The Swiss government have launched an online challenge to all its citizens as a ground-breaking new way to tackle cultural conservation. They are asking the public to nominate their favourite aspects of Swiss culture, along with ideas about ways they might be highlighted and preserved.
The competition is launched as part of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, which sees 28 countries running almost 8000 events throughout the year and will be celebrated all across Europe.
Project leads Nina Mekacher and Andreas Teuscher are from The Federal Office of Culture, the strategic body responsible for managing the Confederation’s culture policy. Andreas was keen to involve the general public in this important discussion:
“The way we think about the preservation and development of our cultural heritage is changing. The values of cultural heritage are well known today, as are the means and techniques to preserve it. We know about the how, but we need to be more precise about the why and for whom. These questions concern the whole population.”
The Federal Office of Culture are responsible for cultural heritage such as historic monuments and museums, and the country’s cultural creativity; for example, films, prizes and awards, language and musical education.
Although the Office are closely involved with the public through this work, they have never run an open competition like Kulturerbe für alle (Heritage for All).
“The domain of cultural heritage is perceived as an expert subject,” Andreas explained. “With our project we could build a place where everybody can take part in the discussion and be heard by a growing audience. This project is something completely new for us. And it’s fun!”
He adds that people with similar interests are connecting on the platform and working together on ideas:
It works! People find a place where they can actively take part of a discussion.
When looking for a system the Federal Office of Culture looked for an intuitive tool to post and vote on ideas. They evaluated several platforms and even considered programming a custom-built tool.
They say they chose Crowdicity because it was the most complete product and had all the features they needed, including the support of several languages. Since the competition is open to Italian, French and German speakers, this was essential!
“We especially like the way collaboration works and the possibility to set up different phases,” Andreas told us.
From ideas to Projects
Entries will go through peer voting and evaluation by committee, successful ideas will move then to a project phase of the competition.
The Federal Office of Culture expect that the prevailing projects will make a real impact on the way cultural heritage is communicated and perceived in Switzerland.
“The way we think about the preservation and the development of our cultural heritage is changing,” Andreas explained.
He feels the competition will go a long way to understand this evolved thinking and to embrace these changes:
“We are convinced that cultural heritage generates multiple benefits for individuals and for the society as a whole. But what exactly are these benefits? Why exactly is it worth spending money on old things. To find new answers, we need to discuss the questions with the people who are concerned: everybody.”
With a PR campaign that includes Switzerland’s biggest TV channel, articles in major publications and a social media marketing , everybody with an interest in cultural heritage is encouraged to take part!
Kulturerbe für alle is open now, take a look at the competition here: https://kulturerbefueralle.ch/