LEADING CULTURE DESTINATIONS (TBA):
HELENA EGAN LIVES AND BREATHES TRAVEl, AND TO SAY SHE HAS EXPLORED MUCH OF THE WORLD WOULD BE AN UNDERSTATEMENT. HELENA HAS WORKED IN THE TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY FOR THE PAST 20 YEARS, AND IS A SOUGHT-AFTER SPEAKER AT LEADING TRAVEL INDUSTRY SYMPOSIUMS , SUCH AS THE GLOBAL TOURISM ECONOMY FORUM. IN 2017, HELENA FULFILLED HER LIFELONG DREAM OF TRAVELLING THE WORLD AND RUNNING PLANET EGAN LTD, A BOUTIQUE CONSULTANCY SHE FOUNDED WITH HER HUSBAND ROGER. PRIOR TO THIS SHE WAS THE GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF INDUSTRY RELATIONS AT TRIPADVISOR, ACTING AS A LIAISON FOR HOSPITALITY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS, ALONG WTH BEING THE AMBASSADOR TO THE GLOBAL HOSPITALITY SECTOR. HER PASSION LIES WITH UNDERSTANDING AND OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGES FACED BY a GLOBAL TRAVEL INDUSTRY THAT IS SEEKING TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE, RESPONSIBLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY. HERE, THE LCD 2018 SELECT JURY MEMBER, TELLS US ABOUT THE THINGS SHE HAS LEARNED IN SOME OF THE FAR-FLUNG CORNERS OF THE GLOBE, AND EXPLAINS WHY THE UNLIKELY LANZAROTE IS A CULTURAL DESTINATION CLOSE TO HER HEART.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which one would it be and why?
When I was a little girl growing up in a tiny village by a beautiful river in Finland, I was very lively and chatty, and it was almost impossible for me to be quiet. Until one day, a great artist Lennart Segestråle was commissioned for a painting at the main hall of the conference centre my father ran. The weeks he spent painting were the most relaxing for my family, as I sat for hours in complete silence watching him paint. And you can still see a little girl painted in the corner of this beautiful ceiling-to-floor artwork.
How do you believe museums will impact future cities?
It is inspiring to see how museums are changing from one-way interaction to much more of an interactive experience. For me, a museum or cultural institution has to have a story that offers a view into the past and an understanding of how we got to where we are today –enticing me to feel the emotional tie in the whole journey. Local cultures are also rapidly changing, which causes the need to preserve unique skills from across the whole spectrum – from art, design, fashion and architecture to everyday life skills. Immersing human beings into this journey is a vital part of a great museum.
What is your favourite cultural destination?
My choice would be Lanzarote. Mr Cesar Manrique has made such an incredible cultural mark on this beautiful volcanic island. He designed his own home around and inside volcanic bubbles, and since his death in 1992, his home has been open to public. This house is a true work of art–all his creations are inspired by the artistic principles most dear to him: "a respectful dialogue between art and the natural medium and between local architectural values and modern conceits." Manrique's architectural marvels across Lanzarote are especially close to my heart due to the association with the tourism industry–displaying economic and social functionalism unprecedented in Spanish artistic culture.
Who do you think are the cultural innovators of tomorrow?
In the past decade, the explosion of various social mediums has opened up an easy affordable way to portray local cultures, arts and designs to the masses. This has sadly not only brought the great benefits, but also disadvantages in the form of over tourism. What excites me is finding the way to a positive balance, offering more understanding of the fragility of our world and the beauty of it. It's important to Promote and encourage the use of non-toxic, sustainable materials in art practices, along with conceptual ideas of sustainability.
WHAT ARE YOUR CULTURAL ASPIRATIONS?
Over the past 10 months, I have takEN a jump into the unknown and liveD a truly minimalistic traveller's life. I want to continue this amazing journey and live and breath the local cultures and engage with the people in each and every destination. There are still a vast amount of inspiring, moving, beautiful, small and unknown destinations full of culture and art, such as the remote villages in the Himalayas, where you will find that the true meaning of sustainability and responsibility in culture and art is part of everyday life.