Be.CULTOUR stands for “Beyond CULtural TOURism: heritage innovation networks as drivers of Europeanisation towards a human-centred and circular tourism economy”. It expresses the goal to move beyond tourism through a longer-term human-centred development perspective, enhancing cultural heritage and landscape values.



The scopes of the Be.CULTOUR project will be achieved through a set of specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-constrained (SMART) specific objectives


The overarching goal of Be.CULTOUR is to co-create and test sustainable human-centred innovations for circular cultural tourism through collaborative innovation networks/methodologies and improved investments strategies.

Targeting deprived, remote, peripheral or deindustrialized areas and cultural landscapes as well as over-exploited areas, local Heritage innovation networks will co-develop a long-term heritage-led development project in the areas involved enhancing inclusive economic growth, communities’ wellbeing and resilience, nature regeneration as well as effective cooperation at cross-border, regional and local level.

To build a Community of Practice of 6 pilot regional ecosystems and a Community of Interest with 12 “mirror ecosystems” in EU and non-EU countries actively engaged in knowledge-sharing and exploitation of Be.CULTOUR’s approach, methodology, tools, and innovative solutions for sustainable and circular cultural tourism.

To co-develop 6 Action Plans for sustainable and circular cultural tourism by establishing collaborative “Heritage innovation networks” in 6 pilot regions in Northern-Central and Southern Europe, the Balkans, the Eastern neighbourhood and the Mediterranean.

To co-develop, prototype and test human-centred and place-specific product, process and service innovations for sustainable and circular cultural tourism in pilot heritage sites.

To provide policy recommendations for more effective use of European Structural Investment Funds (ESIFs) and other EU funds to support cultural tourism innovation ecosystems in pilot and mirror regions, and develop a proposal of evolution of ESIFs through synergies with other public funds.

To contribute to deepen cultural Europeanisation through information and educational activities focused on the European history, identity and culture expressed in tangible and intangible cultural heritage and cultural landscapes, developing European Cultural Routes and European Heritage Labels in pilot heritage sites.


Be.CULTOUR project Coordinator is the Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development, National Research Council of Italy (CNR-IRISS). The Be.CULTOUR Consortium comprises 15 partners, covering EU and non-EU Countries


The Consortium includes research organisationsprovincial and regional authorities,consultancies specialized in financial services, NGOs, municipalities, non-profit organizations, as well as umbrella organizations representing respectively local and regional governments (ERRIN and ICLEI). 


Be.CULTOUR will achieve its ambitious objectives through a set of coordinated innovation actions built around a structured human-centred design innovation process, involving pilot and “mirror” regions


The methodology of the project will follow four main steps, reflecting the general articulation of the design process: 1. Exploration phase (M1-12); 2. Action Plans and Concepts co-design phase (M13-18); 3. Co-development phase(M19-20); 4. Deployment phase (M21-36).


Be.CULTOUR will achieve its objectives and impacts through a stepwise approach, which is based upon 4 stages, as outlined in the Section 1.3.2. The Work Plan is broken down into 6 Work Packages (WPs)


This is summarized and visualized in Figure “Work Plan”, which provides an overview of the main building blocks of Be.CULTOUR.

Infographis WPs 2

Innovation areas

Be.CULTOUR innovation areas reflect potential unique seeling points for the territories


Be.CULTOUR innovation areas reflect potential unique seeling points for the territories:

Immersive experience of places combining new ways of enjoying and learning about intangible cultural heritage–such as local gastronomy, wine, craft, music, language, history and traditional skills –with a more intimate and reflexive inner journey. Sensorial heritage experience includes learning and educational activities addressed to all age groups to get in contact more deeply with the local culture and traditions through their intangible heritage expressions using the five senses.

Pilot: Vojvodina, Serbia

Contemporary interpretation of cultural heritage sites through artistic creation, linking past and future perspectives and re-generating heritage “intrinsic value”, its meanings and sense, while generating intense emotional experience addressing citizens and visitors at the same time; also, developing new forms of heritage enjoyment suchas gamification and virtual travel experience, creative and unconventional story-telling for example co-developed involving residents, and augmented ways to enjoy cultural heritage such as augmented reality and immersive hybrid digital-physical experience.

Pilot: Basilicata, Italy

Religious heritage appreciation intertwined with nature enjoyment, joining physical and spiritual health enhancement. This includes pilgrimage routes, spiritual retreats, and other diverse ways to regenerate and conserve religious heritage places, promoting the value of religious heritage by raising public interest and encouraging community engagement in the conservation and safeguarding of Europe’s religious heritage.

Pilot: Romania-Moldova, Cross-Border Region

Nature can be perceived as cultural heritage by exploring the meanings and values of natural areas, their “genius loci” recognized over centuries and millennia. Natural heritage includes also, for example, the cultural meanings attributed to the view of the sky in local cultures, often linked with mythology and traditional practices, as in astro-tourism experiences promoted by starlight reserves initiatives. Moreover, local biodiversity, as autochthonous flora and fauna species, and/or important geologic areas, can become symbols of a territory and thus part of the cultural identity of local communities. Enjoying “nature as heritage” means also developing eco-tourism, trekking, sports, active & adventure experiential tourism solutions in natural heritage sites.

