2017 Blue Shield General Assembly

2017 Blue Shield General Assembly is to be held in Vienna, 12–15 September 2017.

Both members of national Blue Shield committees and observers from other cultural organisations are welcome to attend. For more information and registration, please visit the following website (http://www.ancbs.org/cms/en/home2)

As part of the General Assembly, a new international board will be elected. Five positions will be filled and are open for nomination – four individual members and the president. Nominations are invited from individuals, who are supported by either two national Blue Shield committees (including their own national committee – in our case Blue Shield Australia) or one national committee and one of the four founding organisations (ie ICA, ICOM, ICOMOS or IFLA or their Australian counterparts).

The role is for a period of three years and will require the following commitment from the applicant:

  • support for and promotion of the Blue Shield Approach to the protection of cultural heritage in times of conflict and disaster in Australia and abroad;
  • attendance at all meetings of the board (whether in person or by Skype/teleconference);
  • active contribution to the work of the Blue Shield board internationally;
  • assistance with reporting, research and knowledge sharing within the Blue Shield community; and
  • reporting back to Blue Shield Australia any developments arising from the meetings of the international board.

Ideally, a candidate seeking Blue Shield Australia support would also:

  • have experience in the field (in either disaster or conflict situations), not just head knowledge, and be recognised as an international expert;
  • have a comprehensive understanding of the risks to cultural heritage in the broader context (including risks to collections, built heritage, cultural landscapes, indigenous  heritage and intangible heritage) in the disaster or conflict context;
  • be proactive in liaising with government (at all levels) and emergency services so that cultural heritage is included in emergency planning, response and recovery activities as set out in the Blue Shield Approach;
  • be willing to collaborate/liaise with other organisations that are promoting the protection of cultural heritage in the disaster or conflict context, such as UNESCO, the Red Cross and UNISDR, as well as with other professionals outside the cultural heritage and cultural property sectors (eg. engineers, urban planners, resilience officers, environmental scientists, emergency responders, etc); and
  • be proactive in seeking opportunities to provide training to heritage professionals in disaster risk management and emergency response for cultural heritage, in order to build capacity among heritage professionals so that we are able to prepare for and respond to disasters as necessary.

In other words it is a role for a proactive and experienced candidate.


Applicants should provide a short biography (200 words maximum) and a short statement about why the candidate wishes to be elected (200 words maximum). Please also provide evidence of support from your pillar organisation (ICA, ICOM, ICOMOS or IFLA or their Australian counterparts) and a signed statement of your commitment to the task.

Please forward your nomination to the BSA Secretary (bsaofficialsecret@gmail.com) by 2pm on Monday 21 August 2017.

Important Note: Blue Shield Australia does not assist members of the board financially. The organisation relies on people providing their services pro bono. Thus the nominee must agree to self-fund their travel and provide their services on a pro bono basis.

UNESCO’s Response to Protect Culture in Crises


Read UNESCO’s recent publication on their response to protect culture in crises, current challenges, the importance of culture in emergency situations and human rights.

“Culture implies more than just monuments and stones – culture defines who we are. it carries universal values and the many faces of our shared humanity….Protecting culture and heritage means protecting people. That is what UNESCO stands for.”  Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

UNESCO’s Response to Protect Culture in Crises



MayDay is nearly here


Protecting our heritage is a fundamental responsibility for galleries, libraries, archivists and museums.

Historians, educators, curators, anthropologists, archaeologists, architects, interpretation specialists, conservators, engineers, site/asset managers and qualified tradespeople working in heritage conservation all play an important role in assessing and maintaining sites and collections and preparing for natural and other disasters/impacts.

Over the next few days and weeks we will share some tips about how you can help protect our heritage today and everyday.

Symposium 29-30 January 2018

You are invited to join Blue Shield Australia members and supporters at the 2018 Blue Shield Australia Symposium to be held at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, Australia.

The symposium will be held over two days as follows:

Monday 29 January 2018—Tours, Workshops and Evening Welcome Reception

Tuesday 30 January 2018—Symposium with invited speakers

The purpose of the symposium is to share expertise, experiences and case studies of the protection of cultural heritage in times of natural disaster, as well as to discuss climate change and the strategies being put in place by the sector to work towards a sustainable future. The Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Pacific Regions are often affected by natural disasters and we look forward to learning from each other to advance the work of the International Committee of the Blue Shield to safeguard cultural assets for future generations.

More information – 2018 Symposium webpages – http://blueshieldaustralia.org.au/symposium

Register your interest now.

Deakin Cultural Heritage Seminar in association with Blue Shield Australia: Heritage and spatial knowledge in the Second World War: How the ‘Monuments Men’ documented cultural property.

Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016. Deakin Melbourne Corporate Centre, 3rd Floor, Deloitte Building, 550 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Theatre room – 2:00-3:30pm

RSVP: antonio.g@deakin.edu.au

The Anglo-US Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Sub-Commission (the ‘Monuments Men’ organisation) was set up within the military government structures of the Allied armed forces in 1943. Part of its remit was ‘to preserve historic buildings, works of art and historical records…. by [furnishing] the ground and air forces with information as to the location of such monuments’ and to those ends the organisation, supported by largely American civilian agencies, produced a range of what might now be called ‘no-strike’ lists. This paper examines the production and evolution of this documentation by considering themes that are still issues in the production of modern cultural resource inventories. These include:

Production: Who undertook the research for these lists, and how? What were the relative roles of civilian and military personnel in this process?
Formatting: What formats and media were employed, and in what contexts?  These include typescript lists, printed booklets, and annotated maps and aerial photographs.
Data selection: What information was presented in the lists?
Magnitude: How comprehensive were the lists as inventories of cultural property, and how were decisions made over incorporation in, or exclusion from them?
Prioritisation: To what extent were priorities assigned to cultural property within the lists? Who made these decisions and how?
Dissemination: How and to whom within the Allied military structures were the lists distributed?
Reception: How useful and practical did military personnel find the lists?
All of these questions are relevant to the production of comparable lists today, and the experience of the Second World War provides us with valuable lessons in establishing such lists.


Biography: Nigel Pollard is Associate Professor of History and Classics at Swansea University, UK. PhD Classical Archaeology, University of Michigan 1993, with a thesis on Roman Syria, which became his 2000 University of Michigan Press monograph, Soldiers, Cities and Civilians in Roman Syria. He has done archaeological fieldwork in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy and the UK, but his main research focus now is on cultural property protection in conflict zones, both historical and contemporary. He is currently working on a monograph on the 1943 Allied bombing of Pompeii in the context of the development of cultural property protection in the Second World War, a board member of the UK National Committee of Blue Shield, ICOMOS UK member, and a member of the UK Military Cultural Property Protection Working Group.

MayDay 2016

mdEvery May Blue Shield Australia encourages cultural organisations to think about ways that they can be better prepared for disaster. MayDay for cultural heritage fuses two concepts – the distress signal, and the month of May – in order to create a memorable calendar date for events that improve disaster preparedness in archives, galleries, libraries and museums.

Download the flyers and logos at the bottom of this post and use them to start the conversation in your organisation.

Other things that your organisation could do include:

  • Dust off your disaster plan and make sure it’s current, or make a timeline for developing one, using Be Prepared: Guidelines for writing a disaster preparedness plan: https://aiccm.org.au/disaster/disaster-planning
  • Identify and prioritise your important collection items and heritage sites
  • Identify the three biggest risks to your collection or heritage site
  • Get to know your local firefighters, police and SES – invite them to tour your organisation to give you pointers on safety and preparedness
  • Find a ‘partner’ heritage organisation to work with in case of an emergency. A model for collaboration is DISACT: http://www.anbg.gov.au/disact/
  • Arrange or participate in an emergency response training day on firefighting, crowd control, flood water management etc.
  • Attend a course on business continuity planning, a conference on resilience, or a workshop on emergency preparedness
  • Host a morning tea to raise funds for Blue Shield Australia
  • Consider the protection offered by your storage facilities – and plan to build safer repositories
  • Familiarise yourself with Blue Shield Australia’s webpages – particularly the Disaster management pages regarding emergency prevention & preparedness, plus response and recovery – and share the information with your colleagues

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 Background flyer

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 Generic flyer

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 How will you celebrate

Blue Shield Australia MayDay 2016 Logos

Launch of Australian institute for disaster resilience

A cutting edge approach for the delivery of emergency management education, training and professional development was officially launched in Brisbane on the 18th November.

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience will deliver contemporary products and services around the country that have been developed by, and for, the emergency management sector.

The Institute is a partnership that brings together the great depth of experience of the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, the Australian Red Cross, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and the Attorney-General’s Department.


Further information regarding the Institute and the products and services it will deliver will be available at www.ag.gov.au and www.afac.com.au.

International day for disaster risk reduction

The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter Terrorism

MEDIA RELEASE: 13 October marked the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction – a day to acknowledge the efforts of communities to reduce their exposure to natural disasters.

This year’s theme ‘knowledge for life’ focuses on the use of traditional, indigenous and local knowledge to complement science in disaster risk management.

With 19.3 million people displaced by disasters globally in 2014 it is vital that every citizen and government plays their part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.

The Australian Government recognises that Indigenous peoples provide an important contribution to disaster risk reduction through their experience and traditional knowledge.

That is why the Government provided $200,000 to pilot community based and community led emergency management training in Indigenous communities across central, northern and north-west Australia. This training will build local capacity and help communities further refine their local emergency management plans.

This is on top of a $150,000 commitment to review the Keeping Our Mob Safe strategy, which provides a framework for coordinated and cooperative approaches to emergency management in remote Indigenous communities. The review will ensure that the strategy remains up-to-date and continues to meets the needs of Indigenous communities.

Engaging local communities and indigenous peoples is also a key principle of the United Nation’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, which aims to reduce disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health.

Across northern Australia, indigenous landowners utilise traditional fire management practices in the early dry season to create cool, low intensity fires. These practices help prevent more serious wildfires later in the season.

Rangers are funded through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the Indigenous Protected Areas programme to implement traditional fire management regimes.

The International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989 following approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.

Further information on International Day for Disaster Reduction can be found here: http://www.unisdr.org/we/campaign/iddr

Further information on the Australian Government’s programs and policies aimed at strengthening disaster resilience can be found here: http://www.ag.gov.au/EmergencyManagement/Pages/default.aspx