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Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPICH) research funding call on Conservation, Protection and Use

JPICH Conservation, Protection and Use call announcement


The Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change is pleased to announce a new funding opportunity. The Conservation, Protection and Use call will support research into strategies, methodologies and tools to safeguard and use the physical components of our cultural heritage.

It invites research projects that take a global approach to preserving Europe’s heritage and which result in a better understanding of our history, traditions and culture, of our individual and collective identities, and ultimately of our well-being.

The total budget for the call for transnational projects is approximately 6,660,00 Euros. The participating countries in this call are: Belarus, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom.


Four broad topics essential for our understanding of change and how to manage it are addressed in this call:

  1. Analysing and modelling change
  2. Developing sustainable protection and enhancement of values
  3. Management of cultural heritage at risk
  4. Layered protection and conservation.

Projects funded through this call will contribute to a knowledge- and research-based framework for the understanding, safeguarding, preservation and sustainable use of cultural heritage. Outcomes might include new methods/approaches and/or materials, or the novel application of existing approaches/methods and/or materials to the study, understanding, interpretation, presentation, dissemination, conservation, protection and use of cultural heritage.

Eligibility criteria

  • Duration of projects: up to 36 months
  • Each project proposal must comprise of at least three research teams, each based in an eligible institution in a different country participating in the Conservation and Protection Call.
  • The maximum number of research teams in a project proposal is five.
  • Applications must be in accordance with the eligibility requirements relevant for the national research teams in the transnational research consortia and not exceed the maximum budgets to be requested therein.

Closing Date: 03/09/2019

Call for proposals opens: 13 May 2019
Deadline for proposals:
 3 September 2019, 16:00 CEST  (15:00 UK)

Applicants will be informed of funding decisions in early December and projects would be expected to start between 1 January 2020 and 1 July 2020.

A JISC Mail list has been set up to help researchers or interested partners to find partners in other countries and organisations for the JPICH Conservation and Protection call. To use this service, please subscribe at: www.jiscmail.ac.uk/jpich-conservationcall.

To download the application documents and access the submission portal, please visit: https://www.jpich-conservation.eu/

Further details can be found in the JPICH Conservation and Protection Call Guidance (PDF) (PDF, 752KB)

The National Contact Points from the participating countries should be contacted with regards to questions about country specific eligibility and maximum budgets.

The funding for UK researchers is provided by AHRC and is not impacted by Brexit, however travel, passports and movement of goods during the project will need to be considered in the light of government advice when working with European partners.

Find out more about Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs)

Jamie Davies, International Stakeholder Engagement Portfolio Manager (Heritage) E: James.Davies@ahrc.ukri.org T: 01793 416068

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NEMO Working Groups

The working groups present an excellent opportunity for capacity building and networking. The groups contribute to NEMO’s work as well as to the museum sector, for instance with reports such as Engaging Visitors in Natural History Museums. The groups also meet regularly and attend yearly study visits free of charge and covered by travel grants.

Next to meet is LEM – The Learning Museum from 9-13 October 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. Take a look at the programme and please contact office@ne-mo.org if you would like to join.

At the moment the following working groups are active within NEMO:

Nearly 800 lost Chinese cultural relics returned to Beijing from Italy

This article was first published online at https://news.cgtn.com/news/3d3d674e3455544f33457a6333566d54/index.html

