The European project MOMAr (Models of Management for Singular Rural Heritage) of Interreg Europe held its second Interregional meeting in the form of an online seminar due to the pandemic. The event took place from 11-13 November, under the title: “Heritage beyond tourism, a sustainable future” where their final session was dedicated to the impact of COVID in the heritage management field, as well as a presentation of Keep On another Interreg Europe project. 

The meeting was attended by the partners of MOMAr, Provincial Government of Zaragoza (Spain) as project leader, the Territorial Administrative Unit of Mehedinti County (Romania), the Ministry of Regional Development and Transport of Saxony-Anhalt (Germany), the Regional Development Agency of South Bohemian (Czech Republic), Corsican Region (France), and the Province of Groningen (Netherlands) as the host of the event, as well as different stakeholders from each of the countries involved.  The call was a success registering more than 40 participants. 

How to face COVID impact

The last day was devoted entirely to analyzing and reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on heritage management in rural areas. For this purpose, Valerie Magar, unit manager at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) was invited. The expert detailed the activities that are being carried out from the institution to give practical tools and knowledge to heritage professionals during the current COVID crisis. Magar declared in this regard: "This crisis can divide us, or it can unite us, but what is certain is that heritage can help to create the necessary bridges”. 

 To complement the session, stakeholders from Zaragoza and Saxony-Anhalt described successful strategies fulfilled during the last months to fight COVID impact, such as the use of social media, crowdfunding campaigns, smart work systems and international cooperation. MOMAr’s scientific committee also presented the results of an internal survey distributed to the stakeholders to analyse the main obstacles they are facing and what are the majors concerns of the sector. 

Interreg community

The meeting also opened a conversation with another Interreg project, KEEP ON, which is dedicated to the sustainability and durability of cultural heritage projects. Its representative, Malgorzata Steckiewicz, presented the work achieved by the six partners involved and highlighted the necessary elements to achieve the sustainability of a project, these are society, culture, economy and the environment, but it is also essential, she said, “coordinate these factors through leadership, as well as to place local communities as the main beneficiary of the project ”. 

The COVID pandemic obliged to change the original plan of this Interregional Meeting, which was supposed to take place in the Province of Groningen combining a scientific programme with a study visit. However, MOMAr partners committed to complete the fieldwork once the mobility in Europe will be safe again.