A Chronicle of the Unknown Beauty of Sudan’s Cultural Heritage

October 18, 2016

SAND IN MY EYES - ENIKÖ NAGY - PHOTOGRAPHY AND ORAL LITERATURE FROM SUDANThe photographer and writer Enikö Nagy, who has criss-crossed a remote region of Sudan in search of local images and spoken words, sees herself as a chronicler of the unique beauty of Sudan’s rich cultural heritage. “This is not a picture book in the conventional sense, nor a view of Sudan from the outside,” she says of her new volume Sand in My Eyes: Sudanese Moments. “This is a collection of typical Sudanese moments, an intimate look at a beautiful country that has a lot to say.  I hope that those who read my book feel they are there, and find elements of their own culture through Sudanese eyes.”

Nagy is an ethnic Hungarian born in Romania and raised in Germany, who was posted to Sudan for the then German Development Service, or DED (currently known as GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). When Nagy’s contract ended, she stayed on in Sudan and embarked on a 30 000 kilometre journey in the rural region of Kordofan, researching and documenting intangible heritage. Over five and a half years, Nagy documented more than 120 interviews with tribal and religious leaders, poets, shamans, elders and everyday folk from 45 ethnic groups; she gathered 26 000 photos and 2500 pieces of oral tradition, including proverbs, myths, songs, folk tales, and ritual verses.  Nagy compiled her research into a literary picture book and an international travelling exhibition which opens at the MAXXI Museum in Rome on 19 October.

“There is a need for a counter-narrative on Africa; it is time for our various cultures to see eye to eye,” Nagy explains. “This is not merely the land of war and poverty, or the perfect place to see elephants. We need Africa more than it needs us: we have so much to learn here, to enrich our cultures, to put away our ethnocentrism, in terms of social and human development.”

SAND IN MY EYES - ENIKÖ NAGY - PHOTOGRAPHY AND ORAL LITERATURE FROM SUDANNagy argues that the world has much to learn from the traditional societies of Africa. “Traditional nomadic and subsistence farming societies, like the ones I came to know in Sudan, present many alternatives to the crises of the present-day world, of modernity and globalisation,” she says. “These societies live a largely self-sufficient life reduced to the essential, with local economies and regional trade. They are not destroying their environment, they haven’t compromised their nature.  They have a strong community life, a sense of social justice and kindness. We should try to learn from them.”

It is difficult to label the work done by Nagy. The first impression, leafing through the book, is that one has in one’s hands a poetic and beautiful book on Sudan’s varied cultures. Delving more deeply, it becomes clear that the book is a collection of intangible heritage, one that documents social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge of nature and the universe, traditional craftsmanship and oral traditions. “In my travels, I sought out Sudanese values, beliefs and life philosophies, as glimpsed through moments of daily life,” says Nagy.  “Nomads, traders, farmers, fishermen, city people and mountain people all find their place on these pages. I discovered a world of respect and dialogue, a world where traditional methods based on peace and reconciliation solve problems that our legal systems would take years to handle. In these communities, everything is shared and no one is left alone.”

Oral lore documented by Nagy reflects that “settled farmers adore their land, which is fundamental for their identity,” while in speaking with nomads, Nagy learned they have no close relationship to any one place. “Their memories of places are linked to a particular person met, or a good rain. They believe that life itself is movement.”  To illustrate this point, Nagy quotes a poem by Islamic jurist Imam Al Shafi’i: “‘Gold is like dust in its place of origin, only if it leaves it acquires the value of gold. Stagnation can spoil even water, which is only sweet if it runs.’ The core idea of nomadic life is movement and family,” continues Nagy.  “This is the understanding of happiness.”

SAND IN MY EYES - ENIKÖ NAGY - PHOTOGRAPHY AND ORAL LITERATURE FROM SUDANDifferent cultures interacted with Sudan, blending into the present cultural heritage.  “From Persians to the Ottoman Empire, from ancient Greeks to Western Africans and the Arab world, you find these influences in Sudanese oral literature and poetry.”

