Sustainable space for meeting, discussion and collaboration - REACH

Monday 02 January 2017

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The upcoming three-year REACH project will establish a Social Platform as a sustainable space for meeting, discussion and collaboration by a wide-ranging network of development bodies, tourism, education, creative industries, policy-makers, cultural heritage professionals, academic experts, arts practitioners, professionals in archives and galleries, and associations, local societies and interest groups representative of non-professionals– all those with a stake in research and practice in the field of culture and cultural heritage (CH).

The REACH Social Platform’s activities will have a twofold scope:

Support: to map and provide analysis of research results achieved in previous programmes, to identify current and emerging research trends, and to offer authoritative new knowledge of the CH field to the European Commission and policy-makers

Coordination: to offer benefits to its participants, expanding knowledge of complementary research and practice domains, and of new methodologies, generating opportunities for cooperation, offering pathways to wider user-engagement with research and practitioner outputs

In the context of radical social changes taking place at all levels – from the local to the global - , Europe faces a serious challenge: the need for its citizens to live together in peace and mutual respect and to value and enjoy the diversity of cultures across society. The REACH project is based on the proposition that CH plays an important role in contributing to social integration in Europe, and that a fuller and more detailed picture of the range, type and impact of research and participatory research methodologies, current and future, associated with these subjects will further enhance their potential for social good.

The act of reflection – on who we are, on what we do, on our values, our roots and our histories – is a crucial part of establishing our identities, of managing the conduct of our daily lives as social beings and hence of building a society which is peaceful, inclusive and integrated. CH is a vital element in the reflective process: it is an instrument both for exploring questions of identity and for overcoming barriers to mutual understanding and tolerance. However, such a role for CH is often a contested one with, for example, arguments for economic value opposing those for intrinsic value or arguments for localism challenging those for pan-national ‘Europeanisation’.

The REACH Social Platform will create tools and instruments to trigger the debate on how participatory approaches can contribute to develop a common horizon of understanding and trigger social innovation processes.