Celebrating cultural heritage with the next generation

 “We have to know where we came from in order to understand our present: in this way we hope to have both pride and humility in the knowledge that we still have things to learn” - British participant

What role does cultural heritage play in the way we interact with each other? How can digital technology help preserve cultural heritage? How do our local cultures complement or clash with a collective European identity? We set out to answer these questions and many more. During an exciting weekend in Berlin with UK-German Connection, we worked with 60 enthusiastic German and British pupils to explore the history and future of cultural heritage: discussing Berlin's cultural heritage in a guided tour on street art, a Jewish history tour in the Bavarian quarter, a VR experience of the Berlin wall and exploring the former airport Berlin Tempelhof.

In 2018, the whole European Union is celebrating its diverse backgrounds and cultures in a Year of Culture Heritage. This offered us the chance to get together and share our experiences with each other, because young people make up the generation that will determine what cultural heritage is and what role it plays in our futures - This is why we wanted to hear their voices on the topic.

“Digital technology provides us with an amazing way to share our cultural heritage; I believe it is a duty, a privilege and a responsibility for us to do this” - German participant

And Action! During the weekend, our participants took part in our short video telling us more about their experiences and views on cultural heritage. We were delighted to be able to show the film at the European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin the following week, which gave our participants the chance to have their voices heard by a large number of influential policy makers and politicians.
“I have seen how Berlin as a city can present its history, both good and bad, leaving space to form one’s own opinion on it. The city has a feel of acceptance about it” said a British participant after the weekend. Together with other British and Germans, they experienced examples of cultural heritage in guided tours throughout the city.
How can we best preserve our cultural heritage? “Without eyewitnesses we can learn a lot from digital technology when it comes to cultural heritage: technologies such as VR enable us to gain new perspectives and it is more alive for the viewer than in a history book” said one of our youth participants reflecting on the VR tour of the Berlin wall.