Heritage Council invites nominations for National Heritage Week Awards
The Heritage Council has announced details of this year’s National Heritage Week Awards, inviting nominations from event organisers across Ireland.
This approach marks a change from the last two years, when all organisers were automatically entered into the running for an award, a move facilitated by the digital-only approach to National Heritage Week that was brought about by the pandemic. This year, however, following the full return of in-person events, digital project and in-person event organisers must put themselves forward for consideration for an award. Nominations for the National Heritage Awards will be open on Saturday, 13th August and close on Monday, 5th September at 5pm. A nomination form will be available on www.heritageweek.ie.
The announcement was made by Chair of the Heritage Council, Martina Moloney, who was joined by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD and Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin. National Heritage Week runs from Saturday, 13th – Sunday, 21st August and this year’s theme is sustainable heritage and biodiversity. The National Heritage Awards will be a hybrid event, taking place in October.
Speaking at the announcement, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said: “National Heritage Week is an opportunity to showcase Ireland’s wonderful heritage, while the National Heritage Week Awards offer a chance to celebrate those who work – often voluntarily and always tirelessly – to ensure its preservation and protection. I would urge National Heritage Week organisers to own and recognise their dedication and accomplishments in this regard and nominate themselves or their organisations for an award, which will be assessed by a panel convened by the Heritage Council. I wish all organisers the very best as they finalise their plans for National Heritage Week and and look forward to an exciting National Heritage Week.”
This year, there will be six award categories, together with the County Awards. Reflecting the theme of National Heritage Week this year, projects will be considered on the basis of their fulfilment of the criteria established for this year’s initiative, with a particular emphasis on sustainable heritage and biodiversity.
Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Malcolm Noonan added: “I am pleased to see the Heritage Council update the award categories for the National Heritage Week Awards, reflecting this year’s theme of sustainable heritage and biodiversity. I hope that this will encourage a meaningful response among organisers, who have an opportunity, through their digital projects and in-person events, to emphasise the importance of sustainability in all our dealings with our national heritage – be that natural, built or cultural – to ensure its survival. I am also heartened to see that organisers will be recognized for their use of environmentally-friendly event organising practices, striving for a greener National Heritage Week.”
Commenting, Chairperson of the Heritage Council Martina Moloney said: “The National Heritage Week Awards are an opportunity to showcase and celebrate the efforts of heritage newcomers, enthusiasts and experts across Ireland. With the welcome return of in-person events to National Heritage Week, we are taking this opportunity to remind organisers of in-person events and digital projects alike, that they must nominate themselves for an award and I would strongly encourage them to do so. I look forward to seeing the nominations roll in and wish all nominees the best of luck.”
Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, said: “It is so important that the significant effort organisers go through to ensure the highest quality of projects and events is recognised and rewarded. I think this year’s categories are appropriate for the times we are living in and, knowing the high standards set by organisers in years gone by, I’m sure the entrants this year will raise standards to yet another level.”
This year’s National Heritage Week Awards will comprise the county awards, as well as a number of special categories, namely:
- National Heritage Hero Award: Awarded to an individual or organisation that has demonstrated – over a substantial period of time – an outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of heritage. This award is based on nominations from the public.
- Sustainable Heritage Award: Awarded to the event or project that best demonstrated a reconnection with the skills and traditions of the past and how these can be applied to the future or passed to the next generation, or the event or project that best considered how we can conserve our rich built, cultural and natural heritage, contributing to developing a more sustainable future.
- Biodiversity Award: Awarded to the event or project that successfully encouraged a greater appreciation of our natural world or a consideration of the variety of plant and animal life in the area, and / or conservation of native species and natural landscapes, and / or that considers a resilient and sustainable future for the environment.
- Wild Child Award: Awarded to an event or project that successfully encouraged children and families to get outdoors and enjoy and explore the heritage and biodiversity in their locality; to look at the world around them differently; to open their eyes to the diverse beauty of the landscape in their area.
- Water Heritage Award: Awarded to an event or project that best explored how a canal, river, lake or sea shaped the heritage of a locality or celebrates water as an integral part of our natural heritage, as well as being a vital part of our future, or reflects on what more we can do to conserve this valuable resource. The Water Heritage Award is in association with the Local authorities Water Programme
- Sustainable and Inclusive Event Award: Awarded to an event that successfully incorporates environmentally friendly practices to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the natural world and that made a special effort to share heritage with everyone in the community, including those who are new to heritage, those who do not have local roots or those who have additional accessibility needs.
- County Award: Awarded to the best event or project in each Local Authority area based its ability to: maximise the involvement of a community in developing the project; include all age groups in your community in the project development / execution; grow awareness of an aspect of heritage in a community; or build on an existing heritage project, or heritage network in a community and consider the themes of sustainable heritage and/or biodiversity.