Certified Interpretive Writer Course (CIW)

Harnessing the power of words for quality visitor communication

Facts are forgotten in five-minutes but if you share what makes a site or place special and unique by connecting with your visitors’ lives and interests, it’ll be one of the highlights of their trip.

Connecting with your visitors is key

How many dull and uninspiring visitor attraction leaflets, web pages or panels have you seen? Complex terms you don’t understand? Too much information? Books on walls or pictures of what you can already see right in front of you? There are so many exciting and inspiring things we can say about a site or place but there are special ways to hit the sweet spot, avoid the pitfalls and make written text an integral part of the visitor experience.

24-hours a day

Good guides are great but they need to rest, eat and sleep. They can only take so many visitors a day on visits. Attention-grabbing leaflets, self-guided trail maps, web pages, audio guides, interpretive panels and labels are there 24-hours a day, every day. Crucially, they influence visitor choices on what to see and do before they even arrive at their destination.

Captivating stories

In interpretive writing, less is more. You can tell a captivating story in 100 words that connects with your visitors’ personal experiences. That’s what makes things memorable! You can transform the ‘boring and dry’ into the ‘fascinating and informative’ and inspire your visitors, by mastering a handy tool kit giving you all the necessary tips and tricks for great, original communication.

Understanding, enjoying, protecting heritage

If visitors truly understand a site or place, they will appreciate it and in turn feel compelled to protect it. They do this because they feel connected. Through interpretive writing techniques, you can reveal the significance of a site and influence visitor behaviour. You can provoke them into learning, thinking about their own experiences and how they relate to a place. That is the true power of words!

The training course

Certified Interpretive Writer (CIW): A 40-hour programme of practical individual and group-based exercises and essential theory, certified by INTERPRET EUROPE, the European Association for Heritage Interpretation. The course provides participants with a versatile tool-kit that they can apply to their own activities in English and in their mother tongue.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the origins and aims of interpretation
  • Practice and master interpretive writing principles
  • Facilitate first-hand experiences through writing
  • Promote tangible and intangible heritage through writing
  • Reveal meanings and relationships with natural and cultural sites and objects
  • Select sites and objects to reveal their uniqueness and significance to visitors
  • Engage with visitors to discover heritage by appealing to their intelligence, senses and shared values
  • Create interpretive self-guided tours, audio guides, display panels and exhibition labels
  • Create catchy headings and effective text hierarchies using simple language for information panels and exhibition display labels


  • The course will be run in English and requires a good level of spoken and written English. Advanced levels are not necessary as the emphasis is on using simple vocabulary effectively.
  • Some experience in writing for the public is advantageous.
  • Step-by-step learning method, building on each day.
  • Individual and group exercises indoors and outside.
Final assessment to obtain Interpret Europe certification.

We can arrange a course at your request. Contact us for more information.

Våre CIW-kurs