Letter N° 1 - January 2012



2012 – A quarter of a century of Council of Europe Cultural Routes

Dear Routes managers,

On behalf of the team of the Luxembourg Cultural Routes Institute and the secretariat of the Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes, I would like to wish you all a happy, healthy and successful year.

Just after my appointment as Director of the Institute and Executive Secretary of the Partial Agreement in November 2011, I had a unique opportunity to meet many of you at our annual Advisory Forum (https://sites.google.com/site/forumfortheculturalroutes/) on 27-28 November. I look forward to meeting others during the year at your network’s events or at meetings we’ll be holding.

A dynamic partial agreement


At the end of 2010, the Council of Europe renewed its engagement with cultural routes by creating an enlarged partial agreement, open for broad accession by countries committed to furthering the Organisation’s involvement in cultural heritage and to supporting high-quality cultural tourism for all European citizens. The current fourteen member states have expressed their readiness to give political guidance and contribute financially to the programme. With the help of all our stakeholders, including our local partners and especially with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, sponsor of the Cultural Routes Institute, we will work hard to ensure new accessions to the agreement in 2012, one of the main objectives of the 2011-2013 pilot phase. A new website will be online by the summer.


Changes for the European Cultural Routes Institute


In 2012 we will be working on a strategic plan to optimise our resources, while reviewing our internet presence and working methods and creating new visibility tools. In exchange for a little patience on your side, I promise you will soon see a marked improvement in our communication and knowledge-sharing capacities!


As you know, Michel Thomas-Penette retired as Director at the end of 2011, but we will certainly still benefit from his advice and companionship in the future in different contexts. In the New Year, Aurore Mallet decided to leave the Institute to take on new challenges in the heritage field. We will miss her and wish her every success.


A successful European partnership


The European Union, our major partner in developing concrete projects, has renewed its support with a new Joint Programme to follow up the recommendations of the 2011 study of the impact of routes networks on SME’s. This programme will serve, in particular, to produce a manual of routes management in cooperation with academics, which we hope to follow in the autumn by a training seminar - a “Cultural Routes summer school” for routes management. The Institute is also providing advice and technical support to several European Commission projects.


Working with you


Some routes are in the process of evaluation by the Institute and/or a team of independent experts selected after last year’s call. A total of no less than 24 evaluations of existing routes and new proposals have now been carried out, and will be examined by the partial agreement’s Governing Board and Bureau at meetings on 15-16 February and in April. The assessments contain very constructive guidance and practical advice for future action, and we look forward to discussing the results with each network individually.


In order to adapt our work to your needs, we will be contacting you over the coming weeks for all kinds of information. As usual every year, we will ask for notification of changes in your networks’ organisation and leadership and for your annual calendar of activities, with an indication of those which are the most important. We will also be asking for elements of your visual identity for inclusion in new communication materials. We will seek your opinion on the types of training best suited to your needs as routes managers, as well as the kind of technical resources (web, interactive tools) you think would be the most useful. I hope you will all respond to these requests and look forward to your input. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any other information or suggestions!


So all in all, a challenging and exciting 25th anniversary year ahead!


Penelope Denu

Executive Secretary, Council of Europe Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes

Director, European Institute of Cultural Routes

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