By Rosanna Kuon Arce
One of the main challenges faced by different professionals around the world in this time of pandemic is how to continue the communication and dissemination of information. Knowing this, the Research Center for Heritage Conservation of the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, Perú, launched a series of free webinars during the COVID-19 pandemic, which have been followed by professionals from around the world. These virtual meetings brought together—in fourteen sessions, from October 2020 to mid-February 2021—more than 1,500 professionals from Latin and North America, Asia, Africa, Europe, the UK, and a significant number of participants from Perú.
These interesting master lectures developed interdisciplinary topics related to heritage and its conservation. Lecturers from world-class institutions such as ICCROM, the Canadian Conservation Institute, University of Delaware, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Museo D’art de Catalunya, and the Serbia Institute for Conservation were invited to the well-attended UTEC webinars. The series was carried out as thematic modules. Historical sources, and their encounter with science for conservation, was the first theme. Modules of preventive conservation, collections management, and risk assessment lectures were scheduled as well as imaging techniques including the process and creation of multi-spectral images of pictorial works as essential for documentation in museums.
Among the very interesting topics exposed during the webinars, the concepts of conservation illustrated by Gaël de Guichen and his particular way of presenting them were of special interest for the public. Also of interest were the lectures around deterioration agents, storage, packaging and transportation, lighting for exhibition, and the RE-ORG methodology.
It is interesting to note that the webinars were advertised using social media networks and by email, with people from around the world sharing and resharing the invitation to the events. In general, the format of the webinars has been 40-60 minutes of lecture followed by a round of questions for 10-20 minutes. During the webinars, it became customary to receive greetings from different countries and to acknowledge the presence of colleagues from varying countries during the round of questions and answers.
The research center at UTEC was created to promote interdisciplinary research in conservation of the vast Peruvian cultural heritage and, by extension, of the material heritage in this region and the wider world. Aware of the need to link with the public interested in collections management and preventive conservation, a group of researchers and staff at the Center started the idea of the webinars, proposing the lectures to distinguished professionals on an international level. The team in charge is now preparing a second round of webinars and other initiatives to maintain the communications that we have cultivated between conservators and professionals interested in heritage around the world.
Link for video conferences: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQr-enHBVh5zmh4QBVSpXdg
Rosanna Kuon is an architect, master in museum and cultural management, and conservator of easel paintings. She is a founding member of the Centro de Investigación y Conservación de Patrimonio at the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología –UTEC in Lima, Perú and a researcher of interdisciplinary projects at this institution. She launched the Conservation and Restoration Department at Museo de Arte de Lima- MALI as well as being a consultant in conservation to UNESCO heritage projects.
(Read the article in the April-May 2021 "News in Conservation" Issue 83, p. 48-49)