Skip to main content

Emotion networking

Heritage and emotions are closely related. Just think about debates about slavery and colonialism or discussions on more rigorous regulation or even prohibition on (consumer) fireworks. Everyone can benefit from an increased understanding of the complex interplay of emotions and interests surrounding heritage. The Reinwardt Academie (Hester Dibbits) and Imagine IC (Marlous Willemsen) have developed a practical method for this called emotion networking.

Emotion networking and heritage wit

Emotion networking is an exercise that provides insights into complicated interplays between emotions, interests and different sorts of knowledge, and between items of heritage and people. The aim is for participants to notice changes in these relationships and to become (more) aware of the complex dynamics surrounding heritage. In this way, they develop "heritage wit", a set of competencies that enable people to relate critically to processes of heritage making and enter into dialogue, with due attention to heritage dynamics and other people's position. These skills can help us, as society, deal with the past in the present, which is often emotionally charged.

Introduction video Emotion networking


The center of expertise of the Reinwardt Academy, the Heritage Lab, provides various courses and training sessions for heritage professionals and policy makers. In collaboration with Imagine IC we offer tailor-made workshops about emotion networking and jointly organise a study day twice a year.

Tailor-made workshops

Professionals, policymakers and educators often find it difficult to explain the complex dynamics of heritage processes. To address this need, the Heritage Lab organises training sessions and workshops in heritage wit. During these sessions,

we map emotion networks based on actual heritage case studies. The training courses make participants more aware of the complex dynamics surrounding heritage formation and of their own role in it.

Every heritage question demands a different answer. That is why we tailor our sessions so that the question can be addressed in the right way. Each workshop lasts for about 3 hours, including an introduction, mind mapping and debriefing. Do you have specific wishes for a workshop? We are happy to think along with you about the possibilities.

Seminar emotion networking and heritage wit

Twice a year, we organise an emotion networking seminar. Participants learn about research into emotion networking, the projects that currently use emotion networking as a methodology and other exciting developments. They are also taught how to use emotion networking in their own practice and how to guide such sessions.


Do you have questions about booking an emotion networking workshop or would you like to know more about emotion networks or heritage wit? Please contact

Subscribe to the Heritage Lab newsletter for more information about the training courses and / or study days.


Webinar emotion networking

Curious what an emotion network session looks like? In this webinar Hester Dibbits shows the method by means of a concrete heritage case. The webinar was organized by the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication of the Erasmus University Rotterdam in collaboration with the Dutch Unesco Commission. This video is only available in Dutch.

We share the method and tools of emotion networking under a Creative Commons license:  CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Marit van Dijk

Marit van Dijk works as coordinator for the Heritage Lab and is involved as a researcher in the development of the emotion networking method. In addition, as researcher in creative methodologies, she contributes to "Imagination in Transitions", a SPRONG programme of the Center of Expertise for Creative Innovation.

Rosa Mul

Rosa is an alumna of the Reinwardt Academy and started the master Humanistic Studies at the University of Humanistic Studies in 2019. From September 2021 to April 2022 she did an internship at the research group of the Reinwardt Academy, where she researched the Emotion Networking method. She specifically examined the complexity of guiding a conversation about heritage. Rosa has been working at the research group of the Reinwardt as a junior researcher since May 2022, where she continues her research by, among other things, preparing and writing a RAAK application for November 2022.