The Charisma project team is happy to announce that the results of the second Work Package are finally ready!
This Project Result is being designed to respond to the strategic need of VET providers (including the ones in the partnership) to change their curriculum related to different kinds of Cultural Heritage professionals, providing trainees with the necessary levels of skills and competencies required by the job market.
The responsible partner for this Work Package was the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM) of the Czech Republic.
ITAM is a part of The Czech Academy of Science. It works on scientific research in the field of solid phase mechanics, oriented particularly on micromechanics, biomechanics of solids, statistical dynamics of systems and media, nonlinear mechanics of systems, processes of failure of materials, mechanics of multifunctional materials, mechanics of particular media, and computer and numerical mechanics.
The research is also concerned with the economic assessment of structures, buildings, etc. incl. proposals for new methodologies for special-purpose buildings and structures and the assessment of environmental and territorial effects, particularly in the safeguarding and evaluation of historical buildings and settlements.
Since 2000 the Institute has been supported by a grant from the European Commission as a “Centre of Excellence” responsible for the project ARCCHIP (Advanced Research Centre for the Cultural Heritage Interdisciplinary Project).
The document outlines the main findings of WP2, endorsing the identification of basic characteristics for the CH risk manager. This document meets the following objectives:
- To identify the standing needs for skills and competencies in Europe concerning cultural heritage vulnerability and protection.
- To review the existing professional figures in the CH job market in Europe.
- To establish the profile for the future CH risk manager whose role will be of paramount importance to more effective risk management.
- To outline the significance of the CH risk manager, benefits and expected impact.
Skills and competences
The analysis carried out among the project partners outlines different scenarios, defining a wide range of skills, competencies and responsibilities that the CH risk manager should ideally possess. The results provide a snapshot of the heterogeneity of perspectives on the topic, stemming from complementary project partners’ expertise. They also contextualize the current situation to the Countries belonging to the partnership namely Italy, Czech Republic, Austria and Germany.
The results, categorized according to the tasks of the risk management cycle (Fig.1) and the dimensions of the analysis (e.g. physical, economic, social etc.), can be summarized as follows:
- The first aspect investigated concerns the CH risk manager’s skills and competences.
- Secondly, the aspect of the responsibilities of the CH risk manager is analyzed.
The multidisciplinary and multidimensional nature of cultural heritage risk management is widely acknowledged. This is also apparent in the results obtained, where different perspectives on CH risk management are combined. In particular, the defined skills and competencies span over different branches of science, including engineering, architecture, social, environmental and climate sciences but also humanities such as arts and history as well as economics, management and law. Similarly, responsibilities may range between technical, managerial and operational ones including coordination, planning and decision-making.
Existing professional figures in the CH job market
The desk review of the professional figures already on the CH job market provides further insights into the stakeholders that are active or that can be potentially engaged in risk management tasks.
The desk review carried out by the CHARISMA project partnership investigates the existing professional figures active in the field of cultural heritage protection. It reveals, once again, the complexity and multi-layered characteristics of risk management. A number of important observations can be made:
- technical professionals are involved to some extent in all tasks, more importantly in the definition of risks, in the design of actions and in monitoring their effectiveness;
- participatory processes are essential throughout the management cycle, however, it becomes of paramount importance in strategies planning;
- professionals’ expertise may overlap for example in the case of internal and external experts.
Surveyed required skills and competences
The results from the survey provide a comprehensive overview of the skills and competences necessary for risk management for cultural heritage.
As shown, over thirty responses were collected from six different Countries (including Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Romania and Serbia). Some respondents represent international organizations but they were counted as belonging to the Country where the respondent’s local office is located.
The cultural heritage categories managed by the respondents and represented in this survey include primarily movable and immovable tangible heritage (e.g. galleries and collections, monuments etc.) with respectively 55% and 31% while only 8% and 6% of the respondents deal with natural and underwater heritage. It is possible therefore to conclude that the most relevant categories of CH assets are represented in the results with a significant majority of participants involved with movable and immovable heritage (86%) over natural and underwater heritage assets (14%).
The percentage of CH management sectors to which the respondents belong include, in descending order: emergency management, conservation and restoration (17%); preventive conservation (17%); research (16%); curatorship (15%); exhibition management (14%); communication and promotion/others (both 6%); transport, loans (5%) and finally the insurance sector (4%). Technical sectors account for about 65% of the participants in the survey and the remaining 35% represent service sectors related to the management of the asset. The slight unbalance towards the practitioners (e.g. conservator, engineer, architect, historian and scientist) is in line with the composition of the project partnership. Although this may produce some effects on the results, it provides in turn a robust set of knowledge-oriented data on which the profile for CH risk manager can be based.
The results obtained for the required skills of the CH risk manager outline the most relevant abilities that, according to the respondents, this professional figure should have. Knowledge of vulnerability assessment methodologies and tools is indicated by 14% of the participants as a fundamental skill for risk management followed by the capacity to carry out an impact assessment (11%), data mining activities (11%) and perform hazard projections (10%). These four skills, representing 46% of all responses, corresponding to the fundamental conceptual pillars constituting the very meaning of risk evaluation, which couples the probability of the occurrence of an event with specific characteristics (hazard) with the expected damage (vulnerability and exposure).
It is interesting to notice that in the results of the CHARISMA survey, a series of obstacles are still felt by respondents as challenging the proper implementation of adequate risk management strategies. Lack of funds and awareness about CH risks are presented as the most relevant issues (19% of responses each). Lack of training is another fundamental barrier, attaining 17% of participants’ responses. Lack of suitable tools to carry out risk assessment procedures (14%), obstacles in finding relevant information and documentation (9%) and other challenges are also reported as relevant. The findings outlined provide deeper insights into how the profile of the CH risk manager should be shaped and which issues it should address.
Profile of the CH risk manager
The cultural heritage risk manager is essentially a professional figure who fosters the liaison between the different stakeholders involved in CH protection, ensuring proper communication and the smooth implementation of protection strategies.
Risk managers orchestrate the actions of multiple professionals, coordinating their responsibilities and making sure the available skills and competencies are fully exploited for the sake of the successful performance of the management task.
The CH risk manager profile features a set of three main skills that are at basis and enable the performance of various responsibilities. In between skills and responsibilities, there are operational challenges that act as a barrier preventing the abilities to be implemented in practical actions. Such challenges, therefore, should be overcome and properly addressed in order to develop the full potential of the manager’s skills.