Earthquake in Mexico

September 20, 2017

Earthquake in MexicoIn the wake of the severe 7.1 earthquake that struck Central Mexico in the afternoon of 19 September bringing terrible loss of life, ICCROM stands with the people of that nation and with all our colleagues in the professional community responsible for protecting heritage, the memory of the people and the foundation of its future.

Stefano De Caro, Director-General


Japanese Paper Course Closes

International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper, 28 August to 15 September 2017

Japanese Paper Course Closes - Logos

Japanese Paper Course ClosesThe 2017 edition of the JPC-Japanese Paper Conservation course closed in Tokyo on 15 September. This highly specialized three-week event was held from 28 August to 15 September 2017.

The course aims to offer a holistic knowledge and experience of Japanese paper and Japanese traditional conservation approaches and techniques to ten conservation professionals coming from a range of Member States.

A mix of lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions presented an insight into the techniques of the Japanese paper-mounting tradition, along with materials such as Japanese paper, adhesives including wheat starch paste, and the principles guiding the care of such collections in Japan. The practical sessions were conducted by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration Techniques of Mounting.”

Selected course excursions in Mino city, Gifu prefecture provided an opportunity to see Japanese papermaking (Hon-minoshi) which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan as well as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage asset. A tour in Kyoto contributed to a deeper understanding of the mounting tradition in Japan.

In addition, the participants had the chance throughout the course to reflect on the protection of craft techniques required for conservation, such as papermaking and brush-making techniques.

Japanese Paper Course ClosesThe course offered multiple opportunities to build bridges between the Japanese and the Western paper conservation traditions and to help conservators assess the applicability of the Japanese approach, materials and techniques to non-Japanese cultural heritage. As they improved their understanding of the basic characteristics of the Japanese paper tradition, the participants are now in a much better position to make decisions concerning the care of Japanese artifacts in their collections.

The JPC course has been organized once a year since 1992, in collaboration between the Japanese heritage authorities at Tokyo and ICCROM.

Member States represented (course participants and resource persons): Argentina, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Philippines, USA


Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites in China

August 30, 2017

Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites in China

Course on Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites with special reference to China, 14-25 August 2017

Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites in ChinaThe cultural landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in China was the site of the just-completed Course on Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites with special reference to China.  Nineteen participants from ten countries attended the ten-day course to learn about current thinking, trends and approaches to management of cultural World Heritage properties, focusing particularly on monitoring.

The Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, located in Yunnan, China, are the home of the Hani ethnic group who have maintained this historic agricultural landscape over many centuries. The course constituted an intensive programme combining both theory and practice, through lectures, case studies and highly interactive practical exercises centring on the management of this important cultural landscape. Continue reading…

Designing for Research Impact

August 29, 2017

Research is a communicative process.  Its value is enhanced through knowledge exchange and incorporation into practice. Though impact has always been the primary motivation for research, designing research that generates impact beyond academia is not straightforward. It takes time, commitment, and a supportive working environment.

To explore the issue of heritage science impact and how this can be strengthened, ICCROM coordinated a workshop on 20 June at the 3rd International Conference for Science and Engineering in Arts, Heritage and Archaeology (SEAHA), held on 19-20 June 2017 at the University of Brighton, United Kingdom.

The workshop focused on current aspirations for inclusive research design and how to put them into practice.  It was structured in two parts: a panel discussion that brought together key research stakeholders from within and beyond the heritage science sector, and a group work exercise. A central point of reference was the generation of non-academic impact.

The sessions focused on what makes research impactful and how that is achieved. It also explored issues of diversity and the building of strong collaborative partnerships beyond academia for heritage research and preservation. Continue reading…

ICCROM – ATHAR Award: call for applications

August 23, 2017

ICCROM – ATHAR Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in the Arab Region

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, the ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah (ICCROM-ATHAR) invites applications for the Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation in the Arab Region, 2017. This Biennial Award seeks to honour and reward outstanding work that contributes to the protection and vitality of tangible cultural heritage in the Arab world.

The Award reflects ICCROM-ATHAR’s commitment to:

  • help safeguard the cultural heritage of the Arab region;
  • promote international ethics in the practice of tangible heritage conservation;
  • facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience across borders;
  • enhance public awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage;
  • encourage excellence through example.

The Award is organized in two stages. The first stage is an open competition resulting in nominations for exemplary projects. Between eight and 15 nominated projects will be selected that reflect the quality and variety of the applications. The nominated projects will then be put forward for the second stage. Representatives of the nominated projects will be invited to present to an independent panel of internationally renowned experts who will select the winner. The nominated projects will be exhibited at the Award event and published by ICCROM. Continue reading…

Survey for Preventive Conservation

August 22, 2017

checklistOver the past 30 years, much has changed in how we as professionals access resources and tools to help us solve problems encountered in our day-to-day work.

ICCROM and the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) have a long history of collaboration on issues concerning preventive conservation. They are now conducting research on the development of preventive conservation tools and resources for collections professionals.

In this aim, ICCROM has developed a short survey to understand how you prefer to access this information, and how you use it. If you are a professional that works with collections, who advises institutions with collections, or who studies or conducts research in preventive conservation, we want to hear from you!

This survey is anonymous and will only take five minutes. The deadline is 7 September 2017.

