On 17 September, ICCROM launched a new international course, First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Conflict. The course provides a platform for heritage professionals from diverse backgrounds to share their knowledge and experience. Participants will develop skills and strategies to ensure an appropriate initial response and prevention of further damage to cultural heritage in the event of conflict. The course offers the opportunity to discuss situations when destruction is accidental or intentional, and to explore how cultural heritage protection and recovery can play an important role in overcoming a sense of loss and displacement.
An inaugural reception was hosted at the National Institute for Graphic Arts in Palazzo Poli, attached to the Trevi Fountain in Rome. A welcome address was given by the Institute's Director, followed by short speeches by representatives of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities of Italy (MiBAC), the General Directorate for Antiquities and Archaeological Heritage of Italy, the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection Unit, the Vice Commissary for the protection of cultural heritage in l'Aquila, and the Director-General of ICCROM. The inauguration was also attended by representatives from Embassies of the countries of the participants.
The course began by sharing experiences and perceptions of conflict and cultural heritage. It was then followed by practical sessions devoted to documentation, packing, and handling, with specific reference to emergency situations. The rest of the first week was dedicated to an overview of deterioration, agents, effects on cultural heritage, and to sessions on specific materials such as ceramic, glass, bone and ivory. During these six weeks participants will have a chance to review a variety of materials and related first aid interventions. A highlight of the week was the session dedicated to participant presentations of their own experiences and contexts.
Regular updates on the course will be given in the coming weeks.
The course was organized thanks to the support of the Italian Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, with the collaboration of UNESCO, the Blue Shield Network,and other institutions such as the Nationaal Archief, Netherlands.
Member States represented: Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Colombia, Finland, France, Georgia, Iran, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Serbia, Sweden, United States.