Project: Destructive Exploitation and care of Cultural Objects and Professional/Public Education for sustainable heritage management

Acronym DECOPE
Project Topic The war between Russia and Ukraine firmly locates major challenges relating to heritage, society and ethics in areas of armed conflict in the heart of Europe. Against this backdrop, DECOPE aims to investigate how care is mobilised for cultural heritage during armed conflict, identifying the challenges, impacts and effects of local, national and international responses in order to create more effective, competent and targeted support for the work of professionals and communities. When national institutions are severely strained in war zones, alternative, ad-hoc structures emerge. These can help accelerate the impact and effectiveness of care and rapid collaboration with international institutions providing aid. Yet, the power void created by severe damage to bureaucracy and opaque processes of rapid response makes cultural property vulnerable to expropriation in the name of cultural patrimony and trafficking of cultural property under guise of “rescue”. Exploring these contradictions DECOPE will reveal the consequences of nationally-driven cultural heritage policies for heritage management, community involvement and global responsibility. While tracking Ukrainian heritage “rescue” projects across Europe, the project will pinpoint the challenges of providing aid/assistance and reveal how, and by whom, narratives about cultural heritage are produced and used in different local, regional, national and international contexts. Through online and face-to-face fieldwork, we will work with Ukrainian heritage professionals to understand how they have mobilised to mitigate damage to both the heritage they manage and their professional lives. We will identify barriers, bottlenecks and constraints and produce guidance and resources to create more effective and sustainable collaboration between international and national organisations and those heritage professionals, NGOs and lay communities working ‘on the ground’.
Network JPI Cultural Heritage
Call Cultural Heritage, Society and Ethics

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Norwegian Institute of Cultural Heritage Research Coordinator Norway
2 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos Partner Spain
3 University of Stirling Partner United Kingdom