First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

September 8, 2014

Course Announcement

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First aiders in action

Culture cannot wait!

Dates: 30 March-24 April 2015; four-week course

Application deadline: 22 September 2014

Place: Amsterdam with study visits to other cities in the Netherlands

Organizing partners:

In cooperation with:

The Course

According to the Emergency Events database EM-DAT, from 2000-2012, around 2.9 billion people were adversely affected by disasters caused by natural hazards (e.g., earthquakes, floods, storms etc.). Another 1.5 billion people are living in countries afflicted with civil strife and violent conflicts, states the World Development Report of 2011. The resultant damage and loss to life and property, including those to cultural heritage, are rising.

For communities ripped apart by such catastrophes, cultural heritage has the potential to bridge communal divides and provide sense of continuity as well as identity during an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Yet, is it possible to safeguard cultural heritage while humanitarian aid and security operations are underway? When is the right time to intervene? How could we ensure that cultural recovery becomes a force for stabilization and building back better?

First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis aims to equip participants with necessary skills and knowledge to provide timely response in emergency situations. The training identifies areas of joint programming between culture and humanitarian sectors to make certain that the affected communities participate in their own recovery. Developing cost effective strategies for risk reduction and disaster preparedness of cultural heritage forms a core component of the training.

The hands-on approach to topics such as damage assessment, salvage and first aid measures for sites and collections, helps participants in making informed decisions under pressure. The overall pedagogy relies on participants’ experience and knowledge for building a sensitive and inclusive approach to cultural protection during emergency situations.

Post-training, participants will be invited to submit proposals to carry out projects in their respective countries and the selected proposals will get seed grants from the Cultural Emergency Response Programme of the Prince Claus Fund, the Netherlands. The aim will be to use knowledge obtained from this course to strengthen capacities for disaster response to cultural heritage at national or regional level.

Expected outcomes

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

  • Explore the values associated with cultural heritage and the impact that disasters (natural and man-made) have on these values
  • Assess and manage risks to cultural heritage in emergency 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 at the international, national and regional scale
  • Communicate successfully with the various actors involved, and work in teams


The training will be both practical and participatory including group discussions, role plays, demonstrations, interactive lectures etc. Site visits and case studies will be used to improve the participant learning experience. Soft skills such as working in a team or negotiating for protecting cultural heritage in tense situations are progressively enhanced using simulated emergency situations throughout the course. The training will also include an online component.

Who should apply?

The course invites the participation of professionals working in the fields of cultural heritage and humanitarian assistance. It is aimed at professionals working within a variety of sectors:

  • Cultural and humanitarian aid organizations
  • Libraries, museums, archives, sites
  • Departments of antiquities or archaeology
  • Religious and community centres, etc.
  • Military and civil defense (especially those personnel, who have the responsibility of safeguarding cultural heritage during emergency situations)

A maximum of 20 participants will be selected.

Teaching team

The multi-disciplinary and international teaching team will include professionals who have been working in emergency situations for protecting cultural heritage and providing humanitarian assistance.

Working language: English

Course fee: € 900 (Euro)

Travel, accommodation and living expenses

Participants are responsible for their round-trip travel costs to and from Amsterdam (the Netherlands), and for all living expenses. To cover the cost of living, including accommodation, participants should plan for a minimum allowance of approximately 1600 Euro for the entire duration of the course. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and funding agencies.

Financial Assistance

The organizers in cooperation with Prince Claus Fund may offer a limited number of scholarships and travel grants to selected candidates who have been unable to secure funding from any other sources.


In order to apply:

1. Please fill out the application form and send it together with your personal statement by e-mail.

2. Personal Statement: applicants are requested to provide a text (no more than 700 words) including a brief description of:

  • Previous experience, if any of facing an emergency situation that called for an immediate response to safeguard cultural heritage or if you live in a risk-prone region, describe the risks that your cultural heritage is exposed to;
  • Reasons for applying to the course: what the applicant hopes to learn from it and how it will benefit the applicant as well as her/his institution and country.

FAC 15
Collections Unit – ICCROM
Via di San Michele, 13
Fax: +39 06 58553349
E-mail: aidincrisis (at) iccrom (dot) org

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