Rethinking heritage accessibility: the AHEAD manifesto


A new European network for heritage experience design

With the project AHEAD – Accessible Heritage Experiences for Audience Development, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme, Melting Pro is leading a new international consortium to promote accessible and engaging experiences around cultural heritage.

After its launch in November 2023, the project brought the partners together in Rome last January with the aim of laying the foundations for a network of professionals interested in designing heritage experiences in terms of accessibility, openness, and involvement of people. The AHEAD consortium then drew up a manifesto to make explicit the vision, values and paradigms of activation towards greater accessibility of heritage, offering networking and training opportunities.

In line with previous research and applications, Melting Pro returns to work on audience development as a process of listening, inclusion and empowerment that requires the adoption of a human-centered approach across professionals involved in heritage valorisation. In order to achieve this goal, new skills and mindsets are needed, which AHEAD intends to develop by creating a capacity-building process that will integrate audience studies with heritage interpretation, communication and branding with impact assessment, in a methodological framework based on experience design.

As made explicit in the AHEAD manifesto, the aim is to provide heritage professionals with know-how and tools to innovate cultural participation practices, thus contributing to the creation of opportunities for social, cultural, and economic growth. Around this model of participatory development of the public, the project will aggregate a community of operators able to transform museums, parks, and archaeological sites into places where every citizen can feel they belong, places capable of listening and involving communities in the process of value creation.

Read the manifesto an join the AHEAD network