A consignment of 796 lost Chinese artworks and artefacts arrived in Beijing from Milan in the early hours of Wednesday following Italy’s decision to return the missing cultural relics in the largest such international repatriation in over two decades, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed.
“Indeed, those lost Chinese cultural items returned by Italy have already arrived in Beijing early this morning. They bear our nation’s memories and have been abroad for many years. Now we are glad that they finally come home,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters.
The consignment from Italy was carried by an Air China flight that arrived at the Beijing International Airport at 6:54 a.m. on Wednesday after an eight-hour flight from Milan, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
“As a Chinese, I am so proud to witness the return of these relics after years of effort,” Xinhua quoted Zhang Yanmin with the Beijing International Airport.
This is the largest such return of lost Chinese cultural relics from abroad since 1998, when about 3,000 smuggled artefacts were returned from Britain.
“I’d like to specifically mention that this is the biggest return in the past almost 20 years. It is a milestone of China-Italy cooperation on cultural heritage and a new model of international cooperation for the repatriation of lost cultural items. China highly commends that,” Lu said.
Italy’s decision was announced during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome last month. “As you may recall, on March 23, President Xi Jinping and [Italian] Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte witnessed the exchange of certificates for the repatriation of the Chinese cultural artworks and artefacts between representatives of China and Italy,” the spokesperson reminded.
China will display the items in Beijing next year as part of a wider plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Italy and China.
“China’s National Museum will host a special exhibition of these valuable items,” Lu said as he encouraged people to attend the exhibition.
“China and Italy, both ancient civilizations and home to a large number of cultural artefacts, have long been cooperating in the preservation and restoration of cultural items and the fight against artefact-related crimes. We are ready to enhance communication and cooperation for better protection and preservation of global cultural heritage,” he added.
How were the relics found?
According to several media reports, the ancient Chinese works of art, thought to have been smuggled illegally out of China, were first noticed in a local auction market in 2007 by the Carabinieri Art Squad, an Italian police unit responsible for combating cultural relics-related crimes. The squad suspected the relics to be stolen from archaeological sites. A domestic judicial trial ensued.
China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA), on finding out about the case, promptly contacted its Italian counterpart to identify the items and negotiate the process of their repatriation.
After a decade of judicial procedure, an Italian court finally ruled this year that the 796 artefacts must be returned to China, which led to the landmark exchange of certificates between Xi and Conte last month.
“It’s a great honour for us to return these cultural relics to China,” Francesco Provenza, commander of Gendarmerie in Monza for Cultural Heritage Protection told CGTN in Milan as he oversaw the dispatch of the consignment on Tuesday night.
“This is a starting point for an international collaboration that allows us to fight against illegal smuggling and illicit excavation of archaeological relics. So we believe that this kind of cooperation will bring us more fruitful achievements,” he added.
‘Abundant variety and high value’
The complete list of the 796 relics has not been released yet, but an NCHA official earlier revealed that they “are of abundant variety and generally high value,” as reported by China Daily.
Wu Min of the NCHA’s museum management department said that the artefacts were relatively well-preserved and covered a wide spectrum of Chinese history ranging from 5,000 years ago to the early 20th Century.
The NCHA further revealed that among the relics is a pottery jar from where it is known as China’s northwestern Gansu Province that can be dated to the Majiayao culture, a Neolithic culture from the third millennium BC.
In addition, there are pottery figurines from the Han (206 BC to 220 AD), Tang (618-907) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties and a porcelain bowl from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) from southeastern Fujian Province.

In Iraq Museum, There Are Things ‘That Are Nowhere Else in the World’

This article was first published in The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/09/world/middleeast/iraq-museum-baghdad.html

If people remember anything about the Iraq Museum, it is most likely the televised images of it being looted in 2003 as American troops watched from their tanks.

Statues too heavy to move were knocked from their pedestals, their 3,000- and 4,000-year-old shoulders bashed to powder. Some lost their eyes or one side of their face. Glass cases were shattered, their contents gone or thrown on the floor.

One of the museum’s most treasured art works was the Warka vase, with carvings dating back five millenniums showing that even then the ancient Mesopotamians grew wheat and fruits, wove cloth, and made pottery. When someone walked off with it, a bit of human history was lost.

The same was true of the Golden Lyre of Ur, a 4,500-year-old musical instrument inlaid with gold, silver and carnelian.

I was there in 2003 on the second morning of looting and was stopped about 150 feet from the museum entrance by crowds of Iraqis rushing by clutching clay objects I could not identify. They also carried more prosaic items — file cabinets, chairs and spools of electrical wire.

This spring, 16 years later, I was back at the museum. It had reopened in 2015 after conservators had repaired some of the damage and European countries, among others, had helped restore several galleries. Still, I expected to see bare rooms and empty niches.

Instead, I found that despite the loss of 15,000 works of art, the museum was filled with an extraordinary collection.

In a well-lit gallery, I stared up at two majestic alabaster creatures at least 12 feet tall but looking even taller because they were set on plinths.

They had the bearded faces of men, four or five legs, the wide wings of eagles, and the bodies and tails of bulls. Known as lamassu in the ancient Sumerian language, they were thought to be spirit guardians so they were set at city gates, palace entrances and the threshold of throne rooms.

Here, they watched over two long rooms of friezes that showed ancient Mesopotamians carrying tribute or walking beside their horses, which were finely carved with muscled flanks and elaborate reins.

The lamassus and friezes survived the looters because they were too heavy to haul away.

Art historians and archaeologists know how exceptional the collection is. But despite Baghdad’s relative safety today, neither the city nor the museum have yet to become a major destination for Iraqis, much less foreign tourists.

“There are things there that are nowhere else in the world, especially from early Mesopotamian history,” said Christopher Woods, the director of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, who recently visited Baghdad.

“It’s a textbook collection,” he said.

