APTCCARN at the ICOM-CC 18th Triennial in Copenhagen, Denmark

Sabine Cotte and Claire Grech, both the University of Melbourne, Australia. Group photos provided by Joy Nuchada Pianprasankit.

It was wonderful to see so many APTCCARN members and friends at the recent ICOM-CC Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, over 4-8 September 2017. Events like this are a fantastic opportunity to strengthen and build the connections within our network, and provide an avenue to share significant research outside of our Meetings to a broader audience. Over 1000 delegates from 58 countries attended this conference.




Over the five days we endeavoured to participate in as many of the 5 concurrent sessions as possible, which showcased research from the 21 working groups, and centred on the theme “Linking Past and Future”. Kathleen Dardes delivered the ICOM-CC 50th Anniversary Lecture, on ‘The Definition of the Profession Reimagined: How ICOM-CC’s history can inspire its future’. Dardes stressed the necessity of public engagement in building the profession into the future, and significantly, the need for conservators to respond and adapt to the challenges of climate change, something with which APTCCARN Members are already highly aware and engaged with. The latter issue was expanded upon further in a lunchtime discussion regarding the evolution of environmental controls within museums, which continued on from the 2014 IIC Congress in Hong Kong. Predominately, however, this conversation was focused on the issue within the context of institutions in temperate climates, and neglected other factors that need to be considered in regions that are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as access to resources, electricity, and most significantly, the increase in severity and frequency of natural disasters.

Highlights of the conference included presentations given by APTCCARN members Julia Brennan and Joy Nuchada Pianprasankit 'Before they are gone expanded: Capturing traditional textile preservation knowledge in Southeast Asia and Latin America', Sabine Cotte 'Building capacity for post-disaster recovery of museum collections in Nepal', and Claire Grech 'Questions of color: A technical study into Franz Marc’s masterpiece Grazing Horses IV (The Red Horses)'. Joy has prepared a blog post for APTCCARN on the research she presented, which will published soon here on the blog.  

Sabine presented the workshop led by ICCROM at the National Museum of Nepal, in Kathmandu, in February 2016. One of the buildings that housed a collection in storage had partially collapsed during the 2015 earthquake, and the collections had been temporarily stored on the floor of the adjacent gallery. During the workshop, 27 participants from several museums in Nepal organised the documentation, moving, basic cleaning and rehousing of a sample of 300 objects into a safe, visible storage space that will be toured by visitors to show the breadth of the museum’s collections. She had presented a shorter version of this talk at the APTCCARN forum Natural Disasters and Cultural Heritage in the Philippines: Knowledge Sharing, Decision Making, and Conservation in April 2017.

Photo courtesy Sabine Cotte. 

Photo courtesy Sabine Cotte. 

Aparna Tandon (ICCROM) gave an insightful paper on ‘Post disaster damage assessment’, which surveyed the response to several recent major disasters in Nepal, Myanmar, Philippines, and Central Italy. She stressed the necessity of integrating crowd mapping and geolocation tools for undertaking damage assessments of movable/immovable cultural heritage. She emphasised the need to be prepared for when these disaster events happen, not if, given the increasing frequency and severity of climate change-induced disasters worldwide. A key part of this is the preparation of these heritage maps in advance, so that the cultural sector can build capacity for a rapid response, including timely funding applications.


Following this conference, ICOM-CC has made all papers from the 2011 Lisbon, 2014 Melbourne and 2017 Copenhagen Conferences freely available online, accessible here. Several APTCCARN members have papers included here: 

Nicole Tse, Klangpol Kamolchote, Ljiljana Puskar, Sarinya Panmanee, Stephen Best, Supanee Chayabutra, Thanawoot Khlungwisarn | Artist’s oil paints in Thailand.

Nicole Tse*, Assoc. Prof. Ann Roberts, Assoc. Prof. Peter Farrell, Dr Graham Brodie, Dr Jessica Kvansakul, Emily Harris | The in situ, non-invasive investigation of an outdoor wooden sculpture.

Julia Brennan, Nuchada Pianprasankit, Piyamon Pochoom | Before They Are Gone: Capturing and Sharing the Traditional Methods of Textile Preservation in Thailand.

Julia M. Brennan | To Give Without Discrimination: Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's Forty Year Effort to Preserve Thai Textile Traditions.

Jacinta Brown | Cultural preservation and promotion : Community conservation mentoring in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.

Bettina Ebert | Analysis and Conservation Treatment of Vietnamese Paintings.

Other papers that may be of interest:

Beatrice Byer Bayle | Observations on the consequences of modern conservation policies on the maintenance of Buddhist monasteries in Thailand and Sri Lanka.