Tag Archives: Heritage Management

“Importance of digital tools for heritage documentation and management” by Dr. Cornelis Stal

On Friday the 19th of July 2019, Athens was shocked by an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1 on Richter’s scale. Fortunately, this did not result in mortal injuries, but several buildings were severely damaged. Among others, the northern wall of the UNESCO world heritage site of the Daphni suffered a lot from this event. A good month earlier, HERITΛGE has organized a specialist course on the 3D documentation of cultural heritage. Coincidently, the same monastery has been selected as a case study for the participants to learn about the use of photogrammetry and laser scanning for the virtual reconstruction of site. After the earthquake, the resulting data are directly sent to the responsible authorities, allowing them to incorporate the models in the reconstruction and restoration activities.

This example clearly illustrates the importance of up-to-date and easily accessible data for heritage management. Endangered heritage can suffer from many events, like earthquakes in our example, but also flooding, forest fires, plunder, etc. Also, on a long term, heritage is heavily affected by lack of tools, financial means or improper use of the relics. In all cases, the features of the heritage asset can be permanently destroyed and with it its high cultural value and the collective memory that it represents. 3D data allows managers to get a better understanding of their heritage and gives conservators and architects an indispensable source for their reconstruction work.

All the more reason that HERITΛGE puts a strong focus on these topics by organizing specialist courses and summer schools, dealing with various aspects of spatial data acquisition and data management. These programs are not limited to the production of highly accurate 3D models, but a strong emphasizes is also put on the publication of data in terms of individual deliverables (point clouds, orthophotos, digital elevation models, textured 3D models, …). Furthermore, the impact of these deliverables is optimized by implementing open-source and online platforms for the visualization and analysis. Easy accessibility of virtual reconstructions of sites, presented on interactive and online platforms, increases the public awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and improves communication between all stakeholders. Geographic information systems and web mapping are also having an increasing importance in this domain.

At HERITΛGE, we want to empower heritage managers, architects, archaeologists, and all other stakeholders involved in the conservation of cultural heritage with the required tools for the digital documentation and reconstruction of their heritage. Participants learn to work with a wide range of these tools in hand-on training sessions, allowing them to implement various techniques directly on site during the course, but also in their own professional projects.

Dr. Cornelis Stal

Manager of H-digital, The Heritage Management Organization digitization program.

Convenor of the annual ‘Digital Tools for Heritage Management’ executive workshop by The Heritage Management Organization.

Lecturer/Researcher, Ghent University College – HOGENT, Belgium

“Hidden Landscapes of Heritage Productions” by Vassia Hadjiyannaki

 

As I sit down to write a few words about my experience in producing and filming a documentary on landscape archaeology in the island of Naxos, I wonder what could be of interest to us, the heritage tribe…

I am a producer/director with an MA in Heritage Management, working for Greece’s national broadcaster ERT, as well for the Heritage Management Organization.
I specialize in documentaries on heritage, anthropology and on children’s programs.

This documentary came about by sheer chance, actually.
My first intention was to gather information for another heritage production, this one for children. But the latter was at an initial stage of conception and the team consisted of just me and the artistic director.

The documentary on Naxos, on the other hand, would be the result of a research taking place for quite some time on location, conducted by the Mc Cord center for History, Classics and Archaeology of the University of Newcastle, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Oslo and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades.

First point to note:
If you are a heritage manager from the production field, you will be needing a solid research/scientific team to work with; mostly because this is the way to guarantee authenticity and support, scientific and financial. Without those, the road is long and it
won’t necessarily come to fruition, even if it is well researched by the production team and vice versa.

The next step was to bring the McCord center’s scientific team for the research in Naxos, together with the production and management team from Greece’s National Broadcaster (ERT), and form – more than a coproduction- a synergy.

Second point to note:
Funding for heritage documentaries can be difficult these days. Hence, forming some sort of a co-production or synergy is essential in order to get the better of two worlds.

An agreement was established and the pre-production begun, including the values to be communicated, the narrative, the artistic style, days of filming, crew, cost etc. The scientific and the production team worked closely together, to make sure we were both aiming towards the same direction.

Third point to note:
Once the production team is formed and the concept of the narrative is designed, one needs to start thinking of:

  1. The target audience
  2. The uses for this production (academic, educational, edutainment etc)
  3. The distribution (media, conferences, workshops and other venues)

 

This point will guarantee that when the crew is on location for the filming, the human and financial resources available for the production will be used up to the optimum potential in accordance with the desired goals.

Fourth point to note:
Once on location, the production team – apart from filming- is also doing another very important work; namely engaging with the local society. We need to always keep in mind that television production is a popular medium. So these productions, on location and upon distribution, approach the local society, stakeholders and the target audience, in a completely different way. This connection creates another type of bond with the people and should be part of the production design, one of its main goals.

All points completed, and a year later, the documentary was aired twice by Greece’s national broadcaster ERT. The first time was scheduled and the second occurred as a result of the audience’s demand!

On May the 15th a workshop took place at the University of Newcastle, with the title:

“Filming the Past in the Present:  Heritage and Documentary Practice”

It was a collaborative event supported by the   Digital Cultures Research Group and the Research Centre for Film, the Cultural Significance of Place Research Group.

