Sunday, 16. June, 8:45

Becoming Better Interpreters and Better Citizens of the World

Ted Cable, USA

This keynote address will present ways we can become better interpreters and at the same time become better world citizens.  It will challenge interprets to “become somebody” and consider their purpose and passions.

Monday, 17. June, 8:45:
Developing Democracy through Interpretation

Mette Åskov Knudsen and Poul Hjulmann Seidler, Denmark

A common area of work and its goal for almost three decades, in developing Nature Interpretation in Denmark, has led to a remarkably well-known and strong profession. The key components have been:

Nature interpreter education - a two-year in-service education programme that has been scrutinized and developed three times with assistance from experts in different areas.

Long lasting and good cooperation among major key stakeholders: Ministry of Environment, Danish Outdoor Council and the Danish Nature Interpreters Association.

Continued development of nature Interpretation through seminars, workshops, regional networks, national and international networks.

A common dedication, profession and “pride”, has assisted the interpreters to be proactive in developing their work to be valuable for different areas and challenges in society. Health, physical and mental health, tourism, outdoor schools and development of facilities are some of the questions addressed. In addition to that the professional networks have a strong focus and interest in democracy and participation processes.

Led from Denmark, a common Nordic project aiming to develop interpretation for children and young people was carried out in 2012. Thirty handpicked interpreters from all Nordic countries brought their methods and ideas and met with experts at a workshop. It resulted in sharing of a number of interesting examples, pedagogical approaches and a higher level of understanding and reflections for all participants. The focus was participation and democratic processes in activities in urban and protected areas.

One way of understanding democracy is having a feeling of ownership – a capacity to influence your own situation and truly be a part of decision making processes. In the development of Nordic nature interpretation we want to take democracy seriously, not only in terms of environmental problems or health issues but also in terms of the nature interpretation methods.

Some of the questions raised: Are we as nature interpreters ready to involve our target groups fully in influencing our activities? What does it take? Selected statements and experiences from our Nordic project will be highlighted.


Mette Åskov Knudsen and Poul Hjulmann Seidler both work at the Center for Outdoor Life and Nature Interpretation at Forest and Landscape Copenhagen University. They are in charge of the Nature Interpreters Education Programme in Denmark and are involved in a number of developing projects and in facilitating courses and projects relating to nature interpretation and outdoor life.

Tuesday, 18. June, 17:30:
Closing keynote

James Carter, UK

The conference aims to look at how interpretation can develop ‘a shared sense of belonging’. It sets out a vision of interpretation as a vehicle for mutual understanding and for overcoming limited horizons and stereotypes.

These are lofty ambitions for a field that must work with often fleeting attention from its audience, and in a context where other influences on their attitudes are more varied than ever before. Some of those influences are increasingly partisan, and some of the limited horizons and stereotypes actively malignant.

In a presentation that closes the conference, I hope to draw together some of the threads we will have followed during the event and to see where they might lead us in future. I also want to look at what those lofty ambitions mean for the nature of interpretation – and the nature of interpreters.

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