ERIH ANNUAL CONFERENCES

The ERIH Conference has been held annually since 2005 at different industrial heritage sites across Europe. Each conference focuses on a topical issue in industrial heritage tourism. They also provide a platform for people from different European countries and regions to share experiences, expertise and get to know each other.

Speakers and participants are experts from industrial heritage sites and organisations, museums, tourism institutions, heritage authorities, development agencies, academia and people interested in the topic.


 

20TH ERIH CONFERENCE 2024: CALL FOR PAPERS

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY - HOW TO COME FROM BUZZWORD TO ACTION
Sustainability or sustainable action means satisfying the needs of the present without curtailing or restricting the opportunities of future generations.

23 - 25 October 2024 in Lodz, Poland


Climate change is now the greatest threat to our cultural heritage. Numerous concepts and framework agreements such as the European Green Deal or the Cultural Heritage Green Paper call for CO2 neutrality by 2050 (already 50% by 2030). There are also targets, benchmarks, demands and concepts at national level. The United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework for many activities. Countless working groups on the topic of "sustainability" are looking for participants. Various labels and certifications for culture, tourism, events etc. are in competition. A large protest movement has started. Young people prefer to demonstrate on Fridays, climate activists like to get stuck in and a general malaise against "green washing" is spreading. Sustainability at all levels is seen as a cross-cutting issue and is increasingly expected by guests, visitors and employees as a basic requirement. Sustainability labels will have an even greater influence on future travel decisions. In view of these challenges, it is crucial to go beyond mere rhetoric and develop concrete strategies that lead to genuine environmental sustainability.

As one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis, industrialisation has a difficult role to play. From today's perspective, the negative effects on the climate and environment outweigh the achievements of the industrial revolution. This also poses new challenges and tasks for communication and interpretation.

Whereas "sustainability" used to be more of a buzzword, it is now a permanent task and a basic prerequisite for any action. Questioning established norms and familiar behaviour patterns and developing new habits is a demanding, sometimes exhausting, but indispensable process.     

What does all this mean for industrial heritage sites? How can the major framework concepts be broken down into manageable local or regional solutions? What can the sites achieve with their often limited personnel and resources? What (architectural) possibilities or obstacles are there? How can visitors, employees and partners be involved in the change processes? What contribution can industrial heritage sites make as high-quality educational centres for sustainable development? What opportunities and new potentials open up when we initiate and implement sustainability processes? 

We want to explore this question at the ERIH Annual Conference 2024. How do we move from "buzzwords" to concrete activities at the sites? How do we move from thinking via talking to each other to acting and from acting to new habits? We are looking for good examples of how the topic of "environmental sustainability" is implemented, processed and addressed at industrial heritage sites or in regions. This involves energy consumption, constructional optimisation, transport, mobility, tourism, communication, visitors´ services (like shop, cafeteria) etc.

INVITATION TO SPEAKERS
We invite speakers from a wide range of fields, related to industrial heritage site and infrastructure management, local development and tourism, planner, builders and environmental companies etc.

GENERAL QUESTIONS AND TOPICS TO BE ADDRESSED
Your presentation should provide practical ideas/ proposals considering some of the following questions:

  • What challenges do you face at your industrial site and how did you solve them?
  • How can environmental sustainability be credibly practised and implemented at the site?
  • Where in the customer journey does sustainability play a role and what offers have been developed for this?
  • What good examples of climate and/or energy sustainability are there?
  • What role does sustainability play in interpretation?
  • Which adaptations and/or updates have been made to the musicographic displays to highlight the relationships between industrial heritage and sustainability?
  • What difficulties and challenges do you face?
  • What opportunities and potentials arise?
  • What role does sustainability play for employees, guests and visitors?
  • How important are regional, national or European concepts?
  • What are the benefits of certifications and labels?
  • Are successes measurable, are there evaluations?
  • What financial and human resources are required for the development, implementation and continuation of sustainability measures and strategies?
  • What activities are needed at ERIH level; how can the network provide support?

