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  • Training Course: First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property
    Smithsonian Institution

    Date: 23 May - 24 Jun 2016
    Country: United States of America
    City/State: Washington DC

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Training Course: First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis

MAIN ORGANIZER(S): International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)

MAIN HOST(S): Smithsonian Institution

Type: Training Course Date: 23 May - 24 Jun 2016 Location: United States of America (Washington DC) Venue: Ripley Center Smithsonian Institution

#culture cannot wait: Many different types of professionals respond to an unfolding crisis. This course provides strategies for interlocking culture specialists with humanitarian specialists during an emergency situation and aims to unify these sometimes conflicting perspectives. The course imparts practical skills and knowledge for taking simple measures to secure and stabilize endangered cultural heritage during a complex emergency situation, which in turn can become a driver for peace and holistic development. The recovery and stabilization of such cultural material can be a strategy that allows people to cope in a crisis.

After four international, and more than nine regional and national editions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, FAC will now be hosted for the first time in Washington D.C, USA, by the Smithsonian Institution, in early summer 2016. The course content will be enriched through case examples on safeguarding cultural heritage in the aftermath of national disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and most recently, Hurricane Sandy.

Developing cost effective strategies for risk reduction and disaster preparedness of cultural heritage will form a core component of the course. The hands-on approach to topics such as damage assessment, salvage and first aid measures for sites and collections will help participants in making informed decisions under pressure. Overall, the course will rely on participants’ experience and knowledge for building a sensitive and inclusive approach to cultural protection during emergency situations.

In the stress and chaos of a complex emergency, the ability to calmly assess, communicate and work with people is crucial for success. Therefore, skills such as effective teamwork, leadership or negotiation for protecting cultural heritage in tense situations will be progressively enhanced using simulated emergency situations throughout the course.

Expected outcomes

At the end of the training, participants will be able to:

  • Explore the values associated with cultural heritage and the impact that disasters (natural and manmade) have on these values
  • Train and manage a team for implementing response during crises that affect cultural heritage
  • Assess and manage risks to cultural heritage in emergency situations
  • Secure, salvage and stabilize a variety of cultural materials
  • Take preventive actions to reduce the disaster risk and improve response
  • Identify the relevant legal instruments which are applicable to disaster risk management of cultural heritage at the international, national and regional scale
  • Understand how first aid for cultural heritage aids recovery for affected communities and how it fits into a broader humanitarian response
  • Communicate successfully with the various actors involved, and work in teams

Who should apply?

The course will be of particular interest to those who would like to proactively safeguard cultural heritage during an emergency situation while being sensitive to the local context and emergent human needs. We seek heritage professionals‒both practitioners and researchers‒that have previous experience of facing an emergency situation that called for an immediate response to safeguard cultural heritage, or those who live/work in a risk-prone region that has an associated impact on cultural heritage. Humanitarian response specialists are also encouraged to apply in order to bolster their own understanding of how cultural heritage helps communities to recover, and how their work can be included of the response effort.

Working language: English

Course fee:

€ 900 (Euro)

Travel, accommodation and living expenses:

Participants are responsible for their round-trip travel costs to and from Washington, DC, and for all living expenses. To cover the cost of living, including accommodation, participants should plan for a minimum allowance of approximately 1600 Euro for the entire duration of the course. Candidates are strongly encouraged to seek financial support from sources such as governmental institutions, employers and funding agencies. A limited number of scholarships covering accommodation and living expenses will be available to those who are unable to secure funding from other sources.


In order to apply:

  1. Please fill out the application form (found online) and send it together with your personal statement by e-mail.
  2. Personal Statement: applicants are requested to provide a text (no more than 700 words) including a brief description of:
    • Previous experience, if any, of facing an emergency situation that called for an immediate response to safeguard cultural heritage / OR / if you live in a risk-prone region, describe the risks that your cultural heritage is exposed to;
    • Reasons for applying to the course: what the applicant hopes to learn from it and how it will benefit the applicant as well as her/his institution and country.

Application deadline: 9 November 2015

In cooperation with:

Prince Claus Fund, Cultural Emergency Response Programme (CER)

Event website:

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