Enikö Nagy tells of many people who contributed to the project. “Someone was always hosting me, while other people helped me in different ways: it became a multinational project. Internationally-based editors, designers and translators donated their work, while local painters, actors, folklorists, villagers and even medical doctors joined my travels as local guides, exploring their own country from a new and different angle.”

Nagy recounts many challenges, including winning the cooperation of the authorities and corporate sponsors. “I had to convince people that I had no hidden motives. Due to the political situation, there is some administrative suspicion towards foreigners. Otherwise Sudanese are incredibly welcoming and they have a great sense of hospitality. They understood and were pleased that I wanted to show the positive side of their country.”

SAND IN MY EYES - ENIKÖ NAGY - PHOTOGRAPHY AND ORAL LITERATURE FROM SUDANNagy’s work is a labour of love for Sudan, but also a way to challenge common misperceptions about Sudan and Africa. “Somehow Sudanese are not allowed to see their country in a beautiful way,” says Nagy.  “They’ve accepted the view of being from a poor country that needs help from outside. This view doesn’t do justice to Sudan. It lacks the perspective of how beautiful this country is, how full of culture, history, wisdom and lessons we all should learn.”

The exhibition “Sand in My Eyes, Sudanese Moments” will be on view in Rome at the MAXXI Museum  (Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo), 19 October – 6 November 2016.  Enikö Nagy will be present at the opening ceremony, to be held at the MAXXI Museum on 25 October at 6pm.  A bilingual reading of narratives from the book with screening of a documentary short film about the project will be held at LIBRERIA GRIOT, Via di Santa Cecilia 1/A, on 22 October at 6pm and at ST. STEPHEN’S CULTURAL CENTER FOUNDATION, Via Aventina 1, on 24 October at 6pm. These events are open to the public.

The book is available in the MAXXI bookshop and online (ISBN 9783940190079) as well as through the official website www.sandinmyeyes-sudan.com.

ICCROM is happy announce the forthcoming Sand in My Eyes: Sudanese Moments exhibition that highlights the rich intangible culture of Sudan. This exhibition comes in conjunction with ICCROM-ATHAR’s project for the rehabilitation and revitalization of the historical port of Suakin, on Sudan’s north-east coast.


Suakin – a crossroads of civilizations, at risk

Sand in My Eyes website

MAXXI Museum

ICCROM supports Myanmar after the earthquake

September 8, 2016

ICCROM supports Myanmar after the earthquakeA violent 6.8 earthquake hit central Myanmar on 24 August 2016, killing at least four people and damaging the archaeological site of Bagan.  Once the capital city of the historical Pagan Kingdom, the site of Bagan contains more than 2500 Buddhist monuments built from the 10th to 14th centuries, including temples, stupas and monasteries.

The site of Bagan is actively used for religious and cultural purposes. The monuments are greatly venerated by the population, and large numbers of pilgrims visit the site from all over Myanmar, particularly at festival times. More than 300 temples contain highly significant mural paintings.   In addition, Bagan is a main focus for Myanmar’s growing tourist industry. Continue reading…

LATAM Newsletter julio-septiembre 2016 now out

October 17, 2016

LATAM Newsletter julio-septiembre 2016 now outDownload: Boletín LATAM julio-septiembre 2016

The aim of the LATAM Newsletter is to give the opportunity to conservation professionals in Latin America and the Caribbean to share their research and professional experiences throughout the region using the LATAM network.

Would you like to contribute to the next Newsletter? Contact us below.

El objetivo de LATAM Newsletter es ofrecer una plataforma a los profesionales de América Latina y el Caribe para compartir sus investigaciones y experiencias profesionales en la región, a través de la red de LATAM.

