Youth Conference ‘Culture and Heritage in a Digital World’

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In celebration of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage, UK-German Connection and British Council Germany organised a youth conference on the theme of cultural heritage.

Sharing our cultural heritage

In June 2018, 60 young people from across the UK and Germany met for the first time in Berlin to discuss, explore and share cultural heritage. Following a busy weekend of excursions and workshops in Berlin, participants reflected on three main questions:

  • Why is cultural heritage important?
  • How can we use digital technology to help preserve cultural heritage?
  • How has coming to Berlin had an impact on your perception of cultural heritage?

A very digital youth conference

As well as discussions about the future impact of technology on cultural heritage, the youth conference had a strong digital focus, including:

  • A Virtual Reality tour of the Berlin Wall – using technology to bring history to life.
  • A social media takeover by a group of Digital Mentor participants – check out Instagram !
  • Film-making experience – the young people took up roles on both sides of the camera to contribute to a short film about their insights into cultural heritage and what they learnt on their Berlin adventures!

The film was premiered at the European Policy Debate, as part of the high-profile European Cultural Heritage Summit in Berlin. Watch the film here:

What does cultural heritage mean to young people?

In preparation for the conference, all participants prepared a response to the question: “What does your local / regional cultural heritage mean to you?”

We were flooded with creative responses – videos, posters, poems and photos – exploring local and regional cultural heritage all across the UK and Germany. Visit our picture gallery to see examples of their work!

“If we want to truly understand our own local and regional cultural heritage, we have to understand the significance of other people’s as well.” (German participant)

Discovering Berlin: where the past meets the present

The young people delved into the capital’s cultural heritage, through different expert-led excursions, exploring Berlin’s past, present and future:

  • Art: Street art tour
  • History: Jewish history tour
  • Technology: Virtual Reality tour of the Berlin Wall
  • Industry: Tempelhof Airport tour

The excursions offered the young people a unique and authentic impression of the culture and history of Berlin. They reflected on what they had seen, comparing and contrasting their own cultural heritage with that of Berlin.

“I learnt a great deal about German culture and history and its parallels with my own, as well as forming new friendships on both sides of the Channel.” (UK participant)

Back from Berlin…

Since returning from the youth conference, our participants have been busy spreading the word in their schools and local communities about what they learnt during their time in Berlin, as well as encouraging others to be more engaged and aware of their local heritage, and sharing ideas on how to protect this for future generations.

Watch this space to find out what they get up to!