|| International Course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict (FAC 11)
Participants' Perspective (week 3)
24 October. During the third week, we discovered various tools that will be useful in helping us organize emergency salvage operations for endangered cultural heritage. We were particularly impressed by the session on risk management led by Rohit Jigyasu of Ritsumeikan University, Japan, because it was very practical. After analyzing causes and effects in given scenarios, we now feel more prepared to assess and plan for various risks.
The next day, we received an amazing introduction to organic and inorganic materials from Gaël de Guichen, during which we were given a collection of objects to classify. Afterwards, we split up into groups and for the rest of the day were led through a sequence of workstations that encouraged us to think about the vulnerability of stone, wall paintings, textiles, and books with respect to water, dirt, improper handling, and fire. We also learned about the type of emergency documentation we could do in times of conflict. In particular, the session by Ana Almagro of the Caja Madrid Foundation, Spain, on emergency documentation for immovable cultural heritage was great! She showed us how to get the most out of the tools that we already have, like cameras and laptops. This was linked to a very lively practical exercise on creating emergency storage led by Gaël de Guichen, in which we had to organize an evacuated museum collection in a simulated temporary storage area.
One of the highlights of the week was definitely our visit to the Church of San Giorgio al Velabro in Rome, which suffered from a bombing incident in 1993. There, we heard from art historian Alessandro Bianchi, ISCR and architect Pierluigi Porzio. Both were involved in the restoration project.
At the end of the week, we worked with Foekje Boersma of Nationaal Archief, Netherlands, and Aparna Tandon on a simulated exercise in which we packed and evacuated a collection of museum artifacts. We've learned that protecting cultural heritage in times of conflict is an immense task with several facets such as international policy, diplomacy, and legislation. That said, we found it especially useful this week to gain practical experience on that which can be done at an individual level. We have to say that we found that last week’s sessions amazing!
Rahimullah Amani and Ismaïla Diatta
FAC 11 participants
Inspired by what they learned in the first course on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict in 2010, three former participants created an accessible and open blog to promote dialogue and cooperation between cultural heritage professionals and other actors and stakeholders involved in conflict areas. It is hoped that it will become a tool for researchers and professionals to share information and resources, as well as a platform for enhancing awareness in heritage protection issues.
Member States represented: Afghanistan, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Colombia, Egypt, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey.
24 October, 2011