The conservation and management of industrial heritage requires a wide range of knowledge and skills. Industrial heritage is more than just industrial buildings and machinery, the "tangible" remains of industry. It also includes the complex knowledge of how to operate and maintain machinery, a wide range of techniques and skills, as well as sector-specific social routines and intangible heritage.

But this knowledge is in danger of being lost over time. Today, heritage organisations are increasingly facing the retirement of their first generation of professionals and volunteers - people who experienced life in these industrial communities at first hand. Effective methods are needed to transfer and share knowledge with new staff and volunteers entering the field.

ERIH addressed this issue at the 2020 Annual Conference in Oberhausen. Under the theme 'Keeping the wheels turning. Making industrial heritage fit for generational change', the conference showcased practical examples of preserving and passing on the knowledge of first-generation workers from different countries. It was also a platform for sharing and critically discussing experiences in the field of knowledge transfer and succession planning. You will find a summary of the presentations in our November 2020 newsletter and the PowerPoint presentations in our service section.

ERIH Newsletter November 2020
Conference presentations

In 2021, we also carried out a survey of ERIH members to get a more detailed picture of where the pressing issues are on the ground and which issues are particularly relevant.

Results of the survey (brief description) 
Results of the survey (detailed description)

It is then planned to work with the sites to develop ideas for concrete projects and actions (such as documenting best practice examples) to help other industrial heritage sites.