‘Open the door to heritage’ – that’s the message from The Heritage Council and Local Authority Heritage Officers as they announce plans for National Heritage Week from Saturday, August 14 to Sunday, August 22.
They are inviting people, heritage organisations and community groups to register and undertake projects on the natural, built and cultural heritage that culminate during Heritage Week. On-line registration of projects is now open on the Heritage Week website (www.heritageweek.ie) and all projects registered for Heritage Week will be considered for the National Heritage Week Awards.
“This year’s theme is ‘Heritage for All’ and is aimed at getting as many people to enjoy heritage as possible” explained Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“In particular, heritage project organisers are encouraged to consider how they can connect with heritage newcomers who have not engaged with National Heritage Week before; groups or individuals who may not traditionally feel included in local heritage; and heritage enthusiasts of all ages. People are also encouraged to address aspects of our heritage that may have been overlooked or taken for granted. Heritage Week will be different again this year as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although most activities for Heritage Week this year will be on-line, some groups are planning small-scale live events that are in line with public health restrictions.”
Three on-line webinars are available on the Heritage Week website to support people organising projects or events. The webinars include ‘Welcome to National Heritage Week 2021’ that outlines this year’s approach and significant dates; ‘Taking Your Project On-line’ that demonstrates the ways in which you can share your heritage digitally and the benefits of doing that; and ‘Communicating Your Project’ that provides advice on how to share your project widely over social media and with local media outlets.
Other on-line resources will assist people with undertaking research, presenting projects, recording video and audio, making a podcast, hosting virtual events and running social media campaigns.
Local heritage groups and communities in County Donegal responded impressively to Heritage Week last year with 35 projects taking place and with Rathmullan & District Local History Society and Johnny Shiels from Glenswilly winning two of the National Heritage Week Awards.
“During lockdowns many of us have had more time to explore our local or personal heritage” said Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister for Heritage & Electoral Reform.
“National Heritage Week may be the perfect opportunity to showcase what you have discovered, or to dig deeper and find out more. Whatever aspect of heritage is chosen, I wish the very best to all those taking part and look forward to seeing the end results in August.”
The Chairman of The Heritage Council, Michael Parsons, commented that: “A success of last year’s on-line approach saw the hundreds of heritage activities organised as part of National Heritage Week made more accessible to a wide audience. This year, building on that positive impact, I strongly encourage all project organisers to think meaningfully on how they might include new members of their communities in their projects, and explore aspects of heritage that may have been overlooked in the past.”
Heritage projects can be showcased during National Heritage Week by means such as on-line talks, exhibitions, videos, podcasts, slideshow presentations, blogs, media coverage, dedicated websites, social media coverage or small, restricted social gatherings that comply with official public health advice. National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and Local Authority Heritage Officers with support from the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage.
The aim of National Heritage Week is to build heritage awareness and appreciation while shining a light on the great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve, conserve and promote our natural, built and cultural heritage. National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union in which over forty countries participate each year.
Further information on how to get involved in National Heritage Week is available on-line at www.heritageweek.ie, via e-mail email@example.com or telephone (087) 368 3515. Advice is also available from the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council on (074) 917 2576.