Our Director Susan and Doors Open Days Coordinator Godsal travelled to Strasbourg last week, to take part in the Annual Assembly of European Heritage Days Coordinators. This event is a great opportunity for people from all over Europe to share experiences and ideas from running their own Doors Open Days. It also provides lots of time for sharing war stories, making connections and most importantly, learning from what everybody else was doing.
A lovely shot of Strasbourg, from our Director Susan.
The SCT team has been working on a project called Sharing Stories for the Assembly over the course of the year on increasing diversity in heritage interpretation, and presented to much interest to our colleagues across Europe. We’re hoping to expand involvement in this strand of our work even further next year.
Doors Open Days Coordinator Godsal presenting on inclusive heritage strategies.
Most striking though, was how Doors Open Days in Scotland stood out in comparison to other countries. For the majority of European Member States, Doors Open Days is run by national bodies with a very top-down approach. The event happens in museums and galleries, with little community-led activism. In Scotland, it’s completely the reverse – Doors Open Days is a volunteer-driven initiative, with the result that it has a very local flavour. Our evaluation system is well-advanced, making it possible for us to accurately assess the impact of the event, whereas many other countries carry out little evaluation. And finally, we have by far the highest number of venues open per head of population, meaning that Doors Open Days is more embedded in our cultural life than anywhere else.