In the wake of the impulses given by the Quirinal Treaty, which emphasizes the field of cultural heritage as a field of cooperation between Italy and France, the Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine, the Institut Français Italia, and the French Embassy in Italy organise the IT-FR cooperation in Heritage Science event series: a series of ibride events, both online and in person, on the Cultural Heritage in the Green transition issue.
The Italian-French bilateral cooperation on heritage science is based on the recognized excellence of the two countries on several long-term joint research initiatives. Italy will host the statutory headquarters of the European Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) which is in the process of forming a consortium, for a European research infrastructure ERIC, by 2023. France leads the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI CH) and the project that will lead to the creation of Alliance for Research on Cultural Heritage in Europe (ARCHE).
To watch the replay of the previous seminars, please visit the website of CNR ISPC and the ISPC YouTube channel.
15 Septembre 2022 Seminar
The Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development. Toward a green transition?
Conceptualized as “living heritage” and characterized by intrinsic links with the economy, environment, and society, Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) explicitly introduces new issues and concerns within the realm of heritage policies, which go far beyond those conventionally associated with conservation. Drawing on participant observation of ICH governance within the governing bodies of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH on the one hand, and of the preparation of a nomination to the UNESCO Representative List in an Italian town on the other hand, I shed light on the disruptions in heritage representations when heritage work becomes more about making plans for the future than engaging with the past. In tackling the temporality regime underpinning ICH, this paper highlights an important paradigm shift from “conservation” aimed at perpetuating authenticity to “safeguarding,” entailing instead the integration of change. I argue that this shift not only challenges established heritage theory and practice, but opens up new possibilities for accelerating a green transition.
Giulio Lucarini & Anita Radini
Human adaptation to and impact on the Environment
In the last decades, archaeology and paleo-environmental disciplines have largely contributed to a wider understanding of human responses to climate changes of the past, especially in relation to socio-cultural phenomena of great importance, such as demographic fluctuations, migrations or technological adaptation. That provided insights for a better management of similar problems in present days.
These same disciplines also explore what the impact of human activities on Planet Earth may have been in the distant past. If, in fact, the heavy acceleration that has been produced since the mid-nineteenth century is evident, the diachronic analysis of the complex relationships that governed human beings and environment, shows that this impact may have occurred even before the Industrial Revolution and that it can be traced back to the first agricultural and pastoral production experiences of the planet.
The study concerning the origins of these economies and their long-term environmental impact is today of great relevance by reason of the role that these subsistence strategies still play globally among communities, but also for the debate on their ecological effects. At the same time, studying the adaptations of ancient societies to situations of environmental stress can help address responses to climate change and the increasing aridification that different regions of the planet are experiencing today.
Integrating data from the past to build the future: heritage a source and a showcase of innovation
Heritage is often also a source of inspiration, inspiration with regard to the materials used, the techniques, the craftsmanship, the know-how. Tangible and intangible goods are also an asset, a tool for innovation to bring new solutions. By drawing inspiration from the past and the virtuous riches of our heritage, solutions for preservation, but also for better living are within reach. There is as much to be done in identifying the effects as in identifying the innovative potential offered by heritage.
The European New Bauhaus movement bears witness to this and heritage has a huge role to play in these actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The heritage must be a showcase for innovation, listing all the materials and virtuous techniques that can be integrated into the main objective of the European green pact, zero carbon by 2050. Integrating data from the past to better build the future today.
Cultural heritage experiences in the twin transition: promoting sustainable visitor behaviours
The role of cultural heritage in inspiring action for climate mitigation and sustainable futures is an emerging area of research (JPI Cultural Heritage & JPI Climate, 2022). Visitors represent an important target audience for raising awareness and encouraging behavioural change towards more sustainable practices to protect cultural heritage, reduce environmental impacts and reach climate neutrality goals (Potts, 2021; Markham et al., 2016). Promoting sustainable visitor behaviours for the conservation of cultural heritage and the environment is thus a strategic priority for cultural heritage institutions, but remains challenging, particularly with regard to how sustainable behaviours can be integrated in the design of visitor-centred experiences (Ardoin, Schuh, and Khalil, 2016).
