The evaluation of the first cycles of the UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers campaign had showed that the potential to make these projects visible towards a wider public had been only partly used. The project organisers at the local level are usually covered with the organisation of the project itself, and the site management authorities while presenting the site to the public often put the focus on the outstanding universal value of the site, on its state of conservation and on its touristic potential, but less on heritage educational aspects as the volunteering projects.
Therefore UNESCO Wold Heritage Centre and European Heritage Volunteers saw the need for “World Heritage Media & Communication Trainings” to strengthen the promotion of heritage volunteering activities at World Heritage sites while focusing on the point of view of the younger generation.
So a first training workshop under the title “Passing the Cultural Message” taking place in Weimar, (Germany, Thuringia) had been organised by UNESCO World Heritage Centre and European Heritage Volunteers in collaboration with the UNESCO Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development and with Klassik Stiftung Weimar and had been financed by the German Federal Foreign Office and supported by Panasonic.
At the training workshop 25 participants from 14 countries took part all having been engaged before in World Heritage Education projects in their countries.
During the workshop the participants earned knowledge in terms of general communication issues, media formats, script creation and video editing. On the base of the learned skills they produced short films about different aspects of the World Heritage site Classical Weimar – about the restoration process of the “Poet’s Rooms” in Weimar Castle, about the restoration of an historical bridge in one of the parks belonging to the World Heritage site, about the management of parks and gardens about the expectations of the visitors of the World Heritage site “Classical Weimar” and others.
The workshop addressed to participants from all over Europe was a pilot project followed by a similar activity in the Republic of Korea which had been addressed to participants from Asian countries. Similar projects are planned in the future in other UNESCO regions.
European Heritage Volunteers following continued its engagement to strengthen the visibility of heritage volunteering projects by yearly organising Heritage Media Training Seminars.
As result of these activities European Heritage Volunteers started in 2016 in collaboration with Europa Nostra the initiative Social Media Volunteers for Heritage.