Protecting Cultural Heritage from Disasters – by Chris Marrion, ICORP President

The UNESCO Chair Programme on Cultural Heritage and Risk Management, International Training Course (ITC) on Disaster Risk Management of Cultural Heritage 2020, will be held from 2nd September to 24th September, 2020, in Kyoto, Japan.

Over the years numerous disasters have impacted our cultural heritage including: fires in Notre-Dame de Paris, the Shuri Castle in Okinawa in 2019, and the National Museum of Brazil in 2018; earthquakes in Central Mexico in 2017, Myanmar and Italy in 2016, Nepal in 2015, Haiti and Chile in 2010; earthquakes and cyclones in the Philippines in 2014; and the devastating tsunami in the Northeast of Japan in 2011. These have caused enormous losses of life, property, and cultural heritage, and continue to show how vulnerable our heritage is to natural and human-induced disasters as well as climate change.

To respond to this in part, the Cultural Heritage and Risk Management project of the Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage (R-DMUCH), Ritsumeikan University is organizing an international training programme to help address protecting our cultural heritage from disasters. This course has been underway for over 15 years, has had over 150 participants from over 60 countries, and numerous instructors including US/ICOMOS member Chris Marrion. This year’s subtheme is “Towards the Integrated Protection of Immovable and Movable Cultural Heritage from Risk of Fire.”

The training programme’s objective is to provide an overview of various aspects of disaster risk management for cultural heritage. Participants include professional staff of public and private sector heritage organizations, governments departments/ministries, museums, religious sites and communities, urban planners and researchers. The course includes classroom lectures, site visits and practical demonstrations at cultural heritage sites and museums, along with workshops, discussions, presentations and team projects.

Please see the following link for additional details and application instructions:  http://www.r-dmuch.jp/en/project/itc_2020.html. Applications are due Monday 6 April 2020.

Photo:  Christopher Marrion, President of ICOMOS/ICORP, Director-Marrion Fire & Risk Consulting teaching courses on fire/disaster risk management for the UNESCO Chair Programme at the ITC in Ritsumeikan, Japan.

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