HeritageHack: Be creative with cultural heritage!


Taking heritage one step further.

Idrija 2020 Association organizes a 3-day HeritageHack between 13th and 15th March with the financial support of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.

What happens when a young sociologist, a linguist, an architect, a tourist guide and a marketeer decide to rethink the cultural heritage of their small former mining town, nowadays a UNESCO World Heritage Site? The story of the Idrija 2020 Association is the story of elevating cultural heritage into new dimensions. It is the story of creating new stories attracting the young and bringing people together. It took place, this story, on a local level, however, it has not failed to encompass European perspective.

It was 2012, and the global economic crisis – that hit Slovenia with a delay – was in full swing. Our student years have been ending and so did our engagement in a local student club. We, young enthusiasts, have successfully transferred initiated projects, such as a film festival, literary evenings, weekend concerts, and know-how to a new generation that was about to take them to a whole new level with new contents and larger audiences. Although we were about to enter the job market and ‘adult life’, we still wanted to contribute to our hometown, a rather small former mining (and today UNESCO World Heritage Site) town of Idrija in the west of Slovenia.

But how to contribute in a meaningful way? How to create an impact?, were thus the main questions that we wanted to address. The five of us, a sociologist, a linguist, an architect, a tourist guide and a marketer, all highly educated and native to this small town, have established Idrija 2020 Association with a mission to tackle the biggest challenge of UNESCO town Idrija: brain drain. We have built on a study with 330 young participants we conducted in 2011. This study identified three main reasons behind the outmigration of youth: 1) lack of jobs that match young people’s aspirations and education (80 % of jobs are in industry, contrary to most metropolitan cities with high shares of services), 2) young people have no place to meet and create their own programme, and 3) municipal (youth) policies do not deal with youth topics and problems.

We invite the young between 18 and 30 to tackle the challenges of cultural heritage in Idrija in an innovative way. Prior knowledge is not required. The focus will be on Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Architecture. The best ideas will be generously rewarded!

The Deadline: 29th February 2020

For more information visit their website here.

Don’t forget to confirm your attendance here.

European Dimension

Despite the seemingly very local nature of our activities, we always had in mind the bigger picture. Years before the European Cultural Heritage Strategy for 21st Century we have spontaneously lived it – we, young inhabitants surrounded by cultural heritage, have always felt that cultural heritage has more dimensions – from cultural, social, to economic and environmental. Moreover, for us, cultural heritage was never just ours – it was everybody’s, firstmost it was of miners and mining families of Idrija, but it was also numerous scientists and engineers coming from Central Europe to work in Idrija, of people of Almaden (Spain), of Monte Amiata (Italy), of Luis San Potosi (Mexico), of Banska Stiavnica (Slovakia), of Vienna (Austria), of Trbovlje, Zagorje, Jesenice (Slovenia), of all the mining towns in the world, of mercury marketplaces such as Amsterdam and Antwerp, of ports of Trieste, Genova, Malaga and Cadiz, of those that experienced the destructive power of mercury such as Minamata (Japan) …It is of everyone on the world.

Idrija’s heritage is unique, but an integral part of common European and world heritage. Our heritage of mercury made possible the Baroque, the rise of European banking, advancement in alchemy and later chemistry and physics, new discoveries in medicine and Botanics, and development of European capitals, but also led to enslavement and annihilation of several indigenous tribes and nature exploitation of Americas, destroyed thousands of miners’ families and left a dark stain on nature. When one sees its cultural heritage in this light, one becomes a humanist, a European. We acknowledged this in all of our activities – by inviting people of 7 nationalities to shape the vision for this small town, by featuring foreign lacemakers in our magazine, by linking lacemaking to great traditions of textile industry in the north of Italy, by including groups of all backgrounds, especially minorities and people with disabilities …

Idrija 2020 Association, a parent organization of Id20, unites and provides networking opportunities for more than 40 young activists and supporters. Founded in 2012, its aim has been to develop youth sector and youth policies in the spheres that go beyond the conventional youth programs: local strategic development, entrepreneurship, revitalization of heritage, all with the mission to develop Idrija into a youth-friendly municipality.

Idrija 2020 co-founded Id20 Institute to research, promote and support other organizations and individuals in taking one step further in the innovation of cultural heritage.