In addition to trying to get back the pieces that were looted (some 4,300 have been recovered), the challenge now is to make the museum accessible to as many Iraqis as possible, said Abdulameer al-Hamdani, the recently appointed Iraqi culture minister.

“I’ve ordered the museum to be open every day and I’ve asked to let graduate students and university students come for free,” said Mr. al-Hamdani, an archaeologist by training who has a doctorate from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Still, it is hard to get visitors, especially younger Iraqis, to feel that the museum’s art is relevant to their lives, he said.

While many more school classes come now than in the past, there is little to guide them — no docents or audio-guides, and scant audiovisual aids. The children rush through, stopping to touch a lamassu or another statue and then dash on.

Some days the museum is almost empty as it was when I visited, except for a few teenagers and three men from Diyala Province, who had come on their day off. They were eager for information but barely read the sometimes technical labels.

Three of the teenagers, who had come on their own when their classes finished for the day, glanced up briefly at the lamassus’ benign faces, but seemed not to know what to make of them.

“I liked the other room with the statues better,” said Amina Atiyeh, 14, as her companions nodded in assent.

The museum’s collection is so comprehensive that art historians say it is daunting to try to talk about it in its entirety.

“What is so striking about the Iraq Museum is the chronological span that it covers,” said Paolo Brusasco, an archaeologist and art historian at the University of Genoa, who has worked extensively in northern Iraq.

“From the Assyrian period all the way to the Ottoman,” he said.

The museum’s earliest pieces date to almost 4000 B.C.E. That is more than three millenniums before the ships described by Homer plied the Aegean Sea or the Old Testament was written.

The collection has painted pottery in the shape of strange creatures whose mouths double as spouts; tiny sculptures of animals thought to have been toys; fragile boats made of a light wood found in ancient graves. Historians conjecture that the boats were intended to carry souls to the next world.

There are statues of men and women with large, incredulous eyes as well as fragments of beautifully carved parts of mosques that are a mere few hundred years old.

While there are superb examples of Sumerian art outside Iraq, most notably at the Louvre, the British Museum, the state museums in Berlin and the Metropolitan Museum, as well as the Oriental Institute in Chicago, the Iraq Museum has it all, Mr. Brusasco said.

The museum’s origins date to the early 1920s when Gertrude Bell, the British administrator and explorer who helped to establish modern Iraq, worked with King Faisal to create a museum of Iraqi art by stopping Western archaeologists from walking off with all of the country’s treasures.

They pushed through legislation requiring that foreign excavators donate at least half of their finds to the museum.

Today, Iraqi law stipulates that anything found in Iraq, stays in Iraq. That means the museum’s collection will continue to grow since there are some 13,000 archaeological sites in Iraq and a number of continuing excavations, Mr. al-Hamdani said.

But Mr. al-Hamdani sees his main challenge as figuring out how to create a culture of learning around the museum.

“We have to give visitors a context,” he said.

“Putting artifacts in a box is like a death,” he added, referring to the glass cases that house the collection’s smaller pieces. “In a box, art has no soul.”

Great works like the three-foot-tall Warka vase, which was recovered, are arresting sights but much more so when their history is explained.

The Warka vase, for example, was found in Uruk, in present day Muthanna Province, which archaeologists believe was the world’s largest city at its height, and where the earliest examples of writing were found — in cuneiform on clay tablets.

The vase is a rare example of the most ancient narrative art, telling its story in four tiers.

The vase shows that farmers “approached the king for the new year festival bringing grain, sheep, gold and barley,” said Mr. Brusasco, the University of Genoa archaeologist.

Mesopotamians were among the earliest beer brewers, using barley as a critical ingredient. Tablets describe 30 to 40 different kinds of beer and specify different qualities, he said.

There is no end to the past in Iraq, said Ali al-Nashmi, a professor of archaeology and history at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad.

“In Iraq, cities are built on top of cities,” he said.

2019 ICOM UK AGM Papers available on the website

The papers for the 2019 ICOM UK AGM are now available on the website at http://uk.icom.museum/about-us/icom-uk/annual-general-meetings/

The AGM is fully booked and we are operating a wait list.  To register for the wait list, visit https://2019icomukagm.eventbrite.com

If you are not able to attend the AGM then you can email any questions in advance to uk.icom.museum@gmail.com

We will hold an open meet up in a public area of the Barbican Centre (the AGM is in a private space) for ICOM UK members attending the Kyoto 2019 conference in September.  The meeting point is at 19:05 outside the Life Rewired Hub on Level G of the Barbican Centre https://www.barbican.org.uk/liferewired  The purpose of the meet up is to discuss ways that ICOM UK could usefully connect and support members attending the Kyoto 2019 conference.

