The European Year of Cultural Heritage is a chance to raise awareness of all the worthwhile and positive outcomes that engagement with Cultural Heritage provides. It is also an opportunity to use this year as a mechanism to more explicitly pursue connections between experts and the public, politics and civil society, to look back and to step forward towards our common future.

E.C.C.O. as Confederation will serve as a platform to connect ideas, collect information and disperse it amongst our member associations, as well as provide a platform for the activities and projects planned by our members associations according to EYCH 2018.In April 2018 E.C.C.O.’s General Assembly and its Presidents’ Meeting will be held in the European Cultural Capital Valletta at the invitation of our Maltese member organisation. The Presidents of our member organisations will present the projects and activities of EYCH to the other members.

In 2019 a conference will review the activities and meetings held in each country by our member associations.

In cooperation with our members we are proposing the Week of Conservation-Restoration to be publicised in digital medias, and which will include a special Day of the Conservator-Restorer with guided visits on conservation sites and in the workshops of Conservator-Restorers, which are opened to the public.Our members associations have multifaceted activities planned with the sole intention of sharing heritage and our expertise with the public and to demonstrate why such care is necessary to quality of life. These activities are an awareness raising exercise for the Conservator-Restorer profession; its interdisciplinary nature as it engages with other professions in the field of Cultural Heritage and the outcomes that are arrived at through innovative interactions and technologies. The formats will be conferences, workshops, dialogues with open public debates (so-called “Socrates dialogues”), site visits and Conservation-Restoration awards at national level for best practice.

Several clusters of member associations have already formed in the pursuit of common activities in cross border projects. Others are in the state of formation. The cross border activities are mostly amongst neighbouring states, and currently there is a very intensive project in place between Germany and Romania.

Many of the associations are cooperating with other organisations in the Cultural Heritage field, particularly with their national ICOMOS group, to raise awareness for all stakeholders. E.C.C.O. is also involved in the activities of the network in European Heritage Alliance 3.3, where E.C.C.O. is a member.

For the sustainable outcome of the EYCH beyond the year 2018, E.C.C.O. would be happy to work as a strategic partner in developing a policy framework, discussing the FARO Convention and the Venice Charter from the point of view of Conservation-Restoration as it continues to evolve and develop as a profession.

The vision of the European Year of Cultural Heritage might be simplified by the words of André Malraux: “Pour aimer, pas pour faire apprendre!” (To love, not to learn).

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