Mental health and wellbeing is also important in disaster recovery

News reports bring us pictures of the physical impacts of disasters like floods and fires as well as stories of the immediate social and emotional effects. The emotional impact and effects to mental health are not always as obvious as the water, mud or ash, and they can be long-lasting. Resources are available to understand and work with recovery in mental health and well-being either through government disaster response resources or specialised mental health organisations:

Queensland Government

Black Dog Institute

Beyond Blue

Lismore Gallery and Library – Flood Update – 14 March 2022

As Elly Bird, Resilient Lismore Co-ordinator talked about in her ABC Radio and ABC TV News video  Interviews [7 March 2022], Lismore and surrounds are currently a heavily impacted region with thousands of displaced people with no homes or transportation.  All deliveries are challenging, and there is limited warehouse storage for any donations.  Many locations are still in the early damage assessment stages, and this will be a constantly changing situation. Elly asks us to be mindful with our donations during this time.

Blue Shield Australia and its Member Associations strongly recommend giving only financial donations during the initial phase after a disaster.   Experiences from all previous Australian natural disaster recovery efforts indicate that in the immediate aftermath of a disaster event, physical donations of books, furniture, artwork and stationery supplies often end up in storage for a long period of time.

We know that many people across Australia are wanting to help.  We encourage our Association members and colleagues, and members of the general public, to focus on providing financial donations at this time.  AICCM also has a limited number of $1,000 grants for conservators to help triage, salvage and document small public collections. Updates via the AICCM Facebook.

There is an Online Auction taking place for books, artworks and creative services during March and April 2022 with proceeds going to the restoration of Lismore — to the libraries, galleries, and other cultural and community groups who need our support.  The State Library of NSW and The BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival are hosting an event ‘Crime Writers for Lismore Library’ on 1st April 2022 with all proceeds going to the Lismore Library Recovery Fund.

You can make a financial donation to the Lismore Regional Gallery via this website with updates on the recent visit by conservators (and BSA Committee members) via the gallery Facebook page.

Monetary donations can be made directly to the Richmond Tweed Regional Library gift account: Account Name : Lismore City Council – RTRL Tax Deductible Gift Recipient Account              BSB 062-565  | Account Number 10864916     Please send an email to Amanda Binney (Management Accountant) at the time of any donations being made with the following information:-  Name, Address, Date of deposit, Amount of deposit.  RTRL will provide a Tax Deductible Receipt. This may take a little while to get out based on resources.

For those currently unaffected by natural disasters, the Australian Red Cross has a list of 50 Ways to Do More Good and how to donate.   You can also take the time to contact your local GLAM colleagues and get together to start to discuss your own local and regional cultural heritage disaster plan and network.

Archaeology, History, Indigenous & Heritage Responses to the IPCC 6th Assessment Report & agendas for climate research and adaptation Symposium

Flinders University
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Deep Pasts and Human Scale Research Theme

Archaeology, History, Indigenous & Heritage Responses to the IPCC 6th Assessment Report & agendas for climate research and adaptation Symposium

Tuesday 16 November 2021
Flinders University, Bedford Park and Online
9am – 4.30pm (Adelaide/ACDT)

Please register on Eventbrite 

The recently released IPCC 6th Assessment Report on the physical basis of climate change has forcefully foregrounded how climate extremes and natural disasters will increasingly be part of our daily and seasonal lives. In the face of these predictions and projections, humanity must both drastically reduce carbon emissions and adapt their lives to climate extremes and environmental challenges.

As a species, we have been dealing with environmental challenges, climate extremes, and natural disasters for millennia. Whilst the severity and speed of changes now is new and pressing, archaeological and historical research can, and should, excavate examples of communities adapting to rapid change, often in a sustainable way, and offer insights for the future.

This seminar brings together archaeologists, historians and cultural heritage practitioners working on climate change and sustainability themes to respond to the recent IPCC report and to explore various ways in which communities have adapted to new, often inferior, conditions in the past.

The key focus of the seminar is on adaptation to natural disasters such as heatwaves (and associated catastrophic fires) and flooding. We ask: in light of the IPCC’s report, what new research can archaeology and history do to advance the climate agenda? How can archaeologists and historians contribute to climate challenges? Which regions and communities can benefit from historical and archaeological research as part of their climate adaptation?

Burning Country: Aboriginal fire practice in Caring for Country

Wednesday 13 October 2021, noon Sydney time
Duration: 75-90 minutes

In light of the massive bushfires that we have experienced over recent years both here in Australia and globally, it seems appropriate that we consider the role of burning in caring for, managing, nurturing and sustaining country to maintain its health and resilience, and its capacity to resist and recover from wildfires brought about by climate change and poor land management.

Indigenous fire practice is a key aspect of caring for country and very important to maintaining cultural connections to place. In the face of climate change and other threats, caring for country practices, including fire practice, contain answers to the healing damaged landscapes and addressing climate change. Through community engagement and empowerment, burning country can also provide Aboriginal communities with economic opportunities.

NAILSMA is a major landowner in the Northern Territory of Australia, where burning of savannah country is used to generate carbon credits and provide economic benefits to the community. Ricky Archer will discuss how, while the application of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) provides solutions and opportunities, barriers remain. In 2020, NAILSMA partnered with the CSIRO in the publication of the Our Knowledge our Way Guidelines for meaningful and respectful engagement between non-Indigenous researchers and Indigenous communities involved in research projects.

Victor Steffensen, author of the book Fire Country, will describe his experience of learning about fire from elders on his country in northern Queensland, the importance of understanding and ‘reading’ the country, the importance of passing knowledge on to communities, the importance of implementing knowledge via action, and the benefits to the community of participating in that action.

