8th European Commission Conference on Sustaining Europe’s Cultural Heritage

November 10-12, 2008 Ljubljana, Slovenia; workshops and study visits November 13-14, 2008.

Plenary session at the conference, in the interior of Hotel Union

Last week in the capital of Slovenia the 8th European Commission Conference on Sustaining Europe’s Cultural Heritage with the title CHRESP „Cultural Heritage Research Meets Practice”. The conference was followed by a series of workshops and study visits which took place in the other two days of the week.

This report is written by Maria BOSTENARU DAN, researcher at the Chair for Conservation and Restoration, Department for History & Theory of Architecture and Heritage Conservation, corresponding PhD candidate.

Since the author obtained a CHRESP bursary to attend the post-conference events, she benefited of financing from the European Commission for travel, accomodation and participation fees for the workshops. The chosen workshops were:

for Thursday 13th November, 2008: From Research to Sustainable Exploitation – How to Benefit Economically from Research Results in Cultural Heritage;

for Friday 14th November, 2008: Multipurpose laser scanners for cultural heritage diagnostics.

Data about these workshops and the other can be found at

Both workshops opened also perspectives of networking in Romania.

At the first workshop mainly it was presented how can be introduced an economic dimension in the European consortium projects, including specialised partners in the consortium. The workshop was lead by Dr. Karin Drda-Kühn, art historian, managing director of the association „Culture and Work” from Bad Mergentheim, Germany. In Romania similar interests are followed by the project United Experts http://www.unitedexperts.ro/, which continues a Swiss project in Romania. Also the foreseen changes for the following 20 years regarding the Cultural Heritage were presented (cultural tourism, demographic change, the integration of young immigrants). The workshop took place in the historical main building of the university of Ljubljana on the Congress Square. In the late 1930s, the square was renovated by the famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik

At the second workshop a prototype for 3D laser scanning developped by ENEA, Italy, was presented by four specialists from this institutions. After the physics basics of functioning and the problems which can appear in the interpretation of data were presnted, in the second part of the workshop it was presented a practical application for painted churches, including the computer software for the interpretation of the results. The group of specialists who organised the workshop had international campaigns in this sense, first of them in Romania, at a paleochristian church in Constanța county and and at painted churches in Suceava county (Sucevița, Popăuți și Bălinești), as well as in Slovenia, at the painted church in Hrastovlje. The co-operations with Romania took place in frame of the Culture 2000 programme, financed by the European Union, those with Slovenia through a italian-slovenian bilateral project. The advatage of laser scanning is, apart of the fact that the results is a 3D model, that no lighting is necessary, since the laser is in itself light ray.
This second workshop took place at the Restoration Centre in Ljubljana. During the lunch break we had the occasion to visit the centre. The centre mainly restores statues and pictures from the religiuous substance (for example altar paintings or wall paintings) and is in full expansion.

At the workshops from Romania took part from Romanian side also Cristina Serendan, assistant professor at the Arts University from Bucharest, the section for restoration, and Mikiko Hayashi, PhD candidate in frame of the EPISCON European Network financed in frame of the Marie Curie programme, at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iași.

The conference itself took place between the 10th and the 12th of November, and the participation fee was covered from the Marie Curie Reintegration Grant of the Author, Grant hosted at the ERGOROM ´99 Foundation, in Bucharest, contract MERG-CT-2007-200636.

The author had three poster contributions, and at two of them also the complete papers were written. For all contributions extended abstracts of 2 pages were published in the conference pre-prints, which unfortunatey was not printed, but can be found digitally on the web-page of the conference: www.chresp.eu/
Also on this page can be found the Ljubljana declaration regarding the directions which the European Commission should adopt regarding the protection of cultural heritage.
Before being adopted, a survey was done among the conference participants.

Apart of the oral sessions (plenary sessions or two parallel sessions) and the poster exhibition, there was a demonstration and exhibition area of the various organisations involved in the protection of cultural heritage. The author took contact with the ones from the European Commission stand, discussion about financing possibilities for projects regarding the cultural heritage. Generally the European Commission finances, apart of what we already knew in frame of the structural fonds, projects regarding the cultural heritage in frame of the scheme „Environment and sustainable development”. Other stands regarded technologies for the conservation of building surfaces, for example protection against grafitti, but also book publications and international masters in the field of cultural heritage. The European Commission also mentioned the Marie Curie Fellowships, of which the author has benefitted within the three framework programmed FP5, FP6 and FP7 at different levels of experience.

The poster contributions of the authors were:

The first two were in frame of the topic „Recent progress in cultural heritage research”, while the third was in frame of the topic „Policies, legislation, standardisation, and sustainabilitz strategies in cultural heritage”. The other two main topics of the conference were „Education, training and communication” and „Knowledge and technology transfer, from research to industry and SMEs”.

In frame of the oral sessions to the author seemed the most interesting connected to the activity currently pursued at the department the one regarding the digitalisation of existing heritage, being it of archives, art objects or interiors of painted churches, the latter about which it was also discussed at the workshop.

The conference took place at Grand Hotel Union in Ljubljana, built 1903-1905 in frame of the reconstruction after the 1895 earthquake. It was designed by the architect Josip Vancaš in Art Nouveau Style. It is situated close to the Three Bridges of Jože Plečnik.

The conference also had an official dinner at the Ljubljana castle, with slovene folclore music, which is quite modernly renovated.

Apart of the participation at the conference and the workshops the author had the occasion to visit also a part of Ljubljanqa city and the Research Institute ZAG Ljubljana.

From the city of Ljubljana the author had the occasion to see the works of the architect Jože Plečnik. This is one of the most renowned architects of the first half of the XXth century, period with which the author dealt in the former and current research. It is in the intention of the author to publish a book with photographs from the first half of the XXth century in different European countries visited and from Romania. In Ljubljana, the modern architecture of Plečnik is promoted by the tourism offices, and leaflets exist in this sense. Also in Romania there are beginings, like the map of the urban parcourse Marcel Janco promoted by a project of the association e-card, to the manifestations of which the author took place. The buildings of Jože Plečnik are related in the oppinion of the author as vocabulary with those of the milanese interwar time, the comparision of which with the Romanian ones being the subject of the doctorate work of the author. The National and University Library, one of the organisers of the conference, is located also in a building of Jože Plečnik.

At ZAG Ljubljana, the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute, I benefited of the warm welcome of the fomer director Prof. Miha Tomaževič and of the actual superior of this, Marjana Lutman, visiting also the laboratory of the institution. Prof. Miha Tomaževič is also participant at the project World Housing Encyclopedia, an encyclopedy in the internet of housing buildings in seismic zones of the world, at which the author was member of the editorial board in the time 2003-2006 and among others member is now Marjana Lutman. The speciality of Prof. Miha Tomaževič are masonry buildings.

Finally the author would like to thank the organisers, Dr. Jana Kolar, the head of the laboratory for cultural heritage at the National and University Library, and Dr. Matija Strlič from the Chemistry Faculty of the University of Ljubljana, for the support.

In two years, the next conference will took place, the country in which it will take place depending on the Presidency of the European Union.

November 21, 2008