Pilot: Teruel, Spain

Innovative ways to create an audience for industrial heritage sites as iconic architecture places and “modern cathedrals” telling the history of European flourishing manufacturing. Industrial revolutions have always generated deep cultural changes in society, while they have been also oriented by scientific and cultural evolutions. The types of industries and manufacturing activities in diverse European territories have profoundly influenced local culture and history, for example, coal, mining, textile industries, while they have stimulated the development of arts and design, as in the European Bauhaus, generating iconic architectures and products. European industrial heritage represents a unique testimony of this creativity, while the visit to contemporary innovative craft/production places could be enhanced as ‘real world’ cultural experiences, also stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit and promoting responsible entrepreneurial culture

Pilot: Västra Götaland, Sweden

In addition to the Innovation Areas highlighted in the pilot territories, Be.CULTOUR Consortium has identified a set of cross-cutting Annovation Areas that will be explored as potentially impact sectors for cultural tourism:

Homeworking has been one of the primary effects of the pandemic. As the situation pursued, an increasing number of workers, especially creative and cultural industry workers, have started to look for remote working destinations. Some authorities and organisations in charge of tourism are looking into long-term attraction of this visitor’s segment, hoping that this trend will stay beyond the long-tail of the pandemic in order to support local economies without displacing any permanent residents’ jobs.

Another impact of the pandemic is the increasing trend of so-called proximity tourism, also known as “staycation”: this is a practice that consists of travelling close-by to one’s daily environment. Citizens re-discover nearby cultural and natural sites, becoming “tourist at home”. What motivated travellers to pick this option, is the willingness to rediscovering a place in a different way, organising various tourist activities, living unusual experiences and responding to a need for a break from everyday life while remaining in an environment close to home.

Explore different forms of alternative travel which aim to discover authentic ‘unusual’, “un-exceptional”, ordinary / ‘daily life’ places, which are not included in conventional cultural tourism itineraries, but can be representative of the authentic, ‘real’ cultural life of places, also discovering particular places in which social and cultural innovation is developed by active local organizations, artists and innovators, turning visitors into ‘temporary residents’. This includes also providing new ways to integrate visitors and residents daily life, promoting for example locals guides and/or unconventional digital guides able to enlighten ‘ordinary’ places through alternative itineraries, creative interpretation and unusual/engaging storytelling.

Be.CULTOUR promotes CULTURAL TOURISM “FOR ALL” and EUROPEAN IDENTITY as cross-cutting innovation areas.

Cultural tourism “for all” is based on human-centred, inclusive products and services addressing people with special needs.

European identity includes stimulating cultural Europeanisation through educational and recreational activities, as well as through the development of European Cultural Routes and European Heritage Labels.

Cultural Europeanisation focuses on a shared sense of belonging based on the common history and cultures expressed in tangible and intangible cultural heritage and landscapes.

Community of Practice

A Community of Practice (CoP) can be defined as ‘groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.’ (Wenger et al., 2002).


As illustrated in Figure, each Community of Practice focuses on a specific domain of knowledge, builds a concrete community of individuals and facilitates a common practice.

The concept of the Community of Practice is based on the need of individuals to gather in social learning networks to exchange information, tackle common problems, improve performance, reach personal or collective objectives and maximise the impact of their activities. Therefore, a CoP is more than codified knowledge (eg. a website, toolkit or database). It refers to a living system that flourishes upon the interactions taking place within as people ‘learn together, build relationships, and in the process develop a sense of belonging and mutual commitment’ (Wenger et al., 2002). In CoPs, ‘belonging is enacted through the mutual engagement, sharing of repertoires, and negotiation of the joint enterprise(s)’ (Iverson, 2011) to tackle problems and topics they care about.

Although this practice is ancient, forming translocal Communities of Practice across a large geographical region, such as the European Union, has been catalysed by digital transformations enabling individuals that share common interests and concerns to find each other, meet, exchange and take action on an unprecedented scale (Weber, 2016). In the framework of EU projects, CoP frameworks have enabled to strengthen rural-urban linkages (ROBUST), the deployment of major citizen science experiments (GROW Observatory and WeObserve), community-led action for sustainable and just cities (UrbanA) as well as experimentation with participatory governance models (Municipalities in Transition). Such examples, as well as the Heritage Innovation Partnerships (HIPs) developed in the CLIC project were studied in terms of community agreements, processes and tools applied, in order to develop the Be.CULTOUR Community of Practice Framework.

In the case of Be.CULTOUR the Community of Practice constitutes one of the four levels of engagement in the broader Be.CULTOUR Community.

Purpose & Objectives

The purpose of the Be.CULTOUR CoP is “to foster regional development through circular cultural tourism”. Based on a co-creative exercise implemented during the first online Community Meetup held on April 22nd, 2021, the following objectives have been identified by the CoP members:


  • Meet like-minded professionals interested in circular cultural tourism across Europe
  • Share common challenges and create new opportunities


  • Gain theoretical knowledge and discover best practices in circular cultural tourism
  • Learn about human-centred design and experiment with participatory approaches and co-creation methodologies in online and offline spaces
  • Get insights about the implementation of different Work Packages (Data, Policy & Financing, Prototyping etc.)
  • Engage in Peer-Learning activities with Local Coordinators from 6 Pilot and 12 Mirror Heritage Sites


  • Develop Action Plans to foster regional development through circular cultural tourism
  • Establish local Heritage Innovation Networks actively engaging stakeholders from public, private, academic and civil society sectors
  • Co-create innovative products, services and processes



Iverson J.O. (2011). Knowledge, belonging, and Communities of Practice. In: Canary H.E., McPhee R.D. (eds), Communication and Organizational Knowledge: Contemporary Issues for Theory and Practice. New York: Routledge, 45–52.

Weber E. (2016). Building Successful Communities of Practice, Google Books.

Wenger E., McDermott R., Snyder W.M. (2002). Cultivating Communities of Practice. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

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