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The Role of International Fellowships in Preserving World Heritage

International heritage organisations are taking steps to meet these challenges head on, offering international fellowships that develop the skills of professionals who work at or plan on working at World Heritage sites.

Cultural heritage protection faces major threats around the globe, due to careless mass tourism who spend more time on slots thro’ than getting aware of world heritage, climate change and pressures for development.

ICCROM’s Fellowship Programme

Since 1961, the International Centre for the Study and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) has worked alongside those preserving world heritage. An intergovernmental organization and advisory body to UNESCO World Heritage Convention, its work involves world-class training courses, information sharing and cooperation as well as awareness-raising campaigns. With experts including scientists, conservators, restorers, archaeologists, art historians and curators on board who collaborate in finding effective methods of protecting heritage in their countries as well as worldwide.

ICCROM boasts one of the world’s largest libraries dedicated to conservation publications and boasts an extensive photographic archive of world cultural heritage sites. Furthermore, this organisation provides training programs and advanced equipment for conservation. Furthermore, its digital technology services help manage and protect cultural heritage; furthermore its interdisciplinary approach towards its preservation has been recognized as best practice by numerous national institutions.

The ICCROM Fellowship Programme brings together senior professionals to share research, as well as explore new avenues of inquiry in heritage conservation. The program offers office space, workstation access to internet and supplies, full library and archive access and full office use. Eligible professionals include nationals of ICCROM Member States or those employed at government institutions located within those states who fulfill other eligibility criteria – applications must include an abbreviated curriculum vitae with three letters of reference in support.

The Fellowship Programme’s purpose is to promote collaboration, creativity, and knowledge exchange through multidisciplinary work, local participation initiatives and capacity-building in heritage conservation. Furthermore, this Program seeks to increase ICCROM’s global visibility while strengthening partnerships with other institutions.

The Fellowship Programme at ICCROM is an integral part of its mission to safeguard world heritage. The Fellowship Program equips Member States with skills and an enabling environment needed to conserve all forms of heritage for public benefit, while simultaneously building international networks of expertise, knowledge, and information.

ICCROM’s Library

ICCROM’s Library serves as a vital resource for researchers and practitioners in cultural heritage conservation. It offers invaluable knowledge of this interdisciplinary field through its collections covering technical, scientific, architectural, art historical, pedagogical and other related subjects. Furthermore, in addition to offering print collections there is access to an impressive online resource selection as well as workshops, seminars and courses on conservation techniques and restoration methods.

Therefore, the Library plays an essential role in international preservation practice. Its research influences conservation institutions worldwide and helps create a global community of specialists. Furthermore, UNESCO also uses this forum as an advocate for its preservation initiatives among Member States and the general public.

Archives at ICCROM are an invaluable source of knowledge that are integral to its history and future direction. Archives serve to inform, shape and guide institutional decisions as well as provide evidence for past actions or decisions taken within the organisation’s realm of action; ultimately providing valuable insight into its mission and values.

The Library of the ICCROM houses many rare books, periodicals, and monographs on cultural heritage conservation and restoration – many of them donated by prominent donors like Jukka Jokilehto, Peter Rockwell, and Giovanni Carbonara – in its extensive collection. The Library boasts an extensive collection of electronic periodicals, and actively participates in the EZB (Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek or Electronic Periodicals Library) project. EZB, founded by the Universitat Regensburg in Germany, provides an efficient, structured, and unified interface to access electronic journals from across disciplines. Most journals in EZB are Open Access journals and may be freely accessed without subscription by anyone with internet access.

As part of its mission to preserve world heritage, ICCROM fosters international cooperation by convening scholars and experts from different nations. Their fellowship program stands out among their efforts, helping young professionals develop their skills while encouraging an integrated approach towards caring for heritage sites.

ICCROM’s Archives

Archives of ICCROM are the repository for memory and history of an intergovernmental organization, providing proof, explanation, and justification for past decisions made by its governing bodies – General Assembly, Council and Office of Director-General – as well as current policies.

ICCROM archives are openly accessible for visitors; however, certain sensitive records must remain under lock and key until approved by either its Director-General or Archivist. These include documents related to its relations with Member States and partners (including industry, commercial, research secrets as well as security matters of a State) as well as internal/external affairs of that nation.

Consultation records may be requested by anyone with proper credentials, including photo identification. Access may also be restricted at the archivist’s discretion if it would compromise the integrity or security of collections or hamper research initiatives; or could potentially be exploited for commercial gain.

After World War II, the International Centre for the Study and Restoration of Cultural Property was created out of necessity, to repair damaged monuments, museums and sites of cultural heritage and train conservators to preserve them. Today its work continues with a similar global mission of offering world-class initiatives in conservation training, information, research cooperation and advocacy.

Archives at ICCROM provide a vital resource to both the conservation community and general public. Their archives hold everything from research papers to technical reports that can be consulted by scholars, students, researchers and scholars of any discipline – available both print and electronic formats – through either its Library Catalogue or directly contacting its Archivist.

ICCROM’s Heritage Samples Archives Initiative was introduced in June 2022 with the purpose of raising awareness and improving management of these rare resources, promoting their use, establishing standards and tools for their conservation while connecting them via an online shared platform.

ICCROM’s Staff

Over six decades, ICCROM has worked alongside its Member States to safeguard cultural heritage on both an international and national scale. Comprising 137 Members, this intergovernmental organization spreads knowledge about protecting world heritage for improved societies.

ICCROM fulfills its mission by engaging in five broad areas: Training, Information, Research, Cooperation and Advocacy. Professionals working on the frontlines of heritage preservation – scientists, conservators, museum curators/directors/site managers/archivists/researchers and archaeologists among them – depend upon ICCROM for its outstanding conservation training programmes, information sources/research results/advocacy initiatives.

With nearly 400 staff, ICCROM is small enough to respond swiftly to Member States’ needs while remaining large enough to leverage resources and expertise. Teams are divided among its departments dealing with immovable heritage (monuments, archaeological sites and historic cities); movable heritage (museum collections and archives); Knowledge & Communication (library, archives publications & web); didactic Laboratory as well as Finance and Administration.

This organisation is also dedicated to addressing emerging issues surrounding heritage and conservation, such as interlinkages between culture and nature, heritage in crisis situations caused by natural disasters or conflicts, and combatting illicit trafficking; doing so through training programs, capacity-building partnerships, and global partnerships.

Training activities of ICCROM focus on creating new educational tools and materials, organizing global professional training activities, and networking between conservation professionals. For instance, its First Aid to Cultural Heritage course was devised following Haiti’s 2010 earthquake as well as creating the ICROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre in Sharjah to assist with conserving movable heritage across Middle East region.

In 2012, UNESCO-ICCROM Forum on Conservation Science was launched in order to increase international understanding of how scientific knowledge plays a part in conserving cultural heritage and to facilitate its integration into fields like environmentalism, health and economic development. Furthermore, this initiative has had an invaluable influence in aiding countries protect and conserve their heritage through developing policies and guidelines.