Continue reading…

Tender for roster of translators in English, French, Italian and Spanish

October 13, 2016

Location: Home-based

Type of contract: Consultancy

Languages required:   English – French – Italian – Spanish

Deadline: (Midnight Rome Time) 31 October 2016


ICCROM is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage, and the only institution of its kind with a worldwide mandate to promote the conservation of all types of heritage. ICCROM exists to serve the international community as represented by its 135 Member States. ICCROM aims to improve the quality of conservation practice, support the diversity of heritage approaches, and raise stakeholder awareness about the importance of cultural heritage conservation.

ICCROM carries out its mandate through five main areas of activity – training, research, information, advocacy, and advice.

For further information about ICCROM, candidates are encouraged to consult the website: www.iccrom.org

ICCROM plans to renew a roster of professional written translators from English to French and vice versa, English to Italian and vice versa, English to Spanish and vice versa.


The Translator will work closely with Knowledge and Communication Services and the Chief Management Officer, and will be responsible for the following tasks/duties:

  • Producing a high quality (content and details) translation of texts from English to French and vice versa, or English to Italian and vice versa, or English to Spanish and vice versa. Content accuracy includes detailed comparison of content, facts and figures and making sure there are no omissions from the source; translations and proofreading all footnotes and/or endnotes, captions under photographs, lists etc.; accurate exact and agreed upon translation of UN agencies and titles; accurate, correct and consistent usage of ICCROM terminology;
  • Ensuring English, French, Italian and Spanish language excellence and proofreading, including  vocabulary, syntax, expression and grammar as well as all gender terminology;
  • Ensuring quality control of translation; ensuring that no typographical errors are left in the final text;
  • Ensuring confidentiality of the original texts and translated materials. The translation submitted to ICCROM  under the given ToR is the property of ICCROM and cannot be submitted, distributed to or used by any other party, unless arranged otherwise;
  • The translator is obligated to work within the required deadlines and be available to ICCROM for comments and corrections. The standard timeframe for the translation delivery shall be as follows (from the date of submission by ICCROM).

Translation volume:

  • Ordinary translation 1 – 10 pages – 2 days;
  • Urgent translation 1 – 10 pages – 1 day;
  • Ordinary translation 11 – 30 pages – 5 days;
  • Urgent translation 11 – 30 pages – 3 days;
  • Ordinary translation 31 – 60 pages – 10 days;
  • Urgent translation 31 – 60 pages – 6 days;
  • Ordinary translation 61 and above pages – upon agreement;
  • Urgent translation 61 and above pages – upon agreement.


  • Proven knowledge in translations with UN agencies;
  • Knowledge of key UN concepts cultural heritage issues (understanding of vocabulary and terminology) and language style (based on the findings of test translation);
  • Advanced user of computers and office software packages, experience in handling web-based management systems.



  • University degree in Translation, Philology, Journalism, Language Teacher, other relevant field.


  • Have no less than 5 years of experience in translating concepts inherent in cultural heritage and its preservation (as exemplified by ICCROM’s programme directions of risk management, materials technology, World Heritage, community-based heritage approaches, and regional collaboration). Familiarity with themes included in IGO reporting documents, results-based management, and other general management issues of intergovernmental organizations.
  • Experience of working with international organizations, research institutions and UN agencies.

Language requirement

  • Fluent in English-French or English-Spanish or English-Italian.


Applications are to be sent in English to: procurement@iccrom.org, stating the assignment title and including the following documents:

  1. Cover letter
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Three references

Please state the position you are applying for in the subject line of your application email.

31 October 2016 (Midnight Rome Time)

Tender for Simultaneous/Consecutive Interpreters of English-French and French-English

Location: ICCROM, Rome, Italy

Type of contract: Fixed Term Appointment

Duration of Initial Contract:

Deadline: (Midnight Rome Time) 24 October 2016


ICCROM is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to the conservation of cultural heritage, and the only institution of its kind with a worldwide mandate to promote the conservation of all types of heritage. ICCROM exists to serve the international community as represented by its 135 Member States. ICCROM aims to improve the quality of conservation practice, support the diversity of heritage approaches, and raise stakeholder awareness about the importance of cultural heritage conservation.

