Sharjah Museums Department hosts the third ATHAR workshop on professional training in conservation in the Arab world

Published June 1st, 2010 - 10:38 GMT

Under the patronage of Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) is hosting the third workshop on Conservation - Professional Education and Practice at Sharjah Archaeology Museum from June 1 to 3, 2010.

 

The three-day workshop entitled “ATHARnet: Education and Practice” aims at enhancing the relationship between conservation curricula and practice in the Arab region and aims at arriving at a clear definition and recognition of the needs for training in conservation in the region.

 

Dr. Zaki Aslan, ATHAR Programme Manager, stressed on the need for establishing an effective consortium which will complement the university heritage programmes that are only few in number. This entity will help address capacity building and training requirements in response to needs in the conservation and heritage practice.

 

"This workshop addresses one of the main core areas of the ATHAR Programme related to professional development in the field of heritage conservation and management, notably it aims at resolving issues related to recognition of qualifications and definition of professional profiles required to respond to regional needs, as well as consolidating the work of a network of professional institutions and practitioners working in the Arab region. It should result in an action plan to be taken forward by participating institutions", said Dr. Aslan.

 

Mr Abdullah Al-Owais, Chairman of Sharjah Department of Culture and Information, praised the organization of the workshop and the topics that will be discussed and expressed confidence that the event will lead to appropriate recommendations and results. Stressing on the importance of training and its role in promoting a culture of work and production, he said: “The Arab region must not only have continuous training and education, but must also seek to increase the number of professional institutions and frameworks to foster professional talent that can contribute to overall development.”

 

Manal Ataya, Director General of SMD said: “there is a strong need for an improved relationship between professional education and practice in the realm of cultural heritage conservation. This workshop underscores how thorough collaborative effort, cultural professionals whom have recognised the gaps in the field of practice and education can bring forth recommendations to make a positive difference.”

 

The workshop is implemented by the International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) as part of the framework of its ATHAR Programme in partnership with the Government of Sharjah, H.H. the Ruler’s Office, Sharjah Department of Information and Culture, American University of Sharjah, the University of Sharjah, and Sharjah Museums Department.

 

The workshop includes presentations, discussions, brainstorming sessions and group exercises. Participants from 13 Arab countries are attending the meeting including participants from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, in addition to representatives from international and regional organizations, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organisation (ALECSO), and the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organisations (ECCO).

 

During the three-day workshop, the participants will review the tangible results achieved to-date, definitions of conservation professions, with reference to international documents and approaches; re-examine key specialized areas in the various fields of conservation in the Arab context; re-define the scope of existing training programmes in the region; map focal areas of the participating institutions and develop an action plan for participants to pursue.

 

The three-day workshop follows two previous workshops in June 2008 and November 2009, which addressed strategic issues and orientations for the improvement of higher education in the field of cultural heritage education.

 

ATHAR is a long-term programme (2004-14) with a focus on cultural heritage sites in the Arab region. The overall goal of the programme is to protect and promote the rich cultural heritage in the Arab region, and broaden access, appreciation and understanding of its past. In pursuit of this goal, ATHAR aims to enhance the work of official heritage institutions, to improve the state of conservation and presentation of heritage places on a sustainable basis.

 

The ATHAR Programme is the result of a situation analysis and needs assessment conducted during 2003. The second phase of the programme started in the 2008–2009 biennium and will continue until the end of the next biennium of 2010–2011. In support of this phase, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Sharjah and ICCROM has been signed to promote a number of the activities of the programme, in particular training and curriculum development. This MoU has also given the programme the patronage and support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of UAE, and Ruler of Sharjah.


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