First Aid and Risk Preparedness for Cultural Heritage in Libya

June 29, 2015

Building national capacities

field exercisesThe ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, in cooperation with the UNESCO Office in Cairo, held a course on Building National Capacities for Libyan Professionals in First Aid and Risk Preparedness for Cultural Heritage in Djerba, Tunisia from 12 to 15 June 2015.

The aim of this course was to train cultural heritage professionals in Libya to undertake preventive and first aid interventions in times of crisis for risk reduction and protection of cultural heritage. It included twenty-two participants from various professional backgrounds (archaeologists, engineers and curators), coming from such Libyan cities as Tripoli, Labdah, Cyrene, Benghazi, Fezzan and Sabrathah.

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First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Syria

June 22, 2015

Beirut, Lebanon, 1-10 June 2015

group photo of Syrian First AidersIn efforts to provide support to cultural heritage professionals in Syria, the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Centre recently joined forces with UNESCO and the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage – Bahrain (ARC-WH) to hold a course in Beirut, Lebanon, on First Aid to Built Cultural Heritage for Syrian professionals.

The aim was to establish national teams capable of undertaking emergency response interventions to secure endangered built cultural heritage, and train other colleagues in the country.

Twenty-three professionals working in Aleppo, Damascus, Daraa, Idleb, Deir Al-Zor and Homs participated in this intensive course. Participants discussed several aspects relevant to emergency response to endangered heritage: risk assessment, damage assessment, first aid to cultural heritage, rapid documentation, community engagement and emergency consolidation of damaged monuments and sites.

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RE-ORG Belgium Launches

June 16, 2015

RE-ORG participant doing hands-on activityFollowing a 2011 resolution adopted by ICCROM Member States on the reorganization of museum storage, in 2013 ICCROM launched a large-scale call for partners to implement RE-ORG projects worldwide. More than 40 Member States showed interested in the initiative, including the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA) in Brussels, Belgium. Now, in collaboration with the Flemish interface centre for cultural heritage (FARRO) and ICCROM, they have launched an 11-month project for museums based in Belgium and Luxemburg, which will include a workshop from 12 to 23 October 2015. Seven museums will be selected to participate: two from Flanders, two from Wallonia, two from Brussels and one from Luxemburg. Continue reading…


First Aid to Nepal’s Cultural Heritage

June 15, 2015

From Recovery to Risk Reduction

In an effort to turn the tragedy and loss of the 25 April earthquake into an opportunity to promote the resilience of cultural heritage, ICCROM is currently in Kathmandu carrying out intensive training in partnership with ICOMOS, the Smithsonian Institution and ICOM. This is being done at the request of the the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu and the Department of Archaeology of the Government of Nepal and with the generous support of Prince Claus Fund (The Netherlands).

The objective is to develop a national team of cultural professionals capable of leading the stabilization and security of damaged heritage and continuing First Aid activities in the coming months. The multidisciplinary teaching team consists of structural engineers, a preservation architect, a conservator and a collections conservator.

Photos and captions courtesy of Rohit Jigyasu (ICOMOS-ICORP) and Aparna Tandon (ICCROM). Continue reading…


ICCROM forms an international alliance to assist in Nepal’s cultural recovery

June 5, 2015

Aparna Tandon doing training activities in Nepal

When news of the massive earthquake in Nepal broke out, ICCROM led an initiative to produce the Kathmandu Cultural Emergency Crowdmap, which received extensive on-the-ground reports about damaged heritage. As a result, an overview of the devastation was pulled together immediately and now an international team is in Kathmandu preparing the groundwork for a sustainable salvage operation.

“Through on-site assessments we have been able to see for ourselves how people in Nepal have come forward to salvage and secure their cultural sites, religious shrines and city squares,” says Aparna Tandon, in charge of the cultural disaster risk programme at ICCROM, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property. Continue reading…


Oral History for Cultural Heritage Preservation

May 28, 2015

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Group picture of the participants of the Oral History course offered by ATHAR in SharjahUnder the Patronage of HH Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah, and in collaboration with UCL-Qatar, a one-week introductory training course on Oral History for Cultural Heritage Preservation concluded at the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah, UAE. This course is part of a short course series titled “Informed Conservation”, aimed at professionals who are looking to expand their working knowledge and experience in the fields of cultural heritage conservation.