With the aim to contribute to the debate in this field, this presentation focuses on how to promote sustainable visitor behaviours through cultural heritage experiences from the twin transition perspective. It provides insights into the understanding of sustainable visitor behaviours, key antecedents identified by literature and the opportunities offered by digital technologies. Building on an experience design approach (Tussyadiah, 2014, 2017), guiding principles are presented for designing experiences involving digital technologies that are effective in encouraging and engaging visitors in sustainable behaviours.
Thomas Mouzard & Sofia Pescarin
For a relational and integrated approach to safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage
The safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) contributes by definition to the green transition because, in application of the 2003 Unesco Convention, it must respect the objectives of sustainable development (SD), of which ecology is one of the 3 axes. According to the Operational Directives revised in 2016, States Parties strive to “strengthen the role of ICH as a factor and guarantor of SD”. After summarizing the main orientations and principles of this international normative instrument in this field, this communication will begin by presenting a summary assessment and the issues that arise in France in their implementation. Thirdly, we will approach the problem from an anthropological point of view by highlighting the impossibility of responding to the ecological challenges of our time without reconsidering our ways of relating to the living, and getting out of the double dichotomy humanity / nature, modernities / traditions.
Valeria Di Tullio
Green Conservation and E-RIHS: experiences of access to research infrastructures
As several aspects of society, also the conservation of cultural heritage is moving towards a more sustainable approach. In this presentation, several examples of access to the Italian node of E-RIHS (European research infrastructure for heritage science) will be presented showing the role of multi-disciplinary collaboration between scientists, conservators, art historians and others to promote the safeguarding of cultural heritage and enhance its sustainability through better-coordinated research and innovation. The employment and the dissemination of new approaches of green conservation can be thus successfully improved by providing access to high-level scientific tools, data, advanced knowledge as well as to innovative methodologies applied to the Cultural Heritage.
Green technologies and materials for Cultural Heritage Conservation
European Cultural Heritage (CH) is a crucial resource that must be maintained, preserved and accessible, to counteract degradation enhanced by unfavorable environmental conditions and climate changes. Traditional conservation methodologies lack durability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness, and are typically based on energy-consuming processes or non-environmentally friendly materials.
Coping with these issues, new solutions based on green and sustainable materials and methods, to preserve, conserve and restore have been proposed and will be further developed within the “green matrix” and the European Green deal. In this talk I will briefly highlight: 1) Protective coatings based on green materials from waste and plant proteins, with self-heling and reversibility character, possibly functionalized with organic/inorganic nanoparticles to impart VOC capture, anti-corrosion and barrier behaviors; 2) Foams and packaging materials made by biodegradable/compostable polymers from renewable sources to control T/RH. 3) Consolidants based on natural polymers from renewable sources, to mechanically strengthen weak artifacts. 4) Gels and cleaning fluids inspired by the most advanced systems currently available to conservators, improving them according to green and circular economy.
Edwige Pons Branchu
The history of water in urban heritage, research avenues for water management in the future city
In densely populated areas, urban development has a significant impact on the quality of natural water, and in particular that of near-surface aquifers. The quality of these waters is poorly known, as are the factors that influence it (sources of pollution for example), and are not used as a resource. We present here the study of the near surface waters of Paris and its surroundings. The innovative approach developed within the framework of several projects aimed to put in place analytical tools to reconstruct the historical evolution of water quality. This is based on the study of fine limestone deposits formed by seepage water over time and found in historic aqueducts, catacombs or other underground structures. It is thus possible to trace the temporal evolution of certain sources of pollution in connection with urban development or human activities, and better constrain them. This approach is also underway for the study of the water supplying the fountains of the Palace of Versailles.
This methodology could be applied to other sites in France and Italy. Indeed, the better knowledge of the history of urban waters or highly anthropized areas makes it possible to discuss their possible valorization as an alternative resource, in a context of scarcity of water resources.
