Knowledge Sharing, Dissemination and Production of Up-to-Date Documentation Methods in Areas of Crisis
Man-made and natural disasters affecting cultural heritage today require a set of documentation skills that have increasingly been promoted by professional organisations world-wide. It is crucial to explore possibilities and constraints in conflict or disaster-prone areas with available knowledge and technology for purposes relevant to rapid assessment during disasters or conflicts, and preventive actions relevant to completing missing inventories. In addition, damage assessment after periods of destruction can inform plans and future conservation work with readily available techniques and technological advancements in this field. Nevertheless, knowledge sharing and knowledge production in this area is very scarce, rendering it difficult to manage cultural heritage effectively. This situation could result in disassociation of objects or in inadequate documentation of historic neighborhoods. In order to address these challenges facing our cultural heritage today, reflection as to how we should unite for the protection of human heritage becomes of utmost importance through established networks and building the capacity of people and professionals who’s role it is to help safeguard cultural heritage on the ground. This is at the heart of ICCROM-ATHAR’s strategic directions and actions implemented and planned for the benefit of its Arab member states. This cannot be achieved without adequate coordination and coordination amongst specialized institutions and agencies working in the areas of training or higher education world-wide.
About the Speaker
Zaki Aslan is the regional representative of ICCROM for the Arab States and founding director of the Sharjah-based ICCROM-ATHAR Regional Conservation Centre, UAE. He is conservation architect, who since 2003, has been Manager of ICCROM’s ATHAR Programme (Conservation of Cultural Heritage in the Arab Region), Rome, Italy. Aslan provided technical advice to the ICCROM’s Member States on issues related to: heritage conservation, management and national planning/ policies; World Heritage procedures; implementation of field projects; and, education, public outreach, capacity building, and curricula development. With more than 20 years of experience in the fields of Cultural Heritage Conservation and Planning (B.Sc. in Architecture, 1988), Aslan holds a Ph.D. in Heritage Conservation and Management from the University College London (UCL), U.K., and an MSc degree in Conservation of the Built Environment from the University of Montreal in Canada (1991). He previously worked as consultant to UNESCO, EU, and ICCROM on projects in the fields of heritage conservation and management in the Arab countries (2000-2002), He worked as project manager in the mid-nineties, when he was engaged in the US-funded Cultural Resource Management Program in Jordan (CRM), and worked on the “Documentation and Conservation of Stone Monuments” in the World Heritage Site of Petra (after studying at the Bavarian State Conservation Office in Germany in 1994). He is co-author of a UNESCO-ICCROM teacher’s guide entitled “Introducing Young People to Heritage Site Management and Protection”, and editor of ICCROM-ATHAR publications series. Aslan is also honorary senior lecturer at University College London, and served as adjunct professor at the American University of Sharjah in the fields of Heritage Conservation, and Islamic Art and Architecture. He is member of the editorial board of the “Journal of Conservation and Management of Archaeological Sites”, U.K., and Vice President of the ICOMOS United Arab Emirates (UAE) National Committee.