This one-week course aimed at building the capacity of conservation professionals in the Arab region in the field of oral history, in order to examine the role of oral history as evidence of cultural heritage. The course explored the “how” and “why” personal narratives of the past are constructed, and demonstrated how interviews are to be conducted and analyzed to help inform decisions for cultural heritage preservation. The fourteen participants that took part in the course include site managers, archaeologists, architects, museum specialists and collections curators. Continue reading…


Participant Voices: insights and impressions of the Stone Course

Walking tour at the Palatine Hill.

As we move into the seventh week of the International Course on Stone Conservation, participants are spending more time together, extending their knowledge and strengthening new friendships. They are currently travelling through Italy, visiting the World Heritage sites of Florence, Pisa, Parma and Venice. They have studied traditional carving techniques at a sculpture studio in Carrara and visited the marble quarries there, and they have had the chance to see ongoing conservation projects at Pisa and the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Another highlight was the two days of hands-on activities at the conservation studio of Stefano Volta in Collecchio, near Parma, where participants tested cleaning and pre-consolidation treatments on different stone types, and carried out pinning and gluing of broken stone.

In the previous weeks, participants were taken to exclusive places in Rome such as the Vatican Laboratories and Papal Gardens, as well as the conservation site at Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum, where they looked at conservation issues posed by humidity with professor Ippolito Massari and conservator Werner Schmidt. Continue reading…


Protecting heritage amidst an unfolding crisis

May 6, 2015

Course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis comes to a close on 30 April in Amsterdam, Netherlands

A group of 20 cultural heritage professionals – archaeologists, archivists, and architects – arrived on the scene to assess the damage to a World Heritage Site. Tensions between the two countries that border the site had escalated into a violent protest and a bomb blast had gone off directly next to the historic structure. Artifacts of all kinds were scattered under rubble and ash.

These professionals needed to negotiate with the military commander in charge of securing the site, and work in tandem with the medical professionals who were still clearing injured people from the area. After dividing the work, the “cultural first aiders” had to immediately take inventory of the found objects, document, and create a temporary storage plan, all under pressure that forecasted rains might further damage, and potentially flood, the site.

This setting is actually not the scene from current events, and the World Heritage Site is not one of the ones recently affected by the disasters seen in Iraq, Mali, and even most recently, Nepal. These cultural first-aiders were actually responding to a hypothetical scenario given to them at the culmination of the First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crises (FAC) training, held at Fort Markenbinnen, outside Amsterdam, Netherlands. Under the guidance of several trainers from the partnership of three cultural organizations: ICCROM (the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, and the Smithsonian Institution, this fictional scenario helped to address the question many people in the cultural heritage field ask: what can I do in the event of a crisis to protect my cultural heritage? Continue reading…


Course on Stone Conservation begins in Rome

April 15, 2015

Another stone course?
What’s new?
What’s different?

poster for the 2015 stone courseFor the nineteenth time since 1976 a group of mid-career professionals from 20 different countries are gathering for the International Course on Stone Conservation co-organized by ICCROM in partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute. The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome will be hosting the field activities throughout the course and YoCoCu will provide assistance during lab exercises.

Thirty-two lecturers from universities, museums, national cultural organizations and conservation practices all over the world have been selected to offer the best possible training in the field. The ICCROM-Getty team will be running the course together for the fourth time now, with ICCROM Consultant Simon Warrack and GCI Project Specialist Benjamin Marcus acting as course coordinators.

We received over ninety applications and it is a tough job to select 20 from so many enthusiastic and competent applicants. The participants are the life blood of the course and it is they who benefit from not only the training but the shared work and life experience from all over the world. They will take this new knowledge back to their countries to share with their colleagues and students. Continue reading…