On 1 May 2023, ICCROM celebrated the graduation of the 79 craftspeople who successfully completed the second track on Building Crafts Revival and Upgrading of the Heritage Recovery Programme in Mosul project, based on a needs assessment to map the existing typology of crafts, the level of skills available in Mosul, the locations of craftspeople, their demographic, social and economic profiles, the impact of conflict on these crafts, and current challenges and needs. Thus, ICCROM focused on traditional and modern carpentry, blacksmithing, stone masonry and alabaster work, and involved international experts in bringing back essential know-how that could have been lost as the industry favours less expensive techniques and materials. 

20230502_Closing_Ceremony_Mosul_ICCROM.JPGThe ceremony also featured a multimedia exhibition of photographs, videos and traditional building tools and materials designed to guide the visitor through the project’s two tracks on heritage recovery for building capacities of professionals and craftspeople. 

20230502_Closing_Ceremony_Mosul_ICCROM.JPGThe carpentry workshop took place over 51 days and covered personal safety; different types, sizes, shapes and origins of wood; measurements; wood cutting and basic joinery techniques; and producing and repairing doors, windows and furniture using both modern and traditional techniques. 

The 66-day alabaster workshop focused on building techniques, carving and sculpting. Supported by local and international experts, trainees explored restoration using epoxy and various types of mortar.  

Finally, the 59-day workshop on stone masonry included plastering and construction of walls, arches, vaults and domes, including theoretical discussions on the characteristics of Mosul limestone to the tools, cleaning and practical sessions working with stone itself.  

The needs assessment revealed an urgent need to revive traditional blacksmithing in Mosul - particularly the skills to produce hand-forged handrails and window protection without modern electric welding. As the same technique is present in other historic Arab cities, ICCROM involved a highly skilled master blacksmith from Cairo who undertook several missions to Mosul to conduct various assessments, a 15-day Training of Trainers and a 52-day workshop for semi-skilled blacksmiths.   

“In this context, a partnership with ICCROM to design a capacity-building programme was self-evident. Both UNESCO and ICCROM firmly believe that integrating capacity development of cultural heritage practitioners and craftspeople into the wider planning response allows to capitalize on range of local capacities and skills, but also contribute to the recovery of livelihoods.”

- Paolo Fontani, Director of the UNESCO Office in Iraq 

capacity-building-holistic-sustainable-and-resilient-heritage-recovery-mosulThe ICCROM Heritage Recovery Programme in Mosul is a capacity-building initiative implemented in partnership with UNESCO, the Iraqi Government, the University of Mosul, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union.  

In this framework, ICCROM also trained architects and civil engineers on the tools that are crucial for such a recovery process and how to apply them to case studies in conditions very similar to what they may encounter in their future endeavours, as part of the first track on professional development for building professionals. 

“It is undeniable that this partnership was a success, and we thank all partners, donors and communities who allowed it to make it happen. Supporting such an inspiring group of young building professionals and craftspeople take part in the heritage recovery of Mosul is truly the only way such a process can be holistic, sustainable, and resilient.” Valerie Magar – ICCROM Programmes Unit Manager 

Congratulations to the youth of Mosul on their inspiring enthusiasm to build back Mosul better.