10 November 2022 Seminar
Evolution-adaptation of coastlines in the context of climate change
Sedimentary coasts are very dynamic even without climate change or sea level changes. Their shoreline can move at rates of meters per years. If the sedimentary budget of a given coast is negative, erosion predominates and the shoreline is retreating. Conversely, if the sedimentary budget is positive, sediment accumulation predominates and the shoreline is migrating seaward. Today a major consequence of global warming is sea level rise. Global mean sea level rise accelerates since the 19th century and reaches 3,6 mm/yr for the last decades. This trend will continue for the next centuries. The effect of sea level rise on many sedimentary coasts is a shoreward migration of the shoreline. Sediment accumulation along the coastline is the main parameter that can counteract this shoreline migration induced by sea level rise. Unfortunately, sedimentation along many coasts is reduced due to human activities, like river damming or land reclamation, leading to an increase of coastal vulnerability to flooding. In addition to global sea level rise, fast sea level rise due to storm surges can occur locally and lead to major marine flooding. The frequency of these extreme sea levels related to storms will be increased by global sea level rise. Facing these already observed and projected evolutions, many adaption strategies are proposed. Hard defences, consisting of sea walls, rock armour, groynes, etc are able to prevent shoreline migration but at the same time are expensive and usually lead to beach erosion and major perturbations of coastal ecosystems. An example of soft defence is given by beach nourishment. Massive sand supply can result in an effective coastal protection, but also strongly impact coastal ecosystems. Both hard and soft defences are costly, energy-consuming and need maintenance. Ecosystem-based solution are increasingly popular in the research community and their application on sedimentary coasts has several advantages. An example is given by protection and restauration of coastal marshes and wetlands and/or “depolderisation”. The main advantages are: (1) fast sedimentation and building up elevation to keep pace with sea-level rise; (2) limitation of extreme sea levels during storms by flooding of lowlands, (3) wave energy dissipation by vegetation; (4) increase in biodiversity and biomass; (5) increase in water quality and (6) protection of coastal natural heritage leading to improve human health and well-being, social cohesion and connection of people to nature.
Sensing the invisible for a sustainable management of underwater cultural landscape: hints from the Baia submerged archeological park
Sensing technologies applied to different operational purposes:
- Systematic non-invasive in situ monitoring of UCH
- Monitoring is the most effective method for studying changes to a submerged site over the course of its lifetime and for potentially identifying the factors that influence a site’s degradation so that preventative measures can be implemented.
- In line with the main principle of the UNESCO 2001 Convention aiming to develop new ways of in situ protection
- Simultaneous investigation of seafloor geomorphologic features and its cultural resources
- Improve the integration of archaeology and cultural heritage management within the marine science in line with the aims of
- The Ocean Decade Heritage Network
- The integration of UHC into Marine Spatial Planning (MPA)
- Fruition of UCH
- Sensing technologies provide a continuous overview of the seabed morphology and associated cultural features both to diving and not diving public.
- Underwater cultural landscapes are not human living environments and we do not see them directly and continuously.
Very High Resolution and Ultra High Resolution echosounder systems including
- Multibeam echosounder system
- Depth measurements for morphological and archaeological characterization and mapping
- Side Scan Sonar system
- Seafloor acoustic reflectivity measurements for target detection and seabed composition
A pilot action is being implemented through the application of remote sensing techniques in the submerged Archaeological Park of Baia (the Roman Baiae; Naples, Italy). This area represents a unique example that combine cultural and natural heritage in marine environment. The importance of such interrelation has been formally recognized with the establishment of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2002, based on the presence of marine habitats of community importance.
The Archaeological Park of Baia is part of an active volcanic complex, the Campi Flegrei caldera, which is characterized by frequent earthquakes and short-term vertical ground movements in the range of several metres to several tens of metres, known as bradyseism. Consequently, a number of architectural remains including villae maritimae and landing ports are now are presently drowned up to ca. -10 m below the actual mean sea level.
Green materials and methods in the conservation of cultural heritage: the challenge for an ecological index
The theme of sustainability in the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage is mainly addressed to the research and testing of new organic products deriving from natural sources such as : essential oils, nanocelluloses, polysaccharides extracted from algae , bacteria for cleaning and consolidation of artworks. On the contrary equally important factors, such as the global procedures and methodologies used in restoration sites, are often not taken into consideration although they influence the sustainability of the interventions in a perhaps even greater way. This is probably due to the complex multiplicity of aspects to be evaluated. For this reason, it would be advisable to adopt green planning guidelines that favor the reduction of environmental impact. The practice of guided and sustainable planning, by quantifying the ecological impact of each operations, could in fact promote the development of an ecological project index, which can guide administrations in the choice of more sustainable interventions.
