Thursday, 25 April 2013

Impact of Conflict on Cultural Heritage

For the next 9 months or so, to complete my Msc in Conservation of the Historic Environment, I will be researching the topic that is the title of this post. I've arrived at this topic through a personal interest in international affairs and the relatively recent wartime destruction of cultural heritage throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The aim of the research is to develop an understanding of the international protection of heritage sites and the effectiveness of that protection, using case study examples to support the conclusions of the research.

The specific objectives of the research are:

1. To define cultural heritage in the context of the protection of heritage of local, national and international significance during conflict across borders. Consideration shall be given to tangible and intangible assets but with a focus on the built environment.

2. To develop an understanding of the protection afforded to heritage during times of conflict; including but not limited to the Roerich Pact, the 1954 Hague Convention and 1st and 2nd protocols, the role of the International Committee of the Blue Shield and the uptake of such protection by the international community.

3. Through the use of case study examples, examine the effectiveness of current protection measures.

4. To conclude on the effectiveness of international heritage protection and consider ways in which this protection might be enhanced or how the uptake of heritage protection might be promoted more widely in the international community.

There was a timely article by the BBC earlier today about just this topic: In pictures: World historical sites damaged in conflict.

I would be interested to hear from anyone with knowledge or experience in this field of conservation.