Paris, October 20th , 2023

The consortium of Horizon-funded ARCHE project (Alliance for Research on Cultural Heritage in Europe) met between 16-18 October in Paris, on the premises of the French Ministry of Culture, in order to assess the first year of implementation and set the stage for the upcoming steps. The meetings brought together the project’s General Assembly (the prime responsible body for all of ARCHE’s scientific, research, technical, administrative, and financial issues) and Executive Board (the supervisory body for the execution of the Project), and coincided with the Steering Committee and Governing Board meetings of the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI CH).

The meetings addressed the finished and upcoming deliverables, as well as the completed and ongoing tasks. ARCHE’s first year focused on conducting a comprehensive mapping and assessment of the research and innovation landscape in cultural heritage across Europe, as well as to organising several rounds of engagement with stakeholders via four virtual workshops.

Future steps were also approached, as throughout 2024, ARCHE will organize four in-person workshops across Europe in order to refine a first, currently in-progress version of the new Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) for cultural heritage. This document is one of the project’s most important outputs, since it strives to act as a roadmap for harmonising heritage research policies across the continent in the coming years.

ARCHE partners also used this opportunity to engage with the JPI CH members and to brainstorm new ways of boosting the cooperation between the two large-scale initiatives. Besides discussing the project’s main achievements in the past year, the exchanges in Paris also addressed the future European Partnership on Resilient Cultural Heritage, for which ARCHE aims at paving the way. In this sense, the Consortium benefitted from the valuable insights offered by Irena Kowalczyk-Kedziora, Policy Officer in the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, Unit D3 – Fair Societies and Cultural Heritage, and Fabienne Gautier, Head of Unit in the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation, Unit G4 – Common Missions and Partnerships.

In addition to the plenary discussions on the progress of ARCHE, partners also engaged in smaller, thematic working sessions, that further strengthened the team spirit already present in the consortium. Arguably the most pleasant surprise of this reunion was the visit at the Musée de Cluny, which proved to be a great insight into medieval art and the relevance of museum research for the broader field of cultural heritage.

The Musée de Cluny aims to develop the research carried out on its collections and to promote them through exhibitions on medieval art and the various aspects of civilization in the Middle Ages. In addition to raising awareness on these topics amongst the French public, whether specialists or enthusiasts of the medieval world, the Musée de Cluny also promotes them within the European network of medieval art museums.

It is in this context that a project like ARCHE presents itself as being relevant for institutions such as the Musée de Cluny. ARCHE highlights the benefits of cultural heritage research for the broader society and works towards boosting the support for research activities in the field – this can only be something to look forward to, as it has the immense potential of amplifying the impact of the work conducted in museums like Musée de Cluny.

Altogether, the three days of the ARCHE and JPI CH meetings proved to be very engaging and inspiring, and the partners are very much looking forward to an intense, but rewarding second year.