The mid-term conference of Innocastle will take place on 24 September 2020 between 14.00 and 16.00 CET as a webinar on the adaptation of European country houses in times of COVID-19. For participants who have not yet registered, the event will be broadcasted via Facebook:

The report of the conference and all the presentations can be found here.

We all experience the consequences and impact of COVID-19. Social distancing and lockdown measures have greatly influenced the work of heritage institutions and owners. Together we shall explore and reflect on the impact of COVID-19 for the heritage sector, specifically country houses and rural estates. What challenges and adaptations do we see in Europe?

We need a new way of working, of presenting our heritage, of welcoming our visitors. In this, we can learn a lot from each other. The Mid Term Conference has been organised by the Province of Gelderland, Gelders Genootschap and Eurodite in collaboration with all the Innocastle partners. The language of the conference is English.

An important project publication, the baseline survey will also be launched at the Innocastle Mid Term Conference. Peter Drenth, Deputy of the province of Gelderland, the Netherlands, will be opening the conference.

Key-note speaker is dr. Ben Cowell, director general of Historic Houses Association (UK), who will look at various ways of adaptation by country house owners in difficult times, in the past and now.

Subsequently, the five Innocastle partners will pitch five relevant topics. See the full programme below. We look forward to exploring and discussing these topics with you. You can sign up for this conference at the end of this page.


Chair: dr. Elyze Storms-Smeets, Innocastle – team Gelderland

14.00: Introduction by chair Elyze Storms-Smeets 

14.05: Welcome Peter Drenth, deputy of the province of Gelderland, the Netherlands

14.15: ‘The Innocastle baseline survey’, by Bert de Roo (Ghent University College, Belgium)

14.25: Short video ‘The adaptation of European country houses in times of COVID-19’

14.30: ‘Country house survival’ by Ben Cowell, director general of Historic Houses Association (United Kingdom)

14.45: Live Q & A with Ben Cowell

15.00 Pitch 1: Digitisation of heritage - Fernando Álvarez, Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Automation of the University of Extremadura

15.05 Pitch 2: Democratisation of heritage - Catherine Leonard, National Trust, United Kingdom

15.10 Pitch 3: The value of green heritage - Elyze Storms-Smeets, Gelders Genootschap, the Netherlands

15.15 Pitch 4: Re-thinking productive estates - Koi Persyn, art curator Waldeinsamkeit
, Belgium

15.20 Pitch 5: Rebuilding rural communities - Irina Leca, National Institute of Heritage, Romania15.25 Discussion about heritage in times of COVID-19

15.50 Closing speech by dr. Paul Thissen, Province of Gelderland (the Netherlands)

16.00 End

Queries? Or would you like to contribute to the discussion? Contact Elyze Storms-Smeets [email protected] or Alina Tomescu [email protected].