OWHL Our Way Heritage Lives
Project brings together seven organisations that provide adult learning
in European cultural heritage. Spread across five countries, each
organisation faces a unique set of challenges, such as having to operate
with a small staff capacity or in a geographically isolated area. By sharing
their knowledge and skills, the project partners help each other to find
solutions to these challenges.
Some challenges may be more common of even apply to the heritage
sector generally. Working with volunteers, accommodating diversity among
learners, communicating local heritage within its wider context and managing
the impact of climate change are but a few of these shared concerns. The
coronavirus pandemic has added further complexities to how each organisation
operates and has become an important discussion topic for the OWHL Project.
By learning from experiences across country borders, the project partners
are managing to adapt to a new reality in which digital media offers
valuable new opportunities.
The OWHL Project is based around a series of joint staff training
events, hosted in turn by each of the partner organisations over a period of
three years from September 2019 to September 2022. Small numbers of staff
travel abroad to see and experience each organisation’s location,
operational strategy and approach to adult education. The best of these
learning experiences may be adopted by other partner organisations and will
be compiled in a project handbook for sharing within the wider heritage
The international meetings of the OWHL Project will develop the
participants’ understanding of a shared European cultural heritage and how
each organisation’s work local and regional work contributes to this grand
narrative. For EBUKI, the use of earth as a building material is an area of
particular interest and expertise and through the OWHL Project we are
helping other partner organisations to recognise and acknowledge the
importance of earth construction in their own region. Elements of historic
or modern earth construction, such as clay mortars and plasters, may be
hidden in plain sight and for the partners of the OWHL Project these may
offer unexpected and welcome opportunities to engage their audience in
easily accessible and enjoyable skills training activities.
Some of project partners already have an extensive track record of
training in earth construction and this is something EBUKI may benefit from.
Useful knowledge and skills may concern specific forms of earth
construction, such as Icelandic turf building, or innovative ways to reach
and varied wide audience at heritage sites across a country, such as
Liechtenstein’s heritage trail app achieves. By learning from and with the
our partner organisations, the OWHL Project aims to create a supportive
network that will form a lasting legacy.
Gamla Linköping Open-Air Museum (Sweden): an elaborate museum with
buildings, gardens and streets where it said that ‘history comes alive’. The
museum uses living history and various new engagement strategies to inform
their 440,000 annual visitors about the area’s cultural heritage.
Skagafjörður Heritage Museum (Iceland): a local heritage museum with
a variety of historic turf and timber buildings in its care. The museum runs
a Heritage Craft School that delivers training in vernacular building skills
to adults throughout Iceland and abroad.
Haus Gutenberg (Liechtenstein): an adult education institution
established in 2004 that focuses on training in personal development,
spiritual health and social issues. Working together with the country’s
Historical Association, National Museum and smaller heritage museums, the
organisation seeks to raise awareness of the added societal value and need
for sustainable management of cultural heritage.
Ljusdalsbygdens Museum (Sweden): a small heritage museum founded in
1943 by the local historical society. With a particular focus on the area’s
history in trading and textile production, the organisation is well versed
in working with volunteers to deliver a rich and varied programme of
activities, including traditional craft workshops.
Sagalund’s Museum (Finland): an open-air museum established in 1900
in the southern Finnish archipelago. Working closely with smaller museums,
jointly caring for over 50 historic buildings, the organisation offers
museum education activities with an emphasis on cultural heritage
management, public activities and education for adults and children.
Highland Folk Museum (United Kingdom): an open-air museum that
celebrates past life in the Highlands of Scotland. Incorporating original
and reconstructed historic buildings and an extensive artefact collection,
the museum uses exhibitions, living history and demonstrations to promote
education and training in Highland culture and traditional crafts.
EBUKI’s associate partners
Through Earth Building UK & Ireland, two associate partner
organisations are included in the OWHL Project.
The Auchindrain Township is a historic rural settlement in a remote
part of Argyll on the Scottish west coast. The organisation has special
experience of working with volunteers and accommodating staff with
additional mental and physical health needs.
The Sheiling Project is an educational organisation that uses its
remote rural location in the Scottish Highlands to deliver cultural heritage
education. Volunteering days and weekends allow adult learners to develop
new skills in a wide variety of traditional and modern eco-building