SoPHIA’s newly formed community of practice was convened for the first time at the Athens Virtual Workshop (AVW), hosted by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA): around 50 professionals representing a wide range of organisations, members of the Consortium and of the Advisory Board as well as stakeholders, met for an introduction to the project and to exchange knowledge and expertise regarding the issue of impact assessment of heritage interventions.

SoPHIA has collected and analysed the research literature, policy programmes and good (and bad) practices related to heritage impact assessment models and methods. This has led to the identification of existing gaps, issues and problems per each of the domains covered by the project, namely the cultural, social, economic and environmental. The input from AB members and stakeholders at the AVW has been crucial to feed and reflect on the findings during the first project phase, as well as to direct the coming steps towards the first draft of an holistic heritage impact assessment model. The model will be refined after being tested in selected case studies across Europe.

During the AVW SoPHIA’s background and context was presented, with also an overview of the project’s first research phase and an introduction to the concept of a social platform. The keynote speeches provided the setting to launch a discussion on the project’s theoretical approach and framework as well as to the gaps, issues and problems identified through the initial work on heritage impact assessment models. The format of the AVW allowed for debates in small groups around guiding questions on the innate weaknesses of impact assessment models, the lack of public consultation and the lack of a clear definition on cultural heritage. The results collected during the discussions served to pose further specific material to debate during the second day, thus providing valuable input for the project’s next phase.

From the link here below you can access the AVW Proceedings, including also the Workshop Agenda and the presentations. A series of short video extracts of the workshop’s sessions are available in the project’s website .

Click here to access the WORKSHOP PROCEEDINGS