In addition to contributions for the conference, suggestions for workshop formats in the afternoon (1.5 h) on the following aspects are also very welcome:

  • Building and energy
  • Mobility, visitor guidance and service infrastructure
  • Exhibitions about industrialisation, energy, and climate change (permanent, temporary)
  • Communication
  • Strategy development and stabilisation
  • Events, MICE
  • Location management


SUBMISSION OF PAPERS
Interested persons should submit a précis of their paper in English (not exceeding 2,000 characters) to the ERIH Secretariat (contact details below) by Monday 24th June 2024. A brief CV and note of relevant experience should be attached.

The complete ‘Call for papers’ with detailed information for presenters
 


A LOOK BACK AT PREVIOUS CONFERENCES


19TH CONFERENCE 2023 BILBAO (E)

IINDUSTRIAL HERITAGE AS AN ENGINE FOR SUSTAINABLE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COMMUNITY REGENERATION
The New European Bauhaus: Beautiful – Sustainable – Together

  • Conference programme

    To shape our future the European Commission has formulated "The New European Bauhaus" (NEB) as framework that aims to be a bridge between the world of science and technology, the world of art and culture and community engagement. The NEB is an interdisciplinary initiative that demonstrates how sustainable innovation brings tangible and positive experiences to our daily lives. It calls on all of us to imagine and build together an enriching, sustainable and inclusive future. Industrial heritage provides an ideal opportunity for communities to realize this. On the 2023 ERIH Annual Conference the speakers are going to present inspiring projects that showcase these connections.

    Conference programme

  • Photo gallery of the conference

    Photo gallery of the conference

  • Presentations held on the conference

    Presentations held on the conference


18TH CONFERENCE 2022 ESCH-ALZETTE (L)

INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE IN MIDST OF THE NEXT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - NEW CHALLENGES IN STORYTELLING 
Cultural heritage is not just about preserving our past – it is about shaping our future

  • Conference programme

    The first steps are done: Industrial heritage owes its existence to the structural changes in industry in the last third of the 20th century. Abandoned factories were transformed into venues of culture, preserving the memory of the lives and achievements of engineers and entrepreneurs as well as, and especially, of the workers. These sites convey the legacy of industrial heritage that - despite its many crises - enabled large parts of Europe to experience an era of mass prosperity.

    Today, industrial societies are facing another transformation that calls its very foundations into question. “Protecting, linking and promoting Europe's industrial heritage in a changing world” is the title for our new Creative Europe programme 2022-24. This "changing world" is the generic term for challenges and new developments such as climate change, digitalisation, pandemic, gender equality, inclusion and new values - the world is in a state of transformation and this naturally also has an impact on industrial heritage.

    This transformation can be considered as the next “Industrial Revolution”. With climate crisis, it has become obvious that the way we produce and use things has to change fundamentally. This transformation is not only aiming at a new industry. It changes the way we look back at the industrial age. Especially younger people value it much more critically, not only in terms of its ecological consequences, but also of the intertwining of the industrial age with colonialism.

    Without an understanding of this history and legacies of industrial heritage, the upcoming transformation of industrial society won’t be successful. But when the smoking chimney of the steam engine becomes a portent of the climate crisis and the miner in the coal mine is no longer a working hero but also a symbol of a "fossil" patriarchy, the image of industrial heritage is questioned, as well as the way we communicate with the public.

    These are important, justified insights. They force us to play a more active role in this transformation, to rethink our own operations and make them more sustainable. And in order to reach people, we have to tell our stories differently. We need to address also critical issues inextricably linked to industry. This requires new ways of storytelling at the venues of European industrial heritage.

    Conference programme

  • Photo gallery of the conference
    Photo gallery of the conference
  • Presentations held on the conference

17TH CONFERENCE 2021 GHENT (B)

RESILIENCE
How industrial heritage sites accepted the pandemic challenge and survived the crisis


16TH CONFERENCE 2020 OBERHAUSEN (D)

KEEPING THE WHEELS TURNING
Succession Planning for Industrial Heritage