European Cultural Heritage: Opportunities for citizens’ Engagement and Social inclusion

Network of Towns


Throughout 2018, we are celebrating our diverse cultural heritages across Europe -at EU, national, regional and local level. The aim of the “2018: European Year of Cultural Heritage”is to encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe’s cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space. The slogan for the year is:
Our heritage: where the past meets the future
The year sees a series of initiatives and events across Europe to enable people to become closer to and more involved with their cultural heritages. Cultural heritageshapes our identities and everyday lives. Cultural heritage has a universal value for us as individuals, communities and societies. What is more, our heritage has a key role to play in building the future of Europe. That is one reason why we want to reachout to young people, in particular, during the European Year.
Cultural heritage comes in many shapes and forms: tangible–for example arts, buildings, monuments, artefacts, clothing, historic towns, archaeological sites; intangible–practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills ; natural–landscapes, flora and fauna ; digital–resources that were created in digital form, for example digital art or animation.
The European Union, as well as the local authorities, have an important role to play, working with Member States, to safeguard and enhance Europe’s cultural heritage. Cultural heritage enriches the lives of citizens and helps to build a stronger and more cohesive society, but it is also economically important, providing employment and social entrepreneurship opportunities.
The last Euro-Barometer (466)on Cultural Heritage shows that a large majority of the Europeans take pride in cultural heritage, and agree it can improve quality of life and a sense of belonging to Europe.
More than three quarters of respondents in each EU Member State agree that culture and cultural exchanges should have a very important place in the EU, so that citizens from different Member States can learn more from each other and feel more European.
Our European Cultural Heritage is not only an opportunity for the social inclusion and the European Cohesion but it can become a chance for the disadvantaged citizens.


This measure, the “Networks of towns”, is providing funding to municipalities and associations working together on a common theme in a long term perspective and wishing to develop networks of towns to make their cooperation more sustainable.
INTEGRA ONLUS, an Italian NGO, representing in this projectthe Municipality of Cefalù (Sicily),was established in 2003. It works in the field of migration policies, making use of highly qualified and multidisciplinary Italian and migrant professionals, capable of giving significant and specific responses to the socio-cultural problems of the entire national territory.
According to its Statute, the aims of the Association are:

  • to promote the integration of all migrants;
  • to develop a series of initiatives, working with multicultural methods, to increase exchanges, solidarity and integration;
  • to spread the knowledge of the culture of migrants in the perspective of dialogic reciprocity with the cultures of the hosting territory, increasing the socio-cultural and economic cooperation between Italy and the respective countries of belonging;
  • to defend, promote, preserve and develop by every means and method the protection and enhancement of culture, art, music, entertainment and sport in all its forms and expressions, also in productive, social and economic reflections, for the integration of all the cultures existing in the territory;
  • to act as a center of meeting and aggregation in the name of civil and cultural interests, fulfilling the social function of maturation and human and civil growth.

With this project, Integra Onlus and Association Italiens Guadeloupe (AIG) aim to foster European cooperation on the essential link between the inclusion of disadvantaged citizens (refugees, asylum seekers, NEETd, isolated elderly people, people under risk of poverty and social exclusion in general), the European cohesion and the valorisation of the European Cultural Heritage.


Give the (disadvantaged) Citizens the tools for taking actively part to the construction of EU policies and create intercultural initiatives for the Valorisation of the European Cultural Heritage (ECH), as tool for inclusion and cohesion for the small communities, especially in rural,peripheral and deprived areas.

Target group

Mainly disadvantaged Citizens, but not only.

Methodology /Project framework

  • Analysis of thestate of artof the Cultural Heritage(CH) inthe partner communities;
  • creation of participation spaces, where public authorities and other stakeholders can work together for the valorization of the ECH;
  • Exchange of good practicesand analysis of theEU policiesfor the ECH: What is the EU doing for the CH of and in the small and peripheral towns? How could simple citizens valorise the local Cultural Heritage with a European dimension and contribute to the improvement of the social inclusion?
  • Launch of a “Contest of Ideas”, in order to collect small/medium sized project draft for the valorization of the ECH (tangible, intangible, natural and digital), as identified in the partner communities; the applicants can be International informal groups of citizens;
  • Establishment of a Pool of experts, who could support the development of the best ideas for the valorization of the ECH.
  • Start-up support to the best ideas and launch at International level.

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