We were back in Kilkenny last week, looking at more communities who we might work with on the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s Community Heritage and Cultural Interpretation Mentoring project.
The project is developing nicely. We held a lively Launch Meeting for community representatives at The Heritage Council’s headquarters to explain the project and what it offers. Hopefully by this time next week we will know who we are working with.
Then we were were hosted at another three towns – all of them brilliant, all of them different. At all of them we asked for an introduction to what makes the town special, what makes it tick. At all of them people showed us things that explained how their town had come to be what it is now, and that made it different and distinctive from the others.
Interestingly, many of our hosts had lived in the town all their lives, so had a deep connection with the place. We heard their stories and began to think about whether and how they could be shared and who with.
We asked questions about the communities and how they work now. Who lives there? What do they need? Questions like this will become more important as the work develops.
This is a process of listening. Of accepting that we do not yet know any of the answers. In fact, so far we only have initial ideas of the questions. In some of the towns we think we can see specific opportunities for heritage-based projects that will deliver community benefit. But we are still waiting to hear which, if any, of these opportunities, or other ones the communities will choose to tackle.
This is hugely exciting. For us there can be no wrong answers. All of these towns are attractive and interesting. We are excited that we will we will be working closely with some of them, learning more about them and the people who live there. This is, to quote Danny Boyle, ‘a wonderful job’.