Rethinking heritage accessibility: the AHEAD manifesto

A new European network for the design of heritage experiences

With the project AHEADĀ  – Accessible Heritage Experience for Audience Development, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme, Melting Pro is leading a new international consortium to promote accessible and engaging experiences around cultural heritage.

After launching in November 2023, the project brought together partners in Rome last January, with the aim of laying the foundations for a network of professionals interested in the design of heritage experiences in terms of accessibility, openness and involvement of people. The AHEAD consortium has therefore drawn up a manifesto with the aim of explaining the vision, values and activation paradigms towards greater accessibility of the heritage, offering networking and training opportunities.

In line with previous research and applications, Melting Pro returns to work on audience development as a process of listening, inclusion and empowerment which requires the adoption of a human-centered approach transversal to the professionals involved in valorising heritage. To achieve this objective, new skills and mindsets are needed which AHEAD intends to develop by creating a capacity building path that will integrate audience studies with heritage interpretation, communication and branding with impact assessment, in a methodological framework based on experience design.

As explained in the AHEAD manifesto, the objective is to provide cultural heritage professionals with know-how and tools to innovate cultural participation practices, thus contributing to the creation of opportunities for social, cultural and economic growth. Around this model of audience participatory development, the project will bring together a community of operators capable of transforming museums, parks and archaeological sites into places to which every citizen can feel to belong, places capable of listening to and involving communities in the value creation process.

Read the manifesto here.

To join the AHEAD network, sign the manifesto here.

To find out more and stay updated on the program visit the official website here.

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