Project facts

Duration: 2023-03-01 - 2025-04-01
Project coordinator: Josephine Munch Rasmussen, Norwegian institute for Cultural Heritage Research
Project consortium: Norwegian institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NO), University of Stirling (UK), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (ES), Centre for Urban History of East-Central Europe (UA), The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage (NO), Historic Environment Scotland (UK), Museum Crisis Centre and New Museum NGO (UA)
Funding bodies: Research Council Norway (RCN), the Spanish State Research Agency (AEI), and Arts and Humanities Research Council UK (AHRC)
Subject areas: Archaeology, Architecture, Archives, Built Heritage, Collections, Conservation, Crime narratives, Heritage Management, Heritage values - Identity, Monuments - Sites, Museums
Budget: 674 000 EUR


DECOPE is investigating how the international heritage sector has mobilised in response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine

In war, the values and meanings of cultural heritage are activated and aggravated in complex and conflicting ways.

Heritage objects and sites become targets of willful or collateral destruction, commodities for extraction and consumption, and unifying, symbolic markers of cohesion and survival.

In this project, we assess how interventions framed as protection, rescue and care reach local heritage communities, and how care is enacted by affected communities on the ground.

Impacts & Results

Contributions to the effective, competent, and targeted support for the work of cultural heritage practitioners and lay communities involved in the care of cultural heritage in the context of conflict and its aftermath.

Cooperation with policy-makers, civil servants, heritage/museum professionals, NGOs, and heritage activists working in Ukrainian heritage rescue projects to understand the challenges relating to the division of labour, resource distribution, priority setting and overall communication.

Increased observation of due diligence by art market stakeholders, increased capacity of regulators to prove negligence or intentional criminality, thereby increased protection of cultural heritage from illicit trading and trafficking.

More equitable cooperation between local and non-local heritage actors, as well as more effective care for heritage in areas of ongoing conflict.

Contributions to the preparedness of “peaceful neighbours” in understanding and regulating their roles and responsibilities as “Rescuers” versus “appropriators” of cultural heritage coming out of warzones.

More effective support for projects and activities involved in protection, rescue and broader care of heritage in Ukraine, as well as the professionals, activists and lay communities involved in them.