SoPHIA (Social Platform for Holistic Heritage Impact Assessment)is a H2020 program which took place in 2020 and 2021 aims to promote collective reflection within the cultural and political sector in Europe on the impact assessment and quality of interventions in European historical environment and cultural heritage at urban level.
Since the second half of the 20th century, culture, and cultural heritage, have undergone a profound mutation through which both their position and role in social dynamics have been transformed. These transformations require an overarching synthesis of the components that represent the criteria by which we understand impact on CH.
SoPHIA, a H2020 program which addresses impact assessment on cultural heritage interventions, was based on the understanding that culture and cultural heritage have strong impacts on society, in terms of social inclusion, integration and sustainable human development. Milestones in the drafting of the program were the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (into force since 1 June 2011), widely known as the Faro Convention. The Faro Convention represents a step forward as it acknowledges the concept that the use of cultural heritage falls between the rights of the individual to come into the cultural life of the community and enjoy the arts, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, thus enabling citizens and communities to play an active role in recognizing the values of cultural heritage. In addition, it invites States to promote participatory processes, based on synergies between public institutions, private citizens, and associations. The fundamentally innovative element of the Faro Convention is precisely that it shifts attention from the object – cultural heritage – to the subject, citizens and community. Indeed, the Convention sees in the participation of citizens and communities the key to increase awareness in Europe about the value of cultural heritage and its contribution to well-being and the quality of life. Its key points are, therefore, the notion of cultural heritage as a common good; the definition of “community of inheritance” and the concept of value as a social construct.
Further information on SoPHIA available at the official website of the platform