National and University Library in Zagreb, in partnership with Cultural Innovation Center and International Institute for Climate Activities, has organized a seminar titled Protection of cultural heritage in crisis on 7 November 2019 in Zagreb.
The event brought together two sectors: cultural heritage, and civil protection sector. At the event the sectors were bridging the silo-gap, recognizing that they have one job to do together – prepare culture for the disasters, as anticipated by the comprehensive national risk assessment.
The event featured two panels, attended by about 150 participants from both the abovementioned sectors. Well focused and inspiring greeting speech was delivered by the acting chief director of the Library, Tatijana Petrić.
The morning panel presented six speakers: Tomislav Petrinec (Ministry of Culture), Dražen Štajduhar (Ministry of the Interior), Ivana Krišto (Zagreb Emergency Management Office), Siniša Jembrih (Zagreb Fire Department), Vladimir Kalinski (International Institute for Climate Activities), and Želimir Kramarić (Zagreb Development Agency).
The morning panel was moderated by Saša Tkalec, CEO of the Cultural Innovation Center. In introductory remarks, Saša Tkalec built on the opening presentation by Tomislav Petrinec about heritage protection efforts in the recent war and presented the history of cooperation in Croatia between the civil protection and fire departments with the ALM sector of culture.
The speakers addressed the operational, logistical, formal normative, prospective, contextual and financial aspects of disasters, as they pertain to the heritage sector. The audience has shown a keen interest and steered the discussion towards relevant specific current issues and recent experiences.
The afternoon panel presented four speakers: Borut Gulić (Croatian State Archives), Janja Juzbašić (Heritage Museum “Stjepan Gruber”, Županja), Ivana Župić-Baždarić (Scientific Library Zadar), Marin Vuković (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University in Zagreb), and Tamara Štefanac (National and University Library in Zagreb).
Tamara Štefanac was also moderating the afternoon panel, as Dragica Krstić, the chief organizer of the event was excused due to recent injury.
The speakers of the afternoon panel focused on the disaster response and recovery perspective and specific experiences in the cultural sector, including the contemporary information and documentation management issues.
The seminar was a continuation of the converging cooperation of the heritage protection and civil protection sector. Specifically, in 2010 the Zagreb Fire Department was invited by Ferdinand Meder, then director of the Croatian Conservation Institute, to assess the largest Croatian restoration facility, and devise a specific intervention tactic.
In 2012, the Croatian National Rescue and Protection Directorate included Saša Tkalec at that time also from the Croatian Conservation Institute as an observer and an assistant to site commander in the IPA CRO FLOODS 2012 EU field exercise, to facilitate exchange and interoperability between the sectors.
In 2013, Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb hosted, and in cooperation with the Heritage Protection and Development Society organized the first Conference on Cultural Heritage Protection in Crisis, which included experienced professionals as well as cultural and civil protection stakeholders.
In 2014/2015 the pilot risk assessment was prepared for the Castle Batthyany in Ludbreg, which was a part of the Croatian Conservation Institute, then directed by Mario Braun. The pilot assessment used the UNESCO/Ritsumeikan methodology, which encouraged discussions and subsequently adaptations of the method to correspond with the Croatian protection systems and circumstances.
The adapted and further elaborated method was used in 2017 in considering and managing risks and building resilience of the National and University in Zagreb – a two-year process to complete by the end of the year.
In between the above milestones, the sectors were cooperating on research and frequently met at various conferences organized by either of the sectors.
The cooperation was further affirmed in 2018 when the new Civil Protection Directorate within the Ministry of the Interior included a special Department for critical infrastructure and cultural heritage.
This new department is a clear investment in further cooperation between the sectors. It builds on persistence and keen interest of professionals who considered the advantages of such interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral engagement.