NSK holds 2021 international virtual conference on heritage protection
From 18 to 20 March 2021, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) hosted Solidarity in culture: Heritage protection under conditions of crisis, an international virtual conference that brought together 124 speakers from 21 countries and 500 conference participants from 53 countries.
One of the conference’s conclusions was that a degree of threat to cultural heritage derives from a wider socio-economic context and the definition of the value and significance of heritage protection. Also, it was concluded that issues related to its vulnerability should be addressed in multiple directions, while taking an interdisciplinary and intersectoral approach, and that starting and systematically developing both intrasectoral and intersectoral dialogue before crises occur is also necessary.
The conference further showed that heritage protection in any given social context largely depends on the actual and affective connection of the community to its heritage and that heritage professionals need to work on including the community in the wider social dialogue focusing on heritage protection in which it will take active part in co-creating heritage-related plans and initiatives before, during and after crises.
Since each individual cultural heritage represents an important element of social development, it is necessary to revive the concept of solidarity in the cultural sector and through its implementation, and that of an approach integrative to the extent that it encompasses all the partakers, make civilizational progress. In this context, volunteering plays a significant role, both as a civilizational achievement and as an essential source of support to sustainable development.
Special emphasis was also placed on the role of information systems, use of interoperable data and the availability of authentic and reliable documentation in digital format as indispensable in terms of different aspects of the protection and preservation of cultural heritage during various crises.
Having yet to see what the long term impact of the current COVID-19 crisis on the cultural and creative industries sectors will be, it is necessary to maintain the dialogue in the global cultural sector and make sure that all the partakers in it take their share of responsibility when it comes to implementing already available high-quality solutions, but also to actively participate in efforts aimed at securing legislation enabling the implementation of a fully comprehensive approach to the protection and preservation of cultural heritage during crises.
The National and University Library in Zagreb proved itself a visionary by organising this conference, the preparations for which started prior to the current global crisis, which has made the vulnerabilities of the cultural sector even more obvious, in both the physical and virtual environment.
Conference proceedings will be available as an open access publication and as such present one of the results of the conference which will certainly be useful to professionals starting their career in the field of heritage protection, but also to professionals in different sectors who, as the partakers in heritage protection, will be able to gain insight into perspectives and standards pertaining to the fields that their colleagues in the wider context of heritage protection come from, emphasised the Chair of the conference’s Programme and Organising Committees and Head of the NSK Preservation and Storage Department Dr Dragica Krstić.
The Library’s main partner in the organisation of the conference was the European Commission, with other partners being the Croatian State Archives, Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb, Croatian National Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM), Croatian group of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC Croatian Group), Radiation Chemistry and Dosimetry Laboratory of the Ruđer Bošković Institute, Art and Restoration Department of the University of Dubrovnik and the Office of emergency management of the City of Zagreb. The conference was held under the auspices of the Croatian Commission for UNESCO and supported by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and Media.
The opening of “Solidarity in culture: Heritage protection under conditions of crisis”, NSK 2021 international virtual conference. National and University Library in Zagreb, 18 March 2021.