The new Network for Religious Heritage will be launched on 17 September and aims to bring together academics, churches, museums, secular church foundations and government bodies and promote a dialogue between all of these parties. It also aims to pique the interest of the next generation in the important theme of religious heritage. Over the next two years, workshops, internships and a summer school will be organized in locations all across the Netherlands to connect teaching, research and the practical field. The Network for Religious Heritage was founded by the Centre for Religion and Heritage at the University of Groningen, together with renowned Dutch and international partner organizations, universities and universities of applied sciences.
The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) has agreed to support the Network for Religious Heritage with a grant of over €60,000, because the RCE believes the new platform will be able to help raise awareness of the tremendous societal challenge, in which young people and degree programmes could play a meaningful role through their expertise and qualities,’ explained Jorien Kranendijk, programme secretary/project leader for the Future of Religious Heritage at RCE.
Prof. Todd Weir, Director of Centre for Religion and Heritage, added: ‘We agree with the Cultural Heritage Agency that there should be more focus on the cultural significance of church buildings that become ‘heritage’, and so are given a mixed-use designation rather than being designated exclusively for religious purposes. Who determines the significance these buildings have for communities and for society as a whole?’
‘The answers to those questions will be fundamentally different to beliefs held in the past’, explained Paul Ariese of partner organization Reinwardt Academy. ‘Updating religious heritage is a multidisciplinary project. The Reinwardt Academy firmly believes in pooling teaching, research and field expertise within the Religious Heritage Network.’
For two years, starting on 17 September, the Religious Heritage Network, backed by the Cultural Heritage Agency, will be offering workshops for students and other interested parties on a wide range of topics. In the academic year 2020/2021, for example, workshops will be taught on the themes of New (Religious) use of an old Village Church (22 September, Jorwert), Heritage Education of the Future (6 October, Garmerwolde), Migrant Churches and Church Buildings (November), Perspectives on Maria Magdalene (17 December, Groningen) and Religious Objects in the Context of Museums (28 January, Amsterdam). A summer school will also be organized, and it is possible to make arrangements for a research internship via the contacts in the Network.
On 17 September between 12 noon and 1 p.m., the official online launch of the Network will take place with presentations and discussions. Students and other interested parties from all over the country are invited to become acquainted with the Network and to find out more about the workshops and other activities. You can sign up for the kick-off meeting and for the workshops via this link . Should you have any questions then please contact project coordinator Dr Jacobine Gelderloos.
The Network for Religious Heritage includes the following organizations:
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