Disaster Risk Management for Heritage DRM4H 2022

Disaster Risk Management for Heritage (DRM4H) by Annette Mills, BSA Secretary

Blue Shield Australia members and members of AICOMOS (ANZCORP) recently led training in an integrated approach to Disaster Risk Management for Heritage (DRM4H). https://drm4heritage.wordpress.com/

The training program held in July 2022 was developed and led by Dr Ania Kortaba (Flinders University and ANZCORP[1] member) and Catherine Forbes (Convenor of AICOMOS ANZCORP, Blue Shield Australia Committee member and principal architect at GML Heritage).

The program was delivered both in person and online and attracted 140 participants, from across Australia, New Zealand and the near Pacific, and from different disciplines including architects, engineers, archaeologists, librarians, and conservators.

The inter-disciplinary and multi-hazard approach to DRM4H sought to consider all aspects of cultural heritage: the landscape, the place, the buildings, and the collections. Each aspect is interdependent in a risk management context.

The training program consisted of two days of theory hosted by Flinders University, with the third supported and hosted by the State Library of South Australia. This was an opportunity where participants could use the State Library, its buildings and collections as a case study, to practically apply the theory to a site that presents complex cultural heritage elements and context.  Ania and Catherine are planning similar field days for Wellington NZ and Blue Mountains NSW.

The generosity of colleagues and practitioners who participated in the program, sharing their insights, and learning from their cultural heritage disaster experiences and contexts, was extremely valuable and enriched the theory.  I think I can safely say that we all came away with a stronger understanding of how important it is to invest in disaster prevention, invest time in understanding the complex relationships that exist in our DRM4H context, and a renewed understanding about how multifaceted and interconnected our heritage places and collections are.

Image: DRM4H participants at the State Library of South Australia (image credit Ania Kotarba)

[1] Australia New Zealand Committee on Risk Preparedness