CoHERE-Critical Heritages: performing and representing identities in Europe

The Critical Heritages (CoHERE) project, funded by the Horizon programme,  is the largest and most comprehensive study to date to explore the differences in how people, groups and institutions across Europe use the past to create a sense of belonging or non-belonging. The CoHERE project aims to identify, understand and valorise European heritages. It explores their social, political and cultural significance what they mean for people’s identities in Europe. We are interested in how and why traditions and stories about the past are presented by individuals, social groups and institutions in Europe. We are researching this across many different countries and cultural practices, from music, museums and cultural policy to language, historical re-enactment, commemorations and food. The project will influence cultural policy and help museums, heritage and cultural organisations to develop new ways of working that help people to understand different heritages and identities in Europe. It will also lead to academic publications, public exhibitions, films and public events.

In CoHERE, CIID will explore the role of digitally enabled conversations in constructing heritage identities in Europe. In particular, we examine how creative-practice digital interventions foster and sustain conversations / dialogues among museum, gallery and heritage visitors/users; we investigate how conversations and alternative models of interpersonal engagement through digital means can provide heritage institutions and communities with new means to establish conversations around sensitive topics (e.g. migration, identity, belonging etc.); and we explore how dialogic digital design methodologies can help us to imagine European heritage futures.

Our process spans three main areas:

  • Review: Literature, installation, physical site reviews and gathering knowledge about different methods whereby digital tools can sustain/encourage conversations/dialogues among MGH visitors.
  • Explore: As we review existing work in the field, we are also conceptualising new interventions. These explorations leads to paper prototypes, testing and co-design sessions. The process of prototyping and the outcomes from these prototypes yield higher-level interactive experiences to be displayed in the Living Lab Exhibition.
  • Evaluate: In this aspect of our work, we are especially focused on considering methods to evaluate interactive/digital experiences and their effect on participants.

Here our iterative prototyping activity and some of our interactive installations/workshops:

  • “Talking Mechanisms” – Prototype I. Winner of Core77 Design Awards 2017 – Strategy & Research. The workshop highlights unique and alternative approaches to design research on how to spark, stimulate and nourish dialogue on heritage-identity among different people.
  • “Reflective Devices” – Prototype II. Presented at the Click Festival.
  • “Erdi” – Prototype III. Presented at the IKEA Future Lab.
  • “The New Europe” – Prototype IV. . A participatory, interactive experience created by a team of architects, interaction designers, and cultural researchers led by CIID Research to pick you up out of the here and now and learn and listen as you create your own identity and values. “The New Europe” video


  • University of Newcastle Upon Tyne (United Kingdom)
  • Aarhus Universitet (Denmark)
  • Universiteit Van Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  • Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon (Greece)
  • Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi (Turkey)
  • Alma Mater Studiorum -Universita Di Bologna (Italy)
  • Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (Denmark)
  • Heriot-Watt University (United Kingdom)
  • Latvijas Kulturas Akademija (Latvia)
  • Europees Netwerk Culturele Centra Ivzw (Belgium)
  • Museum of The History of Polish Jews (Poland)
  • Stichting Nationaal Museum Van Wereldculturen (Netherlands)

More info at