Please register at:

Launch: AICCM Disaster Preparedness Calendar

Please join us for the launch of the AICCM Disaster Preparedness Calendar! Wednesday 13 October 2021 is International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction. Australia is experiencing an increasing number of natural disasters, some truly devastating in their impact. While there are many disasters we can’t prevent from happening, we can reduce the impact on our collections should they occur by:
• Practicing risk reduction
• Increased focus on disaster preparedness
• Reviewing policies
• Developing resilient communities

AICCM has developed a Disaster Preparedness Calendar to help cultural organisations act in a timely manner and be prepared for the hazards prominent in their region.

Date: Wednesday 13 October 2021
Time: 11am–12pm (AEDT)
Location: Online via Zoom. Register now and you will be sent a Zoom meeting link before the event.


Symposium: Disaster preparedness and our cultural heritage and collections

Event:  Wednesday 20 October 2021.  Adelaide. Onsite. State Library of South Australia. 

Join us for a half-day symposium raising awareness of the role cultural heritage collections play in building community resilience. The symposium will offer advice on frameworks and grants to help you protect your heritage collections.  The symposium will be followed by a workshop for a small number of participants. 

Held every 13 October, International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction celebrates how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of reining in the risks that they face.

For cultural heritage and collecting institutions, risk awareness, disaster preparedness and disaster reduction are areas of key concern. Australia has experienced significant natural disasters which have affected cultural heritage and collections. As we approach the 2021-2022 Australian disaster season it is timely to reflect and look at what measures can be put in place to safeguard heritage collections into the future.

Intended for those working in library, archive or museum collections, this event is designed to raise awareness of disaster preparedness and response for collections in the cultural heritage community. It will offer advice on frameworks and grants to help you protect your heritage collections and to ensure collections are cared for into the future.

This event is presented by Blue Shield Australia in partnership with cultural institutions, professional associations and supported by the State Library of South Australia.

To view the full program and how to book a ticket, please visit 

25 Years of Blue Shield

One of the strengths of the initiative of the Blue Shield is that although it is principally oriented toward the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict it does have an important role in mitigating and managing disasters …. I think that’s one of the aspects that makes it a truly international initiative and of universal appeal…. In moments of natural disaster the same need for cooperation exists and such cooperation results in the same benefits. – George McKenzie, Founder –  

OUR ANNIVERSARY  — What is the Blue Shield?
25 years ago, four international heritage organisations recognised the need for greater cooperation to protect cultural heritage at risk from conflict and disaster: the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Council of Museums (ICOM), the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Together, on 6 June in 1996, they founded the
International Committee of the Blue Shield, with a vision for national committees across the world. Today simply called the Blue Shield, it is:
“committed to the protection of the world’s cultural property, and is concerned with the protection of cultural and natural heritage, tangible and intangible, in the event of armed conflict, natural- or human-made disaster.” (Articles of Association 2.1 2016)
Often referred to as the cultural equivalent of the Red Cross, the Blue Shield is a non-governmental, non-profit, international organisation, working to protect museums, galleries, monuments, archaeological sites, archives, libraries and audio-visual material, and significant natural areas, as well as intangible heritage. It is composed of national committees operating across the world, coordinated by an International Board. Members include the founding organisations, governments, emergency services, armed forces, academics, and all those with responsibility for heritage protection in crisis.
We found our work in key international frameworks and law, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and in particular the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which designates our namesake – the distinctive blue shield emblem signifying cultural property protected in conflict. This landmark legislation was followed in 1999 by a Second Protocol, which recognises the Blue Shield as an official advisory body to the international Committee
for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (article 27.3).
This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary. Blue Shield has 28 national committees and more beginning to be established. However, we are an almost entirely voluntary, including the National Committee members.  Blue Shield International is a largely unfunded organisation, supported primarily by Newcastle University in the UK. Despite that, we continue to grow. We have signed key agreements with the ICRC, NATO, and others, and are advocating for heritage protection at national and international levels.  As heritage continues to be threatened by crises around the world, the Blue Shield stands ready to assist.

Blue Shield Australia, established in 2005, is proud to be a long-standing ongoing National Committee of Blue Shield.  Thank you to all the volunteers who have contributed these past 25 years.

Flooding in Eastern Australia

22 March 2021.

While the 2020/2021 disaster season again saw fires and cyclones, the current large-scale flooding affecting many more communities across eastern Australia is becoming critical.              A State of Emergency has been announced for New South Wales.  Disaster Declarations and Emergency Evacuation Orders are updated by SES NSW and Evacuation Centres have been established.  Other up-to-date information is available from Resilience NSW, including advice on donations.   Queensland Flood advice is provided by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services. If your gallery, library, archive, museum or local history site has been impacted by flooding, please contact Blue Shield Australia and your relevant BSA Member Association with your information.   Further news will be provided here in the coming days.

Flood Recovery Resources for those institutions and personal collections immediately impacted.

Disaster Planning Resources if you are not currently impacted.

Update – 4 April 2021 :   As the cleanup continues in communities across NSW there have been few impacts on GLAM sites directly.  A number of historical societies and monuments and sites were impacted and future assessments will be forthcoming.

During this Flood event in March 2021, Geoscience Australia and partner organisations put together a data hub with key location/geospatial datasets, including NSW flood footprints. The hub can be found at (

International Course on Rethinking Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage Collections

ICCROM in collaboration with ICOM are offering an International Course on Rethinking Disaster Risk Management for Cultural Heritage Collections. The course is targeted at professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, but some seats are reserved for international candidates.


  • Online Sessions delivered from ICCROM, Rome, Italy
  • In-person workshop: Escuela Taller De Filipinas Foundation Inc., Manila, Philippines

The deadline for applications has been extended to 1 November.

More information is available here.