ICCROM carries out its mandate through five main areas of activity – training, research, information, advocacy, and advice.

For further information about ICCROM, candidates are encouraged to consult the website: www.iccrom.org Continue reading…

Heritage Science

ICCROM is pleased woldcloud of heritage science key terminologyto announce the addition of a new web resource to its website.

“Heritage Science” is a data-focused and knowledge-sharing resource dedicated to the cross disciplinary field of heritage science, with a particular orientation towards research that addresses conservation, care and management of cultural heritage.

The web pages include publications, think tank reports, survey findings and interactive data covering topics such as: strategy development, research planning and performance, heritage conservation science employment, literature trends, dissemination, and access to knowledge and services.

These efforts are part of an ongoing initiative that started with the ICCROM 2013 Forum on Conservation Science, a significant 3-day event brought together by 15 partners of excellence worldwide. With this new resource, ICCROM aims to map the capacity of our sector worldwide, and provide baseline information regarding the current needs and challenges of the heritage conservation science field.

To discover more please visit the Heritage Science page

Lake Ohrid Communities to Inspire Heritage Practitioners in South-East Europe

October 6, 2016

People-Centred Approaches to the Conservation of Culture and Nature (PCA16) course opens in Tirana, Albania

PCA CourseAlbania’s Ministry of Culture welcomed 20 participants from seven southeast Europe countries who are meeting for the first time to discuss how communities are contributing to heritage – and how they can benefit from it. This marked the opening session of the second People-Centred Approaches course organized by ICCROM.

This short course is primarily aimed at heritage practitioners, providing them with the necessary knowledge and tools to work more effectively with stakeholder communities. Engaging communities in conservation and management processes is intended to strengthen their ability to participate meaningfully in the process of making decisions for themselves and their heritage. Continue reading…

Wooden architecture conservation and restoration

September 30, 2016


Wooden architecture conservation and restoration © Phot: Kizhi Open Air MuseumDates: 11 – 30 September 2017 (arrival date 10 September, departure date 1 October)

Location: Kizhi Island (11 days) and Petrozavodsk (10 days), Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation

Chief organizer:


  • Petrozavodsk State University and UNESCO Chair of Wooden Architecture Research and Preservation
  • Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia
  • Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation

Continue reading…

International RE-ORG Seminar: Reconnecting with Collections in Storage

September 27, 2016

International RE-ORG Seminar: Reconnecting with Collections in StorageOver 200 museum professionals from all over the world have gathered at the Royal Museums of Art and History (KMKG-MRAH) in Brussels, Belgium to discuss the practicalities of reorganizing museum storage and the potentially meaningful outcomes this can bring for communities. They are using the RE-ORG methodology, originally developed by ICCROM with the support of UNESCO.

The seminar, held on 28-29 September 2016, features twenty-five talks by speakers from Argentina, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Guatemala, Greece, India, Serbia and Switzerland, along with ten poster presentations. On the first day, Gaël de Guichen, Special Advisor to the Director-General of ICCROM, will give the keynote address entitled “Reorganizing Museum Storage: An 80-year journey… and still a way to go!” Continue reading…

Italy Earthquake’s Other Casualty – Cultural Heritage

September 9, 2016

Crowdmap for heritage in the Italy earthquake

As rescue teams wind up their efforts to find survivors of a devastating 6.2 earthquake that shook central Italy last month with loss of 296 lives, another concern emerges – the fate of hundreds of historic buildings destroyed or damaged in the quake. Italy’s Minister of Culture, Dario Franceschini, reported at least 293 cultural heritage sites damaged in the seismic area.

The Carabinieri Corps for the Protection of Cultural Heritage has listed more than 50 historic sites seriously damaged or destroyed during the earthquake – mainly small village churches, icons of rural identity and centres of life in the villages and towns struck by the earthquake. Continue reading…