PROCULTHER-NET: conclusion in Volterra of Protecting Cultural Heritage Course
Among the 60 participants, experts in risk management and representatives of the world of civil protection and cultural heritage
The activities of the Protecting Cultural Heritage Course carried out as part of the European project PROCULTHER-NET, coordinated by the Civil Protection Department and co-financed by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, ended in Volterra, Tuscany.
The two sessions of the course, respectively held from March 6 to 10 and March 20 to 24, were attended by numerous European countries and institutions, confirming a growing attention, also at international level, toward issues of response capacity and safeguarding cultural heritage in emergencies. The wide range of professionals among the 60 participants attending the course included experts in the fields of risk management, civil protection and cultural heritage representing as many as 24 countries of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, as well as authorities belonging to the United Nations and Non-Governmental and Humanitarian Organizations.
The course was also enriched by the video message conveyed by Erkan Doganay, focal point of the PROCULTHER-NET project for Türkiye, and an expert in emergency management, who during the proceedings of the first session, brought a direct testimony from the territories devasted by the February 6 earthquake highlighting the activities carried out by Turkish and international relief operators, as well as the activities put in place to safeguard the cultural heritage affected by the disaster.
Both sessions engaged the participants in an initial classroom training phase that was followed by workshop activities, demonstrations and practical exercises to learn about measures to safeguard immovable, movable and intangible cultural heritage. In particular, at the SIAF-International School of Higher Education in Volterra lectures were held by experts from the Consortium Partners of the PROCULTHER-NET project and consultants and experts from the Emergency Response Coordination Center of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism and UNESCO. Italy contributed with trainers from the Civil Protection Department, the Ministry of Culture, the National Fire Department and the Central Institute for Restoration.The Camaldolese Abbey, an 11th-century monastery located just outside the walls of Volterra, was another premise selected as scenario for a first practical activity that allowed all participants, divided in separate teams with mixed skills, to test the notions acquired in the field of protection of immovable cultural property in emergency situations.
At the conclusion of each session, an exercise was organized, which included two different scenarios in the city of Volterra, the Palazzo dei Priori on March 10 and the Pinacoteca - Museo Civico on March 24, in which the trainees were able to put into practice what they had learned in the previous days, simulating the operations of securing movable property at risk.
The Protecting Cultural Heritage Course, organized in the framework of the Union Civil Protection Knowledge Network, was the first European interdisciplinary course entirely dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage at risk and provided a valuable opportunity for institutions and experts to exchange views in order to strengthen and expand the international community dedicated to the protection of cultural heritage in emergency situations.