10 September 2018

Brazil: Education as the basis of cultural heritage preservation

As of March, Brazil and the Netherlands have been working together on an educational project to promote the preservation of shared cultural heritage in the northeast of Brazil, and thus lay the foundation for a Unesco World Heritage Site nomination.

Awareness through education
The project includes several schools in the vicinity of three 17th-century former Dutch forts in the state of Pernambuco: Forte Brum, Cinco Pontas and Santa Cruz de Itamaracá (Forte Orange). Its aim is to strengthen the local communities’ relation with shared cultural heritage and encourage its preservation. Using a carefully developed educational method, public school teachers engage their pupils and community members in interactive games and activities in order to raise awareness. For example, children took care of each other’s self-made paper forts in a handicraft assignment, while a special workshop for illiterate persons was designed to acquaint them with shared cultural heritage. Other activities have included excursions to the forts and an assignment in which participants created an inventory of the cultural heritage in their own neighbourhoods.

Further training
The school teachers also received extra training, both on cultural heritage and on how to teach children creatively. Thanks to this further training, they can now integrate cultural heritage into the regular school curriculum. Other classes and teachers have expressed their enthusiasm and interest in joining the project. The project will continue over the course of 2018. So far it has included a variety of people from all walks of society and has laid a firm basis for the candidacy of the Brazilian Fortresses Ensemble as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The project is supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Brasilia and executed by AMUC (Associação dos Amigos do Museu da Cidade do Recife) and IPHAN (the state institute for cultural heritage in Brazil).