NEMO – Publication: How to Engage Visitors in Natural History Museums

NEMO is proud to present the latest work of the NEMO Working Group LEM – The Learning Museum. Over the last year, the group has collected research on visitor’s engagement with natural history displays.

The results can be found in the report Engaging Visitors in Natural History Museums: A NEMO – The Learning Museum Group Report (Ciara Hand), which hopefully will yield interesting insights for natural history museums.

The NEMO Working Group member Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, proposed the research topic and contributed with its already existing research on visitor engagement, collected by its working group Research and Visitor Studies.

The report will, together with two case studies, offer insights to:

  • Understanding visitor motivations
  • What ‘influences’ a visit?
  • How do we tell stories?
  • A child’s-eye view
  • Dioramas
  • Authentic objects and experiences
  • Interactivity

>> Download Engaging Visitors in Natural History Museums: A NEMO – The Learning Museum Group Report as a pdf <<

Coming Soon: 2019-20 ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme

We will shortly announce the full details of the 2019-20 ICOM UK British Council Travel Grant Scheme.

The ICOM UK – British Council Travel Grant Scheme is aimed at UK museums and galleries seeking to build reciprocally beneficial international projects and partnerships.  Although individuals may apply, you must demonstrate your organisation supports your visit.

A total of £28,500 grant funding will be available with 50% of this ringfenced for visits to ODA countries.  Up to £1,500 will be available for travel outside of Europe and up to £700 for travel within Europe.  The scheme will be open to ICOM members and non-ICOM members with priority given to non-national museums.

The scheme will open for applications following the ICOM UK AGM on 27 June.  The deadline for applications will be Monday 14 October 2019 for travel to take place before the end of June 2020.

You can take inspiration and learn from the knowledge shared by previous grant recipients by reading the trip reports on the Case Studies page of the ICOM UK website.

Ming-Ai (London) Institute overseas field study trip to Dunhuang Cave-Temples in the Gobi desert of Ganyu Province, China

To celebrate International Museum Day 2019 the Ming-Ai (London) Institute organised an overseas field study trip to the famous Dunhuang Cave-Temples in the Gobi desert of Ganyu Province, China.

Visiting the largest Buddha- nine stories high!

Visiting the largest Buddha- nine stories high!

Led by Dean Chungwen Li and Programme Leader Jane Wang the group had an intense three days; meetings with conservators from the Dunhuang Research Academy who oversee the site and visits to the Dunhuang, Yulin and Xi Qain Fo Caves to see the wonderful deity paintings, artefacts and documents that they had only seen previously online.

The group were hosted by researchers from the Dunhuang Research Academy’s digital department and had privileged access to learn about the challenging restoration and stabilization of the murals and the digitisation programme leading to the important online digital reconstruction of the site.

Central to this trip was the appreciation of the role of Buddhist culture in the creation of a unique cultural and trade crossroads on the Silk Road and the immense cultural value of the preservation of Buddhist art and ritual heritage to Dunhuang.

The cave-temple complex was also a test site for the development of the China Principles, a set of international standards for preserving cultural heritage—not only in terms of physical assets, but also with respect to local traditions, environment, and history. The students were also able to observe the heritage management of the UNESCO site and make comparisons of lodging and cuisine of a uniquely managed Chinese Cultural heritage site with western counterparts.

The group were warmly received by experts from the Dunhuang Research Academy and valuable contacts and information were exchanged as to the teaching of the Ming-Ai MA programme and that of the Dunhuang Research Academy.

At the Dunhuang Research Academy inspecting a mural tracing.

At the Dunhuang Research Academy inspecting a mural tracing.

Before reaching Dunhuang the students also visited Xi’an, the starting point of the Silk Road in Shanxi Province. This famous ancient capital has been designated as the capital of 13 ancient Chinese dynasties. All left a rich legacy of cultural relics including 314 key cultural relics sites ( 84 under state and provincial protection) and some 120,000 unearthed cultural relics! The students also visited the world-famous site of Qin Emperor’s Terra-Cotta Soldiers and Horses and other historical places.

This trip was truly a life-changing for the students both as a learning experience but also one rich in historical and religious significance.

The magnificent Seven-story Tower Temple.

The magnificent Seven-story Tower Temple.

For more information on the MA in Chinese Cultural Heritage Management at
the Ming-Ai Institute and Middlesex University visit: www.ming-ai.org.uk or
contact David Crombie on 07812 743699 / d.crombie@ming-ai.org.uk .
Start Date: 2nd Week of Oct, 2019 / Fees: £6,000 for UK/EU students with a
£3,000 Holland Kwok scholarship.