There were three films presented by the research teams and the producers. One of them was Hidden Landscapes of Naxos.

All the films were completely different in artistic style and narrative. However, the main points were evident in all of them.

To conclude, the reason for this blog piece – after reading through my writings a few times – is probably to serve as a brief manual on what it takes to actually pull through an audiovisual production on heritage.

 

Monuments in Ruins, Ruins as Monument Evaluation, Protection, Enhancement & Management

Elefsina, Old Oil Mill | by Th.Papathanasiou

Elefsina, Old Oil Mill | by Th.Papathanasiou

Ruins, archaeological and historical, present a special category of monuments that ensue as a result of natural wear and tear, abrupt natural catastrophes, use, abandonment or intentional destruction. (more…)

Training the future of Business in Heritage Management

We talk so easily about ‘global business’ these days that it is easy for us to forget that all business is a social activity that takes place somewhere. Executives and managers who know something beyond the surface facts of the ‘somewhere’ in which they conduct business have an advantage: they know the social context in which they are operating. In the Bentley MBA programme, our emphasis on understanding social context has led us to some locations that do not immediately spring to mind when one thinks about business today. After all, what does an ancient Greek ritual procession have to do with someone wanting to transact business in Greece? Perhaps not much directly, but understanding how that procession reflects the components of society deemed important can alert an executive to pay attention to those social components today. Understanding how the procession connected communities underscores the networks that are activated now. Realising that the past is part of the present community’s composition heightens sensitivity to relationships that can make business move more easily … or that can stall the best intentions.

Bentley students in the thick of it! Thinking of the role of Heritage in Business and the role of Business in Heritage.

So we at Bentley were thrilled to be able to work with the Heritage Management Organization, an organisation that understands the place heritage has in today’s world. Dr. Girtzi, who guided us in role-playing and in imagining a colourful past, was outstanding in her ability to motivate some occasionally skeptical MBA students. HMO staff led spirited discussions on the connections between heritage and business–what only seems old, but is ever-present, and what we tend to consider ever-new, but is really based on good old human relations. Our students, who average around 8 years of work experience and who come from 19 different countries, were energised and excited by this different way of looking at the world. We are grateful for the Initiative’s help and look forward to working with them in the near future.
David Schwarzkopf and Marcus Aurelius in ancient Eleusis

David Schwarzkopf and Marcus Aurelius in ancient Eleusis

David Schwarzkopf is Associate Professor, Accountancy, Bentley University and Visiting Professor, Reykjavik University. He has studied at Harvard, Bentley, Connecticut and the Jennedy School of Government. David is the current director of the MBA Programme at Bentley.

HMO Communications workshop for Heritage Managers

You have organised the best exhibition of the year, or set up a ground-breaking educational program. You have worked hard with curators, conservators, educators, everything is ready to rock, but now you wonder… how can I bring people in? How can I reach my audience, and what should I be telling them? Informing and engaging the public is a crucial process for the success and sustainability of heritage institutions. However, heritage-related university programs do not usually include any training in Communications, and heritage managers who cannot afford to recur to external experts might find themselves in serious troubles when it comes to communicate and promote what they are doing.

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Some HERMA students participating in the workshop

This is why last April HMO organised the first Workshop in Communication Strategy for a group of 15 students from the joint MA in Heritage Management of the University of Kent and Athens University Business School. The workshop took place in Elefsina, a few meters away from the archaeological site of ancient Eleusis. The course instructor, Derwin Johnson, has a 20-year experience as a journalist for CNN and ABC, and is a professional media consultant and trainer.

derwin

Workshop instructor Derwin Johnson

The aim of the workshop was to give heritage managers the basic tools to communicate the identity, activities and events of their cultural organisation effectively in order to engage the right audience with the right messages.
Participants learnt how to produce a communication strategy, starting with identifying the appropriate audiences through a “conversation map”, where you can visualise all the groups interested in your message and select the most convenient for you. Once they knew who they were talking to, the students could then draft their key messages, the core ideas that they needed to express, and then learnt how to tweak those messages depending on the different media they wanted to use: more informal and experience-focussed for a blog, more simple and informative for a press release, more condensed and witty for social media. They had the chance to experiment with a wide variety of styles, always keeping an eye on the core message and reminding the importance of consistency.

Students brainstorming

A considerable amount of time was dedicated to interview simulations, where the students had to talk about their organisation in front of a camera and answer questions from Derwin playing the role of a journalist. They learnt how to catch attention and stay focussed on their messages, but also how to improvise in case of unexpected remarks.
The most successful feature of the course was that applied work immediately followed the theoretical lectures. Participants could put into practice what they just learned by working in groups under the supervision of the instructor, and receiving immediate feedback and further advice. A good example for that is the press conference simulation that took place on the last course day: each team had to present in a structured manner their piece of news to a (fake) audience of journalists ready to leave if they were bored or ask tricky and uncomfortable questions. It was a matter of coordination and team work, and students learnt the importance of being inspirational and audience-oriented when communicating their mission and messages.

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