The conceptual perspective, cultural heritage has evolved towards integrated and systemic approaches developing relational models of heritage intervention.

The disciplinary perspective, cultural heritage is developing new spaces of disciplinary convergence that structure new forms of intervention and material recovery (new diagnostic and restoration technologies), protection and conservation (new mechanisms of protection and funding), and historical-social enhancement (new mechanisms of cultural appropriation) of heritage.

The institutional perspective, cultural heritage is seen as an economic asset, a space of social cohesion, and a new scenario for the development of sustainability (urban-rural) policies.

The digital perspective, the field of cultural heritage is experiencing an increase in the use of digital technologies that promote new fields of experience enabling the initiation, intensification, computerization and internationalization of cultural heritage experiences.

The governance perspective, cultural heritage has been transformed into a space of coordination between heterogeneous agents and communities based on participatory governance, promoting the transition from top-down models to bottom-up management and coordination models.


It is becoming more complex, cultural heritage trends increasingly involve heterogeneous elements. Elements such as transdisciplinarity, dynamic protection and conservation, inclusive technologies, participatory governance, public archaeology, sustainable tourism, social innovation, creative ecosystems, among other things, promote the emergence of new patterns of interaction increasing the internal complexity of heritage.

Innovation is needed, as a result of the growing internal complexity of cultural heritage, new problems and opportunities are emerging for which institutionalized cultural heritage structures are unable to offer contextualized and innovate answers.

Experimentation is required, complex problems are emerging in cultural heritage which require new solutions. Systematic experimentation can allow us to test concepts and hypotheses, create refutable evidence, provide new knowledge, develop experimental cultures, facilitate the inclusion of other perspectives, provide better justification for policy options, structure innovations, and evaluate the impact chain.


Experimentation is a process of cross-disciplinary knowledge, it connects a diversity of knowledge and integrates, tests and scales it up to make new approaches, experiences and solutions emerge.

Experimentation is based on participatory designs, it promotes multi-agent participation in the co-design, co-implementation, and co-evaluation of experimental innovations.

Experimentation fosters situated learning, it enables learning through problem solving processes in a real-life context. This perspective involves triple-loop learning (learning by doing, learning by interacting, and learning by evaluating).

Experimentation promotes transformative participation, as a systematized activity that transforms in order to learn, promotes the creation of organizations and projects that adopt, apply and multiply the principles of experimentation.

Experimentation leads to responsible innovation, it enables the small-scale investigation of the negative and positive impact of an innovation in the field of cultural heritage. Predicting the impact facilitates the application of precautionary principles on experimental innovations.

Experimentation leads to evaluation models, it allows us to predict the local impact chain (social, economic, institutional, environmental, spatial) of an innovation. Understanding impact chains makes it easier to predict the quality, effectiveness and coverage of experimental innovations in heritage.

researchers, professionals, policy makers, and citizens to sign these 8 action points to promote the experimental paradigm in cultural heritage

1. Promote experimental communities as a best practice of social knowledge governance

Experimental communities are forms of social mediation that promote a culture of participatory design, agile methodologies and responsible innovation. They promote inclusive innovations in cultural heritage through the application of experimental principles to generate innovative prototypes (co-design, quick testing and prediction of the impact chain).

2. Promote experimental inclusion as a best practice of participatory governance

Experimental inclusion refers to the development of mechanisms of transformative participation in cultural heritage. These mechanisms can help change the outlook of social groups at risk of exclusion by developing cultural competences (cultural capital), new relationships and opportunities (relational capital), and creating a sense of social and cultural identity which is often lost in situations of exclusion (social capital).

3. Promote experimental learning as a best practice of academic governance

Experimental learning is structured around hybrid learning methodologies in context, that is, through the design and testing of experimental solutions, taking into account the historical, spatial, social and cultural conditions of problems in heritage (contextualization), democratizing the forms of scrutiny (participation), and experimenting in conjunction with different stakeholders (cooperation).

4. Promote experimental sustainability as a best practice of transition management

Experimental sustainability is based on the development of transition innovations. Transition innovations are projects that test solutions whose objective is to facilitate the transition from unsustainable models to sustainable models in the field of heritage. Transition innovations are integrated in a sequenced experimentation model, which allows the management of short-term pilot projects as part of in long-term experimental cycles.

5. Promote experimentation in cultural policies as a best practice of institutional governance

Experimental policies involve the small-scale social and technological testing of new policy instruments and programmes. Experimentation in policies is an institutional process aimed at producing consensus documents on regulations, programmes or incentives in the cultural heritage sector.

6. Encourage technological experimentation as a best practice of technology governance

Technological experimentation refers to the social and technical testing of technologies applied to heritage. Technologies in heritage are not only limited to digital technologies (digital innovation) but also to social technologies (frugal innovations linked to heritage, tourism innovations), to restoration technologies (stratigraphic, etc.), to material technologies (non-invasive analytical techniques, etc.), and institutional technologies (cultural planning systems, public incentive models, mixed financing systems, etc.)

7. Encourage experimental funding as a best practice of financial governance

Experimental funding refers to the testing of different hybrid funding models and instruments (public, private and social) to explore the real behaviour of economic and institutional actors in the field of cultural heritage. Experimental funding is developed under an incremental testing model that ranges from the laboratory (micro level) to hybrid funding pilot programmes (meso level).

8. Promote experimental evaluation as a best practice of impact governance

Experimental evaluation refers to the understanding and measurement of the impact chain (social, economic, spatial, institutional, cultural and environmental) of a transition innovation. Experimental evaluation explores the technical relationship between the negative and positive effects of an innovation, and its ability to promote the transition towards a sustainable model.


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