The CHIEF (Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe’s Future) project was about gaining insights on young people’s learning and engagement with culture and cultural heritage. Drawing on youth voices and working collaboratively with a range of actors, community groups and institutions, we aimed to build up and put forward more relevant and inclusive approaches to culture, participation and diversity.

The project aimed to understand:

– how young people make sense and engage with different aspects of culture and identity;
– whether and how their involvement with different cultural practices leads to an increased understanding of their own and others’ cultures;
– whether and how the above help young people’s active cultural participation in society.

The focus was on young people aged between 14-25. Considering the significance of informal interactions and learning processes, the research was carried-out in formal, semi-formal and informal settings.

CONTEXT: Today, the twinned ideas of respect towards minorities’ rights and cultural diversity that have been projected as values derived from the European historical experience are facing well-documented challenges. These include: the current radicalisation of young people in Europe; processes questioning the meaningfulness of the European project; and the revival of tribal identities and separatism. These processes give cause to fundamentally rethink the idea of European-ness as a culture of dialogue and mutual respect.

IMPACT: Through its research activities and social interventions, CHIEF aimed to have a substantial impact on policies and practices facilitating intercultural dialogue in Europe. It has already contributed to understanding and enhancing cultural literacy for young people, resulting in greater appreciation of diversity. The project lead to more effective use of European cultural heritage as a site of production, translation and exchange of heterogeneous cultural knowledge. Finally, it has empowered and bolstered the innovative capacities of its beneficiaries.