Take the survey now

Thanks for participating!


ICCROM at the inauguration ceremony of Iran’s President

August 18, 2017

ICCROM at the inauguration ceremony of Iran’s PresidentOn 5 August, the Director-General of ICCROM, Dr Stefano De Caro, had the honour to attend the inauguration ceremony of Hassan Rouhani for his second term as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. De Caro’s attendance came at the invitation of the Ministry of  Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, through its Embassy in Rome.

“Iran presents an impressive wealth of cultural heritage in terms of magnificent mosques and monuments, historic cities, archaeological sites and a rich and varied culture. I am well aware of the remarkable efforts Iran makes to preserve and share its heritage,” said De Caro on the event. “I congratulate President Rouhani on his re-election and his commitment to openness and international dialogue.” Continue reading…

Roberto Conforti, 1938-2017

August 7, 2017

Roberto Conforti

Roberto Conforti, General of the Carabinieri Corps for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (CC-TPC), passed away on 26 July 2017.  He was 79 years old, and had more than 42 years of service in the Corps.

Conforti’s long career with the Carabinieri began in 1961.  After serving in many regions of Italy, he was posted to Lazio in 1985, where he took part in multiple initiatives against organized crime.  In 1991 Conforti was named to the command of the Protection Unit for Artistic Heritage (Nucleo Protezione del Patrimonio Artistico – CC-TPC), which he commanded until his retirement on 1 September 2002.

Conforti’s Protection Unit traced and recovered thousands of works taken from museums, archives, churches, archaeological sites and private spaces, in Italy as well as in several foreign states.  Some noteworthy works were the Nomentum Slab with its dedication to the Emperor Hadrian, and the Capitoline Triad which the Unit returned to the Rodolfo Lanciani Civic Archaeological Museum, as well as Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings Le Jardinier et L’Arlésienne.

Under Conforti’s leadership, the Cultural Heritage wing of the Carabinieri Corps became famous worldwide for the success of its art crime investigations and recoveries.

Gen. Conforti was President of the SIPBC Association – Società per la Protezione dei Beni Culturali, a society for which ICCROM has assured both patronage and presence since its inception.  Conforti had also been chairing the organization of the exhibition La bellezza ritrovata – Arte negata e riconquistata in mostra (Beauty rediscovered – art denied and regained). This exhibit may be visited at the Capitoline Museums in Rome until 26 November 2017.


Summer School on Communication and Teaching Skills

July 25, 2017

ICCROM International Summer School on Communication and Teaching Skills in Conservation and Science
10 – 21 July 2017. Rome, Italy

Course participants

ICCROM’s third instalment of the International Summer School on Communication and Teaching Skills in Conservation and Science, 10 – 21 July 2017 in Rome, has recently been concluded. This two-week course brought together conservation professionals from 25 different countries and a range of professional backgrounds to investigate and explore alternative approaches to teaching and learning about conservation and science, while examining existing practices in the field.

Conservation education programmes and professional development activities are often under pressure to teach more in less time. New didactic methods, concepts and tools are needed to design and implement learning activities for maximum results. By innovating and using proven effective modalities to tackle the core concepts of conservation and science, common challenges can be seen through a new lens, and learning can be moved from the laboratory to the everyday world around us.

Through a series of interactive sessions in the ICCROM classroom and throughout Rome, course participants spent an intensive two weeks balancing rigour with the right touch of fun. The result was a diverse group of conservation professionals now equipped with new perspectives and new energy to revisit conventional teaching methods and give them a greater impact.

The course began with a discussion on the assumptions that conservation practitioners make about each other. Unpacking these assumptions introduced an element of self-questioning, and set the scene for greater openness in teaching and learning. With that as a starting point, participants explored the effectiveness and suitability of various learning modalities in conservation.  They discussed what it means to be interdisciplinary within the conservation field and how this can best be accomplished. Continue reading…

Sustaining Sound and Image Collections (SOIMA 2017)

July 19, 2017

From 9 to 23 July 2017 in Accra, Ghana

Photos, films, audio and video records capture memories, creative expressions and vital scientific data. “Wherever the collections of these records exist, they are being used to create jobs, feed research and provide multidimensional narratives of our past and present,” says Dr Stefano De Caro, ICCROM’s Director-General.

To discuss these topics, the 2017 SOIMA International Course on Sustaining Sound and Image Collections has brought together 17 participants from 12 countries at the Institute of African Studies and the J.H. Kwabena Nketia Archives at the University of Ghana in Accra, Ghana. The shared objective is to exchange knowledge on sustaining sound and image heritage, which is threatened by constantly changing technologies and the lack of cohesive institutional policies.

This course, which runs from 9 to 23 July 2017, was conceived by ICCROM in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies and with the cooperation of Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Ghana’s National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI), the International Council on Archives (ICA), and the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA).

Group photo

During the two-week intensive course, participants have engaged in activities ranging from group discussions, hands-on activities and structured learning exercises.  The shared topics include defining what audiovisual heritage is, why should we preserve it, and how can we use it for creative purposes. This learning opportunity focuses on a case study at the J.H. Kwamena Nketia Archive, which was founded to study the vibrant oral heritage of Ghana. This archive is led by a former SOIMA participant, Judith Opoku-Boateng, who is now sharing the fruits of her labor with other participants. Continue reading…