A story of three expert meetings

Meetings for the Revintage projects were held in all three partner countries of the Netherlands, Portugal, and Malta. They involved experts in aspects of built heritage preservation, who reviewed our plans for the curriculum and provided comments. They included representatives of VET programs and experts on built heritage and recent interiors.

In The Netherlands, during discussions with various experts – including Jorn Konijn from the Van Eesteren Museum, Kees Somer and Eloy Koldeweij from the State Department of Cultural Heritage (RCE), Martin Bellers from RIBO ROC Twente (VET), and Samantha Wouters from ROC Amsterdam (VET) – valuable insights were gathered regarding the proposed curriculum.

Jorn Konijn emphasized the importance of going beyond nostalgia and interpreting the past, highlighting that interiors reflect societal values. Kees Somer and Eloy Koldeweij pointed out that tools for valuing recent interiors exist and should be applied, emphasizing the significance of personal stories and collective memories behind interior choices. Martin Bellers expressed enthusiasm for the described optional module, stating that it complements their program well and provides depth to other subjects, while Samantha Wouters found the topics interesting but considered them partly too complex for level 3/4 students, emphasizing a need for practical assignments and more hours to explore the content fully.

The experts concluded that the subject is relevant for VET education, aligns with sustainability and appreciation of the past, but the current level is generally too high. They highlighted the importance of practical application and encouraged further development of the curriculum into a comprehensive educational resource.

In Portugal a meeting was held with Ana Luís Castro (writer), João Manarte, Rodrigo Bernardin, and Rúben Sousa (architects, built heritage). The meeting commenced with an introduction to the theme, followed by reading and discussing the document titled ‘Draft 2 Report Activity 4 Revintage: Description of the curriculum (R7)’. The presentation and meeting’s report adhered to the structure of the document, with no significant comments or discussions raised.

The participants noted a renewed sense of optimism and a desire for modernity in post-war interior design, emphasizing that students who learn about this style gain a deeper understanding of design’s significance in reflecting and shaping cultural values while preserving historical artifacts. The curriculum aims to equip VET students with the ability to make well-considered decisions about the cultural heritage value of post-war interiors and engage in sustainable preservation. The importance of visiting various places such as buildings, institutions, and building companies was highlighted.

The preservation plan received positive feedback, with suggestions to prioritize value over costs and promote discussion and debate. The curriculum should emphasize the cultural importance of all professionals involved in the building industry and foster curiosity and motivation in VET students to value, preserve, and actively contribute to the built environment. The participants found the curriculum important, pertinent, and well-structured, suggesting its potential expansion to include a broader concept of ‘built heritage’. They appreciated the VET course’s focus on developing sensibility and the ability to observe, valuing it as a core strength.

Also in Malta a meeting was held with experts. The feedback on the curriculum was provided by relevant stakeholders in the Maltese context: Heritage Malta experts (Russell Muscat and Kenneth Gambin), architects specializing in post-war era (David Ellul and Kimberly Bonello) and a conservation specialist (Joseph Schirro), all also involved in VET education.

The general feedback highlighted the curriculum’s effectiveness in providing the necessary knowledge and skills for understanding and preserving cultural heritage. It was noted that the curriculum covers a comprehensive range of learning outcomes and includes case studies and site visits for practical exposure. However, some drawbacks were identified. Implementing the curriculum in Malta would be challenging, requiring smart strategies and perseverance. The adaptive re-use of post-war interiors necessitates a multi-stakeholder initiative with guidelines from the planning authority.

It was emphasized that creating policies reflecting an understanding and appreciation for post-war heritage is crucial, as there are currently no specific guidelines or legal frameworks in place. Several suggestions were made, including incorporating local historical context, policies, and regulations, as well as practical knowledge of restoration and preservation methods. Ethical considerations, emerging technologies, and community engagement were also recommended. Overall, the feedback highlighted the importance of policy priorities, local context, and practical experiences in the curriculum.

Download the complete report (Revintage Report 8 – PDF File)

Cover photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash