ASOC2ICCROM and the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea, in collaboration with Escuela Taller Foundation de Filipinas Foundation Inc., Philippines, are pleased to announce the release of the publication, A Story of Change 2 – Transforming Online Learning into Action for Disaster Risk Management of Heritage Collections, now available for free download

In today’s world, we are confronted with overlapping and cascading risks. Recent examples include the wildfires around the globe between 2021-22 and the floods in Northwestern Europe, Bangladesh and China between 2020-21 – all of which coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, making it difficult for emergency responders to divert already thinly stretched resources to safeguard heritage collections and sites. 

Our new publication gathers the outcomes of the International Course on Rethinking Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage Collections, which aimed to broaden the scope of planning for disaster risk management (DRM) to manage intricate disaster risk scenarios, in which cascading risks could come together to cause substantial damage to heritage. The course was supported by the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) of the Republic of Korea and developed in close collaboration with the Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation Inc, Philippines, and the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

All museums, archives, and heritage sites involved in this course conducted a comprehensive disaster risk assessment and developed a disaster risk management plan tailored to their contexts. Key results include: 

  • Enhanced flood mitigation measures in museums in Argentina, the Philippines, Nigeria and Pakistan, as well as archives in Malawi and Vietnam; 
  • Improved fire-related disaster risk mitigation in museums in Argentina, India, Nigeria, Nepal, Iran, Indonesia; a World Heritage City in Malaysia; and archives in Malawi and Vietnam; 
  • Community-based disaster risk management in a World Heritage Site in Iran and a World Heritage City in Malaysia.

Two programmes of ICCROM – First Aid and Resilience in Times of Crisis (FAR) and CollAsia – jointly organized the course to enhance the ability of 20 diverse heritage professionals to understand disaster risks facing their heritage collections and develop multi-hazard risk mitigation strategies. Participants represented some of the most risk-prone countries, including those located on the “ring of fire,” such as Indonesia and the Philippines. Course mentors and teachers, drawn from the FAR alumni network, tailored the course to the participants' varied institutional contexts. In an anonymous evaluation survey, the course participants rated their knowledge gained and skills developed at an average of 89 percent.

Map pacific ring fire Map showing the countries where participants implemented on-the-ground projects

A Story of Change 2 presents the on-the-ground change achieved by the 16 course participants who implemented their projects in 12 countries. It captures how the participants involved over 23 partners and trained over 400 professionals to reduce disaster risk in their own institutions and beyond.SDGs While the afterlives of these projects have yet to reveal the long-term impacts, through their work, these participants have joined the global mission to manage disaster risk and mitigate its impacts on communities and heritage.

This training programme has helped localize the following Sustainable Development Goals: 4 (Quality Education), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

“The International Course on Rethinking Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage Collections of ICCROM is a significant step towards expanding the scope of disaster risk management for movable cultural heritage collections. In order to protect our precious cultural heritage from simultaneously occurring conflicts and disasters of the modern days and to ensure comprehensive and sustainable conservation for cultural heritage, it is indeed imperative to develop multi-dimensional risk management strategies.”

– Choi Eung-Cho, Administrator, The Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea 

We hope the stories in A Story of Change 2 will inspire others to undertake similar action worldwide, reducing disaster risk and advancing a multi-hazard approach in the field of heritage safeguarding, while encouraging multisectoral collaboration.

Watch a video of the participants’ testimonies about the change they were able to make on-the-ground. 

Read the new publication, A Story of Change 2 – Transforming Online Learning into Action for Disaster Risk Management of Heritage Collections.

Catch up on A Story of Change 1 – Success Stories and Lessons Learnt from the Culture Cannot Wait: Heritage for Peace and Resilience.