By Cristina Escudero UGRECYL – PROCULTHER Focal Point (Spain)
The Iberian Biennial of Cultural Heritage AR&PA, organized by the Junta de Castilla y León, is an event that has been held in Spain since 1998, with the aim of bringing together and showing all the efforts and dynamics involved in the various aspects starting from information, to participation, enjoyment and conservation of Cultural Heritage (CH). This event encourages the exchange of experiences and knowledge between researchers and experts from the various disciplines of the sector, raising the citizens’ awareness and enhancing participation through the enjoyment and understanding of this heritage.
The theme of the protection of cultural heritage in emergency has been a constant in the last editions of the Biennial (1), through various technical conferences and workshops organized by the Unit for Risk Management and Emergencies in Cultural Heritage of Castilla and León (UGRECYL). This 2020 edition has had to adapt to a digital format following the Covid-19 crisis, and the motto chosen this year is “The Resilience of Cultural Heritage”; nothing more appropriate given the effects of this pandemic in the world of culture. In this scenario, the safeguarding and sustainability of CH through new approaches that allow combining tradition and innovation, has been consolidated as a bastion in support of societies to cope with all kinds of disasters. PROCULTHER has continued throughout the pandemic to disseminate its innovative strategies, aimed at the protection of Cultural Heritage from the consequences of disasters within the framework of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM).
Strategies that foster their integration in the disaster risk management cycle to develop preventive and mitigation dynamics, promote training and preparedness programs to deal with the particularities of cultural assets, ultimately, allowing for a more effective and efficient response to emergencies and the protection of CH.
PROCULTHER participated in the AR&PA exhibition space with a virtual stand, for which it generated new information resources both in English and in Spanish to bring the project closer to professionals from Spanish-speaking countries. (Access to all the material through the links below)
In addition, and within the framework of AR&PA Forum- a meeting and debate point for professionals was set up for the presentation of the objectives, methodology and scope of PROCULTHER. This presentation was followed by different countries and saw the active participation of many stakeholders through questions and comments which during the final debate had to be forcedly concluded due to lack of time, undoubtedly a clear indicator of the interest aroused by the topic discussed.
The monitoring and coordination of activities carried out during this event by professionals in the field of emergencies/civil protection and in the cultural heritage conservation sector, was one of the major achievements; therefore improving and strengthening coordination and communication between Civil Protection and Cultural Heritage actors is among the key actions to be implemented in order to achieve PROCULTHER’s main objective: the protection of cultural heritage from the consequences of disasters; that can only be carried out by joining forces of all the sectors involved.
(1) AR&PA 2016 “Conference on Risk Management and Emergencies in Cultural Heritage” and drill on evacuation of cultural property in the Valladolid City Council with the participation of the city’s Firefighters.
AR&PA 2017- Portuguese edition “Luso-Spanish Meeting on Risk and Emergency Management in Cultural Heritage”, co-organized by the Junta de Castilla y León and the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, in Amarante, (Portugal).
AR&PA 2018 “The protection of Cultural Heritage in emergency situations: experiences at the European level” and field exercise: Stabilization of historical structures, UGRECYL / BIEM V – Military Emergency Unit (UME) in the building of the Monastery of Nuestra Señora del Prado, in Valladolid.