Amid the current pandemic, many cultural heritage institutions find themselves vulnerable to the risks of fire, flood, typhoons, earthquakes, and other such hazard events. The threats are however, not just limited to natural hazards, but also include man-made causes like looting, chemical explosions and armed conflicts. Often, heritage professionals are confronted with complex scenarios, where one hazard overlaps with another to create an even larger disaster. Recent examples include the floods in large parts of Asia, which coincided with the COVID-19 outbreak, making it difficult for emergency responders to divert already stretched resources to safeguard heritage collections and sites.
The heritage field therefore needs to shift its focus away from the treatment of individual hazards. Instead, the planning for disaster risk management should be broadened in scope to manage intricate scenarios in which cascading risks could come together to cause substantial damage to heritage, far exceeding institutional capacities to cope. In other words, a multidimensional perspective for reducing the risk of disasters is essential.
Moving away from a single hazard treatment approach, this international course offers a unique learning opportunity to protect heritage collections in more complex and real scenarios, with several overlapping hazards, such as an earthquake and fire.
Organized within the ICCROM programme framework of CollAsia and First Aid and Resilience in Times of Crisis, this blended course seeks to develop multi-hazard disaster risk management strategies for cultural heritage collections in Southeast Asia and beyond.
The aim is to broaden the scope of planning for disaster risk management in heritage institutions, and empower movable heritage professionals by enhancing their ability, to reduce the disaster risk for their respective collections in the context of a changing climate, limited resources, and an ongoing public health crisis.
Tailored to the diverse institutional contexts, which may include, but are not limited to libraries, archives, museums, places of worship or community managed cultural heritage centres, this course will combine:
- two-week online learning;
- one week in-person hands-on training in Manila, Philippines; and,
- a three-month post-training project with mentoring support.
At the end of the training, participants will be able to:
- assess risks and develop realistic scenarios to guide risk reduction and preparedness for their respective collections;
- liaise with key disaster risk management actors and stakeholders in their respective local contexts;
- reduce disaster risk and enhance preparedness for heritage collections in and beyond their respective institutions;
- provide coordinated and time sensitive first aid to heritage collections in the event of complex emergencies;
- engage communities in disaster risk management of heritage collections and train volunteers; and,
build local teams of cultural heritage first aiders.