TEMA+ European Territories: Heritage and Development programme is making European cultural heritage its new key element. The emphasis put on cultural heritage resulted from the recognition of its importance in contemporary culture on global, national and regional scales, and, within the EU. During the last decades, the academic institutionalization of Cultural Heritage Studies took various forms according to countries and disciplinary backgrounds. Now that the European dimension of heritage became an expression of contemporary identity building, it is time that is should also be inducted into higher education.
Therefore, the new TEMA+ Master Program offers a network-based approach and a critical-analytical interpretation in order to establish a current and innovative higher educational project of European Cultural Heritage Studies.
The TEMA+ aims to provide qualifications for entry into the professions in the area of European Heritage, in local, regional, national and territorial administration, in urban planning and research institutions, related to heritage and identity. In addition, the TEMA+ EMJMD seeks to create a European network of curriculum development and staff exchange among universities and research centres specialised in European Cultural Heritage studies.
Today, the relevance of the concepts of Cultural Heritage and more specifically of the concepts of Historic Urban Landscapes and European heritage is clear, and creating a strong theoretical foundation of the general field of Heritage Studies is essential. Discussing European history is clearly linked to this as well, as a good overview of European history is vital to understanding the role and meaning of European Heritage. Heritage also plays a role in European integration and European (specifically EU) policy-making, as it has become an important cornerstone of the creation of a common European identity and a common approach to heritage, not only as a ‘national heritage’, but as a shared European heritage. Understanding different identities is key to this, as within the choice and treatment of heritage local, regional, national, and European identities play an important role in determining which parts of our cultural heritage are considered to be specifically European heritage, rather than local, national or regional. Heritage can be a tool in urban and regional development, and creating a stronger conception of European Heritage can further this cause, in the same manner as the UNESCO World Heritage has done on a global level.