Sustainable conservation of built cultural heritage in a changing environment
Large research and innovation efforts have been made in Europe and worldwide for the conservation of Built Cultural Heritage (BCH) but more work is needed to take into account the ecological footprint of the materials and methods employed during conservation works. In this way, matching cultural heritage requirements with ecological, economic and social aspects becomes a crucial point in future conservation and restoration policies. One aspect of sustainability is the durability of proposed solutions and materials. In order to improve the durability of the conservation interventions it is important to know the environmental conditions of the building in the future, specifically climate and atmospheric composition.
To treat these aspects an international and multidisciplinary group of researchers, companies, stakeholders and associations, from Latin America and Europe was founded to work on the sustainable conservation of built cultural heritage in actual and future conditions. The proposed operational methods will consider the bidirectional relationships between conservation and environmental change. Conservation methods must contribute to minimize the environmental change by reducing the footprint of the building all over its lifetime and at the same time, they must adapt to actual and future environments, that changes must faster than during the previous life of buildings.
27 January 2023 Seminar
European Protocol In preventive Conservation – for historic houses and palace-museums
Since 2015, the Palace of Versailles has led the EPICO (European Protocol In preventive Conservation) research programme, focused on the preventive conservation of historic houses and palace–museums. Alongside the Network of European Royal Residences (ARRE), the EPV partners with different members of ARRE as well as international research and educational institutes. Within the framework of sound, sustainable management, EPICO has continued its preventive approach by developing an assessment method collections, designed specifically for historic houses. A sustainable management strategy based on preventive conservation requires precise knowledge of the state and conservation conditions of collections. An action plan can then be drawn up to establish preventive and maintenance priorities that aim to limit the amount of restoration required; this will have a significant beneficial impact on environmental and economic management of resources. This method can be applied to any historic house, regardless of its size or the number of collections it conserves. Using simple tools the EPICO method aims to provide a full overview of the condition of the building to establish priorities and draw up a long-term strategy. This is based on a systemic assessment strategy in which the conditions of conservation, the state of conservation of the collection and the presentation of the works are analysed.
Safeguarding cultural heritage against natural and anthropic risks. The contribution of the Italian partnership on ‘Cultural Heritage Active Innovation for Sustainable Society’ and the national PhD programme on Heritage Sciences
The speech “Safeguarding cultural heritage against natural and anthropic risks. The contribution of the Italian partnership on ‘Cultural Heritage Active Innovation for Sustainable Society’ and the national PhD programme on Heritage Sciences” illustrates the Italian contribution in the field of research on cultural heritage, with particular reference to the built heritage, in relation to the causes and effects of climate change. Brief references to national and European regulations will introduce the NRRP (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) Extended Partnership Programme, followed by an illustration of the objectives and methods of the new national PhD programme “Heritage Science”, also created with NRRP resources, with the aim of training a new generation of researchers and professionals working in the cultural heritage sector, capable of collaborating and competing in the context of the most prestigious European and international initiatives.
Elisabeth Marie-Victoire & Myriam Bouichou
Thermal comfort in historic concrete buildings, Problematics and innovation axis – FRESCO Project
Since the 1990s, the amount of concrete buildings protected as historical monuments in France exponentially grew to reach in 2021 more than 920 buildings. If concrete has allowed many architectural innovations, of which the work of Le Corbusier is one of the major emblems, it has also generated new problems. Thus, the desire to refine the walls to create an architectural lightness, the large openings according to the concept of the free plan created by Le Corbusier in the 1920s, are first a source of thermal discomfort. Additionally, concrete pathologies, often related to condensation phenomena, are observed. The current global warming, confirmed by the IPCC report (IPCC_AR6_WGII, Chapter06) will contribute to accentuate these problems, and make it urgent to find new ways of resilience.
If solutions such as thermal insulation from the outside have proven their worth, they are difficult to transpose to historic monuments which restoration ethics require the preservation of the architectural aspect and the material. Research of innovative technological solutions and management of the use are thus necessary.
In this context, the FRESCO project, supported by the COMUE Paris-Est aims to find innovative solutions to improve thermal comfort, energy efficiency and material conservation in historic concrete buildings, while respecting their deontological requirements. The project, whose novelty lies in the systemic vision of the behavior of 20th century heritage buildings, is focusing on three famous examples of the architecture of Le Corbusier.
Tools and strategies for enhancing preparedness of cultural heritage against climate change induced extreme events
The risk to cultural heritage as a consequence of the related hazards and impacts of climate change, particularly extreme events, is globally recognized. However, this is not sufficiently addressed by research-based measures dedicated to its safeguarding, nor is it properly set out in national disaster risk-reduction and management plans and measures.
Research and innovation on user-driven solutions, tools, mitigation and adaptation strategies, is therefore urgently required, based on sound scientific studies, capitalization of achieved knowledge, transferring and dissemination of results and coordinated actions among the different actors involved in the decision-making process for protection and management of cultural and natural heritage. Recent results obtained at European level are discussed by focusing in particular on the “Risk mapping tool for cultural heritage protection” and the “Methodology for vulnerability ranking” developed in the framework of the Interreg Central European Projects ProteCHt2save and STRENCH. Strategies proposed for the safeguarding of cultural heritage in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) within the EU Study “Safeguarding Cultural Heritage from Natural and Man-Made Disasters” are also presented.
Conservation-restoration of buildings and the biosphere: a persistent incomprehension? Misunderstandings and resistance.
A profound change in our ways of thinking and acting? For several years, the multiplication of editorial initiatives, research, conferences and meetings, and public demands, seem to be moving in the direction of a slow but sure integration of environmental issues related to monuments and sites.
Nevertheless, despite the displays, various arguments are formulated that lessen the impact of the wishes expressed to work differently. Resistance and contradictions betray the weight of habits, the lack of human and material means in the services, the absence of adapted training, as well as the difficulties to question theories and practices, affect the different actors, institutions or companies.
It is a fact that, despite some good attempts and experiments, the exception is the rule. The latter hardly questions the usual practices with immediate value, the interventionist policies, the techniques used (destructive, abrasive, mechanical…), the products (biocides, waterproofing agents, hardeners, additives…), and the resulting waste; all this contributes to distancing the intentions of a balance between monument, site and environmental protection.
Multidisciplinary framework and cross-fertilisation challenges for energy and environmental improvement of built heritage
Built heritage is being recognised as a driver for sustainable development and green transition, as shown by the recent actions of the Climate Heritage Network, with the development of the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper in response to the European Green Deal. Environmental design and built heritage science are undergoing an integrated and interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, capable of leveraging the best of both hard sciences and humanities, to face the challenges of the energy and environmental improvement of historical buildings. To this end, Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM) and Building Performance Simulation (BPS) are promising tools to tackle the heterogeneity and complexities of built heritage, even if interoperability between the two is still complex. HBIM is an information management tool to structure the improvement workflow, while BPS can identify and simulate the energy behaviour of the building’s current state and evaluate the proposed interventions. The application of a workflow based on these tools to Palazzo Maffei Borghese, a historical building in the city centre of Rome, proves their effectiveness for research and professional practice.
27 April 2023 Seminar
Preparing historical gardens for the future.
Learning from the Potager du Roi, the urban historical kitchen garden of the Ecole nationale supérieure de paysage, Versailles.
Potager du Roi is a remarkable garden that fits into a unique urban composition. Since its creation starting in 1678, the site has undergone many changes without ever losing its original structure. Many architectural and plant structures of large gardens, such as walls, fountains and many linear tree plantings or parterres, have a life cycle that is approximately centennial. Potager du Roi was completed in 1683. The first major restoration occurred in the 1780’s and the second began in the 1880’s. Today, Potager du Roi suffers from a fourty-year deficit of sustained investment. This presentation will describe how an agroecological approach, based both on historical and on contemporary practices, is being applied to conserve and share the unique and exceptional atmosphere of the garden designed by La Quintinie; to position the site as a living heritage at the heart of contemporary debates and in particular sustainable practices concerning food and health issues in an urban environment.
Botanical approach for Cultural Heritage: Historical Garden and Archaelogical Park.
The Plant Blindness is defined as “the inability to see plants in the surrounding environment”, with the consequence of failing to recognize their importance. Concept dating back to 1998, it is the result of years of research by James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler.
Historic gardens, like archaeological parks, are often hot spots of biodiversity and refugia. Places within which many rare or legally protected plant species are saved from the incessant advance of urbanization. The management conditions linked to the conservation of monuments allow these species to survive. Within these places, therefore, the right balance must be found for the conservation and enhancement not only of the monuments present but also of the biodiversity present which therefore adds value to the site itself. Only correct conservation and targeted enhancement can defeat the plant blindness not only of visitors but also of those who manage and maintain the site. In my speech today we will see a series of problems related to the conservation and enhancement of the plant component within historic gardens but also in archaeological parks, scrolling through some emblematic case studies.
Le jardinier et le projet, pour une adaptation aux changements climatiques.
To see climate change as a death knell is a simplistic view of the garden as a work. Even if it is worrying, the disappearance of certain plants cannot be considered impossible for the survival of gardens. In contrast to the forest, it must be remembered that the issues at stake in a garden are primarily landscape issues. Of course, replanting has a high cost, but we must pay attention to the experimental dimension of the garden and the trials to be multiplied. Landscape designers are thus led to rethink gardens to create other forms which enrich the garden with different meanings. The history of gardens and the structures still in place confirm that this research is familiar. The experience of plants becoming unsuitable, obliging us to redesign entire structures, reminds us that the answer is always in the project, that the historic garden is also composed of the surrounding landscape, of axes, of full and empty spaces, of buildings, of uses and practices, of the economy. This requires excellent capacities of intellectual openness and pedagogy to question certain historical forms and compositions. We, therefore, choose to be optimistic, to think of ourselves as being at the dawn of a new way of thinking about the historic garden, which trusts in the capacity of living organisms to adapt to the project and in garden management.
Monitoring and safeguarding of cultural heritage: the case of Italian parks and gardens.
Italy and France, but in general the Euro‐Mediterranean area will facing important challenges in the next years relating to the conservation and protection of the natural and cultural heritage threatened by the direct and indirect effects due to Climate Change. ISPRA, MIC and ISCR have been collaborating for almost twenty years for the definition of indicators of natural and anthropic risk on the national cultural heritage through the Carta del Rischio project (http://vincoliinrete.beniculturali.it/VincoliInRete/vir/utente/login). Indeed, thanks to this platform, today, for example, it is possible to analyze the distribution, typology and natural and anthropic pressures on specific categories, such as Parks and Gardens. From the analysis of static hazard in the coming years it will be possible to move on to dynamic monitoring, almost in real time, thanks also to the support of services and products derived from earth observation. With this in mind, the Ministry of Culture is developing a pilot project for the national monitoring of CH. The general structure of the Plan and the methodological procedures under implementation will certainly be an example for future collaborations between Italy and France.
We are pleased to share information about various funding opportunities that are currently available, launched by the Institut Français and the Université Franco-Italianne. The strong relationship between Italy and France makes these bilateral exchange programs of great interest. Each of the opportunities below include the theme of Innovations in the field of cultural heritage. These opportunities are open to French and Italian students, professors, and researchers, as well as, individuals from several other European countries (just in the case of the France Excellence Europa) who are interested in studying and/or working in France and Italy.
- Galileo Program (deadline: may 19th, 2023)
- Scholarships of the French Government (deadline: april 30th, 2023)
- Scholarship “France Excellence Europa” (deadline: march 30th, 2023)
- Program “Cassini” (deadline: april 10th, 2023)
- Call for application Visiting Professor UIF 2023 (deadline: april 21st, 2023)
- Call for application Italian-French Chairs 2023 (deadline: april 21st, 2023)
- 1st call for application Scientific Label UIF 2023 (deadline: april 5th, 2023)