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2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage

Peace Bridge - Image Courtesy of Invest NI

2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage

The European Commission has designated 2018 as a Year of Cultural Heritage. It aims to encourage people to explore the rich and diverse cultural heritage across Europe, by celebrating, understanding and protecting its unique value and reflect on the place that cultural heritage occupies in all our lives.

How to get Involved?
Across the EU, the year is being co-ordinated by bodies on a national level. The North of England Civic Trust is the national co-ordinator for the UK.

Information on how to get involved, including how to use the EYCH brand and seeing what is happening throughout the UK can be found at

North of England Civic Trust
The Schoolhouse
12 Trinity Chare
Newcastle upon Tyne
T:  0191 232 9279

*In the Republic of Ireland, the European Year of Cultural Heritage is being coordinated nationally by The Heritage Council.  For further information, please visit

What is happening in Northern Ireland?
In Northern Ireland, the Historic Environment DivisionTourism Northern Ireland, and the Heritage Lottery Fund are working together to leverage opportunities presented by this initiative. The year presents the Northern Ireland Culture and Heritage Sector with the opportunity to:

  • Galvanise - Unlocking the heritage potential through enlivening the visitor offer, reinvigorating interpretation and storytelling, animating sites, creating new products, events, partnerships and ways of working
  • Use 2018 as laboratory - To learn new insights and apply these to the heritage sector
  • Use 2018 to enhance marketing content and strategies going forward - that will promote and celebrate Northern Ireland’s rich heritage.

Activity is being planned for 2018 in Northern Ireland by a range of bodies – Events will be posted on and

In addition to the programme of planned events, HED, TNI and HLF will be collaborating to pull together a programme of initiatives aimed at capacity building across the sector and building for the future - to raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a cultural heritage destination nationally and internationally.

The first initiative involves Tourism Northern Ireland, Historic Environment Division and the Heritage Lottery Fund coming together to fund an open call scheme, through HLF’s existing “Our Heritage” grant programme.

Funding for Northern Ireland’s Cultural and Heritage Sectors

A  funding pot of £400,000 has been set up to help explore Northern Ireland’s rich cultural heritage in 2018.

This new short-term funding is available to help the cultural and heritage sectors respond to the opportunities the European Year of Cultural Heritage brings and explore Northern Ireland’s heritage in a variety of new and interesting ways.

The challenge for the heritage and cultural sectors is to think about how we make more of our individual sites, things, places and stories; and work together to create a more joined up narrative, which will improve experiences for visitors (both local and from further afield).

How to Apply:

This funding is being offered to the heritage and cultural heritage sector to explore the challenges and opportunities that have been outlined in the following reports:

A Prospectus for Change:  A Strategic Framework to Unlock the Potential of Heritage – Led Tourism in Northern Ireland
An Exploratory Case:  The Potential for European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 in Northern Ireland

Details on how to apply can be found at:

Applications for projects from £10,000 to £100,000 will be accepted through the existing Our Heritage programme. We want to see what ideas are out there and how the sectors think they can best respond to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 so we are keeping the process simple. All projects must ensure:

  • All activity is carried out in 2018
  • Collaboration within or across different cultural and heritage sectors
  • Tourism expertise is part of the collaborative team
  • Proposals address the diversity of people who can engage with Northern Ireland’s heritage

If you have an idea you would like to discuss further, please contact HLF at:

For a list of upcoming EYCH Industry Events click here.

                                                          European Year of Culture and Heritage 2018