MayDay is nearly here

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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

Disaster assistance for storm affected communities in New South Wales

Minister for Justice Michael Keenan and NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant today announced that disaster assistance has been activated in response to the August storms which affected parts of the NSW coast and western Sydney.

Mr Keenan said the Australian and New South Wales governments are committed to working together to assist affected communities through the recovery process.

“Assistance is being provided to the local government areas of Penrith, Shoalhaven, Upper Hunter and Wollongong through the jointly‑funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

“The range of assistance measures activated under the NDRRA will ensure that storm-affected communities have access to the help they need to recover, and councils and state agencies have the financial support they need for clean-up operations and repairing damaged infrastructure” Mr Keenan said.

The assistance measures available include:

  • personal hardship and distress assistance for affected individuals and families;
  • assistance for council counter disaster operations and the restoration of essential public assets;
  • concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and voluntary not-for-profit bodies;
  • freight subsidies for primary producers; and
  • grants to voluntary not-for-profit bodies.

Mr Grant said the damage caused by the August storms affected communities across a large part of the state.

“This assistance will be of real benefit to individuals, families, small businesses and primary producers in these communities and ensure they can get back on their feet as soon as possible” Mr Grant said.

For information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au.

Information on disaster assistance available for this natural disaster can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the NSW Office of Emergency Management’s website at www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.

International course on first aid to cultural heritage in times of crisis

Many different types of professionals respond to an unfolding crisis.

This course provides strategies for interlocking culture specialists with humanitarian specialists during an emergency situation and aims to unify these sometimes conflicting perspectives. The course imparts practical skills and knowledge for taking simple measures to secure and stabilize endangered cultural heritage during a complex emergency situation, which in turn can become a driver for peace and holistic development. The recovery and stabilization of such cultural material can be a strategy that allows people to cope in a crisis.

After four international, and more than nine regional and national editions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the 2016 course is hosted in Washington D.C, USA, by the Smithsonian Institution. The content will be enriched through case examples on safeguarding cultural heritage in the aftermath of national disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and most recently, Hurricane Sandy.

Dates: 23 May  –  24 June 2016

Place: Washington, DC USA

Organizers:

In cooperation with

Prince Claus Fund, Cultural Emergency Response Programme (CER)

Full announcement here!

#culturecannotwait