpretation has to work hard to inspire people to take action, to become ambassadors for the environment and to drive a ‘blue recovery’. By presenting case studies, from the latest interpretation at our own wetland centres to our international community-based ecotourism projects, plus the work we do bringing networks of wetland interpreters together, this presentation will explore how wetland centres can be an effective way of raising awareness, creating a learning environment and inspiring action.

[unex_ce_button id="content_hccszhz2w,column_content_5bn4525y6" button_text_color="#ffffff" button_font="bold" button_font_size="18px" button_width="full_width" button_alignment="center" button_text_spacing="1px" button_bg_color="#3c526d" button_padding="15px 60px 15px 60px" button_border_width="0px" button_border_color="#3c526d" button_border_radius="0px" button_text_hover_color="#ffffff" button_text_spacing_hover="1px" button_bg_hover_color="#f0972c" button_border_hover_color="#f0972c" button_link="/programmeoutline/" button_link_type="url" button_link_target="_self" has_container="" in_column="1"]Programme outline[/ce_button]
[unex_ce_button id="content_hccszhz2w,column_content_gxept0geu" button_text_color="#ffffff" button_font="bold" button_font_size="18px" button_width="full_width" button_alignment="center" button_text_spacing="1px" button_bg_color="#3c526d" button_padding="15px 60px 15px 60px" button_border_width="0px" button_border_color="#3c526d" button_border_radius="0px" button_text_hover_color="#ffffff" button_text_spacing_hover="1px" button_bg_hover_color="#f0972c" button_border_hover_color="#f0972c" button_link="/keynote-speakers" button_link_type="url" button_link_target="_self" has_container="" in_column="1"]Keynote speakers[/ce_button]