European Conference
on Heritage Interpretation

Joint conference of Interpret Europe with AHI,
the UK Association for Heritage Interpretation,
from 3-6 October 2017 in Inverness, Scotland

Conference website: www.interpreteuropeconference.net

Making connections: Re-imagining landscapes is the theme. Join us from 3 to 6 October 2017 in Inverness, capital of the Scottish Highlands, and enjoy roaring stags, late running salmon and a warming whisky with old friends and new.

Communicating the values we bring to, but also take from, our landscapes is a vital task for heritage interpreters; be this in the wilder uninhabited regions or in cultural landscapes inhabited by humans for millennia. The European Landscape Convention recognises the strategic importance that landscape now holds. Heritage interpretation is uniquely placed to support an integrated view of landscape, weaving together natural and human heritage. This conference will highlight the power and potential of our multi-disciplinary approach in enabling people to find meaning, value and ownership in landscapes, past, present and future.

We will look at:

  1. Landscapes as a meeting place
    Landscapes allow us to discover new meanings; in ourselves, in other people and in the environment. We shall consider the role of interpretation in creating connections with nature, with people or with place.
  2. Landscapes for life support and livelihoods
    Landscapes supply essential natural resources, including air, water, food, timber and minerals. Human use of these resources shape the landscapes. We will examine interpretation that explores people’s connections with the physical aspects of landscape.
  3. Landscapes as wilderness
    Landscapes provoke powerful responses. The idea of ‘the wild' has captivated people for generations, through folk stories to modern tourism; influencing music, literature and philosophy. What are wild landscapes and how are they changing? What do concepts of wilderness or wildness mean and how is wilderness being protected? We shall reveal interpretation projects that explore wild landscapes and what they mean for people and society.

Along with the usual keynotes and parallel sessions there will be a selection of full day visits - the hardest task will be deciding which trip to take! These will include:

  • Cairngorms National Park – the largest National Park in the UK covering 4,500 sq km and home to 17,000 people. With 50% of the Park protected by Natura 2000, it is a model for engagement of local communities. The Park has a strategic approach to interpreting its heritage values, with partner organisations and communities sharing the same messages to 1.6 million visitors.
  • Beinn Eighe and Knockan Crag National Nature Reserves (NNR) – both these sites are in the mountainous and scenically stunning North West Highlands. Both sites have recently upgraded interpretation. Beinn Eighe, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is the oldest NNR in the UK and has been actively welcoming visitors for nearly 50 years. Knockan Crag, one of the World’s most important locations for understanding the geology of our planet, has outstanding geological interpretation.  
  • World renowned landscapes around Loch Ness, including the historic Urquhart Castle. We will also visit the battlefield of Culloden with its evocative visitor centre telling the story of how this battle changed the cultural landscape of the Highlands of Scotland forever.

Inspiring presentations and visits, provoking keynotes and the chance to share experiences with interpretive colleagues from around the World - this is an event not to be missed!

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage