First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC)

Is it possible to reduce the damage to cultural heritage in the event of a natural disaster or an armed conflict?

Offered within the framework of the Disaster Risk Management programme, this hands-on training is aimed at preparing proactive cultural first-aiders who will have the ability to assess risks to cultural heritage and reduce the impact of such events.

First Aid course participants

“We learned not only to preserve objects but also to build bridges, between countries, cultures and people”

The topics covered in the course will enhance participant skills for assessing and responding during complex emergency situations. The training is multidisciplinary and has inputs from other emergency actors such as military and humanitarians. Simulated emergency events, role-plays and group discussions will help in developing leadership skills. The training will encourage participants to play a key role in developing initiatives for disaster risk management of cultural heritage in their respective countries.

Post-training, a limited number of seed grants will be offered, and a closed call for proposals will be made to the course participants. The aim will be to use knowledge obtained from this course to strengthen capacities for disaster risk management of cultural heritage at regional levels.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the training, participants will be able to:

  • Explore the values associated with cultural heritage and the impact that crisis has on them
  • Assess and manage risks to cultural heritage in crisis situations
  • Secure, salvage and stabilize a variety of cultural materials
  • Take preventive actions to reduce the disaster risk and improve response
  • Identify the relevant legal instruments which are applicable to disaster risk management of cultural heritage nationally
  • Communicate successfully with the various actors involved, and work in teams

Key topics

  • International legislation for the protection of cultural heritage
  • Ethics and principles of conservation in crisis situations
  • Emergency documentation for movable and immovable heritage
  • First-aid to historic structures and cultural collections
  • Mediation and negotiation skills
  • Teamwork
  • Crisis management and personal security
  • Culture and international humanitarian aid
  • Post-crisis recovery



First Aiders in action: find out how former participants are making a difference in the world

1-FAC-Erika Hedhammar Dissemination of experience and collaboration among different stakeholders
“In my work at the National Heritage Board, I promote the work of risk analysis and disaster risk reduction for Swedish cultural heritage institutions. The course has given me good experience that has been useful both for the training of conservation students, in providing advice to museums that have suffered fire or flood, and it has also given me insight on how important collaboration is with other stakeholders.” Erika Hedhammar
2-FAC-Bijan Rouhani Multi-disciplinary learning and ability to develop networks
"In a world faced with increasing number of conflicts and disasters, emergency response to people’s cultural places and collections is a dominant exigency. The FAC multi disciplinary course delivered knowledge about the possible ways of protecting cultural heritage, but also I look at it as an important instrument to develop networks of trained first aiders in conflict-prone areas, such as the Middle East and North Africa." Bijan Rouhani. Photo: ICOMOS-ICCROM e-learning course for Syrian experts, National Museum of Damascus, January 2013
3-FAC-Abdel Hamid Salah Learning how to respond during emergency situations
After participating in ICCROM’s First Aid to Cultural Heritage training, Abdel Hamid Salah co-founded the Egyptian Heritage Rescue Team (EHRT). This group of cultural heritage professionals works on assessing damage, stabilizing collections and creating plans for temporary storage during emergency situations. Their response to the January 2014 bombing outside Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art was recently covered in numerous news outlets.
4-FAC-Anna Dal Maso A multi-dimensional course applicable in my daily work
"I learned so much both from the international lecturers and from the participants themselves. It was a deep experience that involved professional skills, continuous learning, commitment as well as an incredible understanding of the human perspective to culture and conflict. An experience that is now reflected in my daily work, volunteering activities and publications, and that, of course, enabled the organization of the ’Lebanese for Lebanon’ Project." Anna Dal Maso. Photo: Biladi/Anna Dal Maso

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