12 Aug 2022

Kilkenny asked to consider sustainability and biodiversity when planning for National Heritage Week

Heritage Week 2022

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The Heritage Council has called on heritage newcomers, enthusiasts and experts of all ages from across Kilkenny to focus on sustainable heritage and biodiversity when registering in-person events and digital projects for inclusion as part of National Heritage Week 2022.

Taking place from August 13-21, National Heritage Week was launched by Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan on Monday. The launch took place in Nano Nagle Place, Cork, which recently received the Council of Europe Museum Prize.

One of Ireland’s largest annual cultural events, National Heritage Week makes a full return to in-person events this year. However, following a hugely successful pivot to an online-only format during the pandemic, which saw record-breaking participation across the country, digital projects will again be accepted and showcased online, to sustain the high level of interest in National Heritage Week among the public.

When responding to this year’s theme of sustainable heritage and biodiversity, in-person event and digital project organisers are encouraged to have an open mind. Events and projects might involve the preservation of native species of plants and animals and their habitats; explore sustainable farming practices; contribute to urban greening and community gardening initiatives; research an element of the Irish landscape to increase local and national appreciation and preservation; grow native plants or foods; practice foraging; or use traditional recipes or cooking methods.

 Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan said: “Given the urgency of the biodiversity emergency and the pressure that nature in Ireland is under, it is welcome to see the Heritage Council adopt biodiversity as one of the themes for National Heritage Week 2022. At the National Biodiversity Conference earlier this month, the Taoiseach said that it’s time for a ‘new era of stewardship’ of the natural world. With this in mind, I’d like to encourage groups and organisations across the country to think about the nature-related events that they could run in their communities, and submit them for inclusion in the National Heritage Week programme. Our natural heritage is precious, and protecting and conserving it is something that everyone can take part in and enjoy.”

As well as natural heritage and biodiversity, in-person event and digital project organisers are encouraged to view built and cultural heritage through the lens of sustainability. This might involve identifying a skill or tradition that has been passed from generation to generation, within or between families or communities. Such skills or traditions might include the practice of historic building techniques such as thatching or dry-stone wall building; engaging with artistic heritage such as tin smithing, stonework, textile creation, or other crafts; celebrate the Irish language or Irish culture through history, music, folklore or dance.

Participation in National Heritage Week is open to individuals, families, communities and organisations. New and experienced heritage enthusiasts alike are encouraged to get involved.

CEO of the Heritage Council, Virginia Teehan said: “A thread that runs throughout National Heritage Week and the wider work of the Heritage Council is to maximise interest, meaningful inclusion and heritage sharing. We are appealing to in-person event and digital project organisers to consider and involve groups or individuals in their community who might not have local roots, or who might have sensory or accessibility needs. Similarly, organisers might work with minority community members to explore a previously-overlooked aspect of local heritage and amplify its story.”

In-person events and digital projects should be completed in time for National Heritage Week (13th – 21st August) and submitted via Digital projects can be uploaded to the National Heritage Week website until Tuesday, August 23. The National Heritage Week website, including the portal for submitting events and projects, is now fully available in Irish and organisers who wish to are encouraged to submit their submissions in Irish.

In-person events may consist of walking tours, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, craft workshops or other interactive activities. Digital project formats may vary from online talks or exhibitions, to videos, podcasts, presentations or blogs, a dedicated website or social media account.

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