Course: First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis 2018


Organised by ICCROM – International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, the Prince Claus Fund, the Smithsonian Institution and the Netherlands Commission for UNESCO, a course on “First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis” will be held in Tilburg, the Netherlands, between 31 July and 24 August 2018.

Why this course?

Cultural heritage is of great value to communities worldwide. It connects us to the past, serves as a basis for our identity and as a source of knowledge. Furthermore, it can contribute to economic growth and sustainable development. However, heritage is vulnerable, especially to the impact of natural disasters. Climate change is adding to this challenge. Economic losses from disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones and flooding are now reaching an average of US$250-300 billion each year. Furthermore, although the number of armed conflicts around the world has been declining, there is an inexorable rise in the intensity of violence associated with conflict.

Past events have shown that cultural heritage plays a role in strengthening the resilience of affected communities. First Aid for Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC) emphasizes increased awareness, preparedness and immediate coordinated response to safeguard movable and immovable cultural heritage directly after a crisis. It aims to enhance participant skills for emergency preparedness and response, crisis communication, and people-centred first aid to cultural heritage. Using simulations and scenarios to replicate field conditions, the training is mostly hands-on.

The training aims to enhance collaboration between the cultural and humanitarian sector by streamlining activities and communication, and by enabling cultural responders to be integrated in overall humanitarian response efforts. Questions such as how and when to intervene in an unfolding humanitarian crisis — where one starts, how to help the affected communities in recovering their heritage, and how to coordinate your activities with authorities — form the basis of this course.

Expected outcomes

At the end of the training, participants are able to:

  • Improve emergency preparedness for cultural heritage in and beyond their respective institutions
  • Identify institutions and coordination mechanisms needed for improving emergency preparedness and first aid for cultural heritage locally
  • Analyse the cultural, social and political context of a given emergency situation, understanding the different phases of crisis management
  • Carry out on-site damage and risk assessments for cultural heritage in emergency situations, while being familiar with basic requirements of safety in crisis situations, ensuring the safety of cultural first aiders
  • Identify priorities for first aid, and secure, salvage and stabilize a variety of cultural materials and structures
  • Be familiar with basic principles of effective teamwork and the value of multi-disciplinary teams leadership, and be equipped with essential coordination and communication skills
  • Understand how data collected on damage, needs and priorities can be usable to help transition to recovery.

Applicant profile

Organisers are seeking motivated professionals, who are committed to the protection of cultural heritage, locally or worldwide. Applicants from risk prone areas are especially encouraged to apply. Furthermore, priority is given to applicants with 3-5 years of professional experience (mid-career). Applicants are able to demonstrate how new knowledge through the course can benefit their work/institution/agency. Applicants are proficient in both written and spoken English and have one or more areas of experience, such as:

  • Working in the field of preservation of cultural heritage (NGOs and public institutions)
  • Being active in the fields of disaster risk management, crisis response and emergency management (military, civil defence or civil protection) in which cultural heritage is one of their areas of concern
  • Working for authorities directly or indirectly responsible for managing collections in museums, archives or libraries, built heritage, archaeological or historic heritage sites
  • Candidates who have ongoing projects for protecting cultural heritage from disasters and/or conflicts are encouraged to apply.

Fees and scholarships

The standard course fee is €900. A limited number of scholarships are available for participants who have been selected for the course and have been unable to secure funding.

Applications and further information

The deadline to apply is 23 March 2018.

For further information about the course “First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis 2018”, please visit



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