EKA’s Cultural Heritage and Conservation Department is with ICOMOS

One of the case studies was the university camp of Ahmedabad, by the architect Louis Kahn born in Saaremaa, where the planned demolition works have been suspended due to the intervention of ICOMOS. Photo by Arne Maasik

EKA’s Cultural Heritage & Conservation Department, together with the international cultural heritage expert organization ICOMOS, organized the 9th-13th August “Heritage Alert and Advocacy” Summer School for students worldwide. 

The training was conducted by top ICOMOS experts and the opening lecture was given by ICOMOS President, Architect and Professor at the Raymond Lemaire International Conservation Center of KU Leuven, Teresa Patricio. 

The Summer School looked at natural disasters, as well as the impact of political and economic interests on cultural heritage. The aim of the World Summer School was to teach the ability to assess the factors influencing heritage in different cultural spaces, to critically evaluate the information available and to produce a clear message to inform the general public about developments that are detrimental to heritage.

The students analyzed the impact of the heritage alerts prepared by ICOMOS and compiled a new alert text for nine locations around the world. The example of Estonia was the planned extension of the Estonia Theater inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to Kadri Kallast, a student of cultural heritage at EKA, “It was very fascinating to learn more about the nature of ICOMOS’s work and get to know the people who lead it – commitment and dedication had a very inspiring and optimistic effect on students. The task of group work to compile a heritage alert, created an opportunity to contribute to solving current problems. This process provided much food for thought about the opportunities and strengths of international co-operation on heritage protection, but also about bottlenecks, especially in terms of communication between very different cultural spaces – how to offer advice and assistance in a way that leads to dialogue and co-operation rather than conflict? ”.

The Summer School followed the principle of ICOMOS worldwide representation and was attended by students from the KU Leuven in Belgium, Carleton University in Canada, CEPT University in India, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus in Germany, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, the Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the University of Lisbon in Portugal, the Ajayi Crowther University and University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos State in Nigeria and from Tallinn University and EKA.

With the Summer School, EKA marks joining the network of UNESCO chairs. Heritage protection and conservation have been taught at the Estonian Academy of Arts for a quarter of a century, and the academy has also become an important Estonian center of competence in UNESCO world heritage issues. The International Summer School gives students the opportunity to see beyond Estonia and Europe and to see local problems in a bigger picture.

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Posted by Andres Lõo