A busy week for BSI

A busy week for BSI

Presentation slide saying "Why is Cultural Property Protection Important" adjacent to a presenter image of Professor Stone

BSI President Professor Peter Stone gave three key-note online presentations last week on the work of the Blue Shield, and the vital link between people’s cultural heritage and their identity and wellbeing. On Wednesday 24th November he participated in the International Council of Museums Asia Pacific Alliance (ICOM-ASPAC)’s annual conference whose theme this year was “The Pandemic as a Museum Disaster like no other; Sustainability of Museums and Public”. Whilst stressing that:

“Museum collections, and all heritage, are needed to help build healthy, peaceful, stable, and sustainable communities”

Professor Stone also emphasised the importance of developing “partnerships in peacetime” with a range of collaborators including the military and other uniformed and emergency services and the humanitarian sector. He also urged the heritage sector to “prepare for the worst’” when disaster strikes.

The following day, Professor Stone joined the first session of a two-day International Academic Conference organised by Blue Shield Poland on “Protecting Cultural Heritage Against Particular Hazards – Climate, Environment, Pandemic and Fire Risks. Best Practices,” at the Krakow National Archives. His presentation on the work of the Blue Shield on CPP in armed conflict and disasters was complemented by others focusing, amongst other things, on emergency management of a compound disaster with COVID-19, and Fire Services’ experiences of saving cultural heritage during the earthquake in Croatia. The event’s honorary patrons included Poland’s Minister of Culture and National Heritage, and the State Archives. ICOM and ICOMOS Poland were among the conference’s partners. The conference is posted on the website of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage with a link to presentations in English on the first and second day (Professor Stone’s presentation starts at 47′.47″ in the 2nd video).

Both Professor Stone and Dr Emma Cunliffe, from the BSI Secretariat, made presentations during a two-day International Conference on “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Disasters and Crisis” organised by Blue Shield Turkey as part of the global celebrations to mark the Blue Shield’s 25th anniversary. The event was held in partnership with the Turkish Republic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Vakıf University (FSMVU)’s Conservation of Cultural Heritage Department, and ICOM Turkiye. A wide range of Turkish and international heritage experts took part, and included speakers from the UK, Australia, Lebanon, Sweden, Yemen and the United States. Given Turkey’s location in an active earthquake zone, several of the sessions focused on risk preparedness, emergency structural protection of historical buildings in the aftermath of a quake, damage mitigation, and CPP in seismic areas. Professor Stone presented the work of the Blue Shield on CPP in armed conflict and disasters, and Dr Cunliffe, whose presentation took place the conference’s second day, focused on civil and military perspectives of cultural heritage in conflict situations.

Dr Cunliffe said:

“It was a pleasure to speak alongside other excellent speakers, and the examples of national and international practice were rich and fascinating. A great contribution to the #BlueShield25 celebrations.”

Presentation title slide saying "Cultural Heritage in Conflict: Civil and Military Perspectives" adjacent to a presenter image of Dr Cunliffe

Both conferences were part of the Blue Shield 25th anniversary celebrations.

25 years ago, four international heritage organisations recognised the need for greater cooperation to protect cultural heritage at risk from conflict and disaster, and on 6 June 1996, senior representatives of ICOM, ICOMOS, ICA and IFLA came together to sign an agreement to create the International Committee of the Blue Shield. The movement went on to establish national committees around the world, and today, those committees and the international board are simply called the Blue Shield, dedicate to heritage protection in conflict and disaster. Throughout 2021 we are celebrating our 25th anniversary with our national committees around the world.

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