Tate and Lujiazui Group sign MoU as part of the development of Shanghai’s Pudong Museum of Art

This article was first published on WebWire https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=242222

At an event at Tate Modern on 11 June 2019, Tate and Shanghai Lujiazui Group – a leading state-owned developer in China – signed a Memorandum of Understanding as part of the development of Shanghai’s Pudong Museum of Art (PMoA). Tate will provide PMoA with training and expertise in a number of fields as well as an inaugural exhibition drawn from Tate’s collection. This will be followed by two more exhibitions at PMoA which will bring further works from Tate’s national collection to audiences in China.

The event was attended by representatives from both Tate and Lujiazui, the latter represented by Mr Bao Shuyi, Vice General Manager, Lujiazui Group. Tate was represented by Kerstin Mogull, Managing Director of Tate and Judith Nesbitt, Tate’s Director of National and International Partnerships. Mr Zhu Di, General Director, Art Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and Deputy District Mayor of Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government, and Mr Yu Peng, Minister Counsellor, Cultural Office at the Chinese Embassy in the UK were present at the event. Helen Whitehouse, Deputy Director, Museums and Cultural Property at the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also attended.
Pudong Museum of Art has been designed by Atelier Jean Nouvel (AJN). The construction of the building started in September 2017, it is scheduled to be completed in early 2021 and it will open to the public in mid-2021.

The signing formalises the commitment to cooperate in cultural exchange and museum development. Tate will provide expertise in areas such as visitor services, operations, art handling and exhibition management, audience development, and learning. The two parties aim to maintain a long-term strategic partnership.

Mr Zhu Di said:

I am delighted to be here with all of you in London to witness the signing ceremony for the Memorandum of Understanding between Lujiazui Group and Tate. On behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government, we are delighted to have Tate as a consultant to the Pudong Museum of Art and to be signing the MoU. Civilizations are enriched through learning from each other. When it opens, the PMoA will be a stage for dialogue through art, between China and other countries. It intends to become a major contributor to cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries. We very much look forward to co-operating with Tate and, we hope, other leading museums from around the world as we build a new outward-facing art museum in the open, innovative and inclusive global city of Shanghai. We want to contribute to the promotion of cultural exchange worldwide, and the communication between the East and the West.

Kerstin Mogull commented:

We recognise and admire the ambition behind this new public art institution and are excited to be working with the Pudong Museum of Art to advise them on their historic journey towards the opening in 2021 and beyond. This is an internationally significant project to establish a major new art museum in one of the world’s most exciting, dynamic and populous cities. Tate’s best ever attended exhibition was held in Shanghai last year so we are keen to deepen our engagement with audiences there. We are delighted to have the opportunity to lend our expertise and experience to assist Lujiazui in that goal over the course of the next three years.


Pest treatment using Nitrogen gas: June 2019 update

The work by ICOM and many other cultural heritage organisations in the European Union to allow the renewed use of nitrogen as a pest treatment of cultural objects is gathering momentum and yielding the first results.

Under current legislation, Regulation No. 528/2012 (Biocidal Products Regulation – BPR), the use of Nitrogen gas to create anoxic environments for pest treatment purposes is not permitted. This has been posing problems for cultural heritage organisations across the EU who are concerned that the removal of this pest treatment option may endanger cultural objects which cannot be treated safely by freezing or heat treatments. Please see our previous briefings in March and May.

In an attempt to find a solution for the cultural heritage sector, ICOM has taken a leading role in disseminating information and coordinating responses from the heritage sector to the European Union and respective national governments. As part of this work, the ICOM UK committee is synchronising communication between the museums and historic houses in the UK and the UK’s Competent Authority on biocides, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

During the last week of May, ICOM became aware of an important deadline on 3rd June: on this day, EU member states had to notify the European Commission of their intention to apply for a derogation of Nitrogen from the BPR. In an attempt to increase HSE awareness of the requirements of the UK cultural heritage sector, and to highlight the urgency of the situation, ICOM UK issued a call for action which was followed promptly. Within hours HSE received a number of letters from the UK heritage sector asking HSE to apply for derogation.

Following a further conversation between ICOM UK and HSE, HSE have notified the European Commission that the UK is considering a derogation for generated Nitrogen, based on industry contacting them. This is a very positive response and means that the UK joins at least nine other countries considering a derogation for generated Nitrogen for cultural heritage purposes under the BPR. It is not the end of the process, as a formal application will need to be submitted at a later stage, but ICOM UK remains committed to helping find a suitable solution for heritage organisations.