THE FINAL ONLINE CONFERENCE OF THE DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION “ROCHEMP-ARMENIA: CREATION OF A REGIONAL CENTER FOR MANAGEMENT, CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE”: TAILORED APPROACHES IN TRAINING, CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT FOR ARMENIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE

On February 11, 2021 was held the final online conference of the development cooperation “ROCHEMP-ARMENIA: CREATION OF A REGIONAL CENTER FOR MANAGEMENT, CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE”, entitled “TAILORED APPROACHES IN TRAINING, CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT FOR ARMENIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE”.

ROCHEMP Center is the result of a project developed by the University of Bologna and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia, with the support of AICS – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. The Center is a “competence Center” working in five key programmatic areas: Management, Training, Regulations, Communication, Regional Hub.

The conference was aimed at presenting to a wider public the main goals, results and future perspectives of the activities of the ROCHEMP Regional Office for Cultural Heritage Enhancement, Management and Protection (ROCHEMP). Armenian and Italian field specialists, experts, who have contributed to the establishment of the project, have participated in the online conference, reporting on the work implemented for six programmatic actions (Action A, B, C, D, E, F).

The conference was held under the presidency of the professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, Marco Abbiati. The Deputy Technical Director of AICS- Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Leonardo Carmenati, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia, Ara Khzmalyan, Deputy Rector for International Relationship of University of Bologna, Alessandra Scagliarini, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, Luigi Canetti gave welcoming speeches.

The main program of the conference was opened by the representative of AICS-Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Emilio Cabasino, who talked about the support that the Agency has provided to the ROCHEMP Project, highlighting the importance of their commitment in the continuation of the project.

The professor of the Department of History and Cultures of University of Bologna, ROCHEMP Project’s Armenian Cultural Expert with function of facilitator, Anna Sirinian presented to the conference participants centuries-old Armenian-Italian cooperation and cultural interactions, stressing the important role that University of Bologna has played in this respect.

The professor of the Department of Culture Heritage of University of Bologna, Luigi Tomassini in his speech talked about the relevance and originality of the Project, as well as presented the history of the development of “ROCHEMP-ARMENIA” Project.

The professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the Scientific Director of ROCHEMP Project, Mariangela Vandini and the Director of ROCHEMP Centre, Ani Avagyan presented the structure, the main areas of activities, mission and goals, as well as implemented work of the Project.  At the end օf her presentation Ani Avagyan introduced the Proceedings of the ROCHEMP 2020 International Conference which has been published recently by the National Gallery of Armenia. The regional and international dimension of implemented initiatives and crucial projects carried out in collaboration with local institutions (MoESCS of RA, MFA of RA, NUACA) and with the representatives of international organisations (ICOM Armenia, ICOMOS Armenia, “My Armenia” Program of the Smithsonian Institutions), in particular the “COVID-19 Consequences Relief Program” were mentioned. The Director of the Centre encouraged everyone to read the detailed report on our website.

The research fellow of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, ROCHEMP Project Manager, Tania Chinni, the Secretary-Translator of ROCHEMP Centre, Gohar Hovakimyan and the research fellow of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the Advisor in diagnostic and restoration of the ROCHEMP Project, Sara Fiorentino in their speech introduced the work carried out by ROCHEMP Centre for the implementation of Action B and Action D. In February-June, 2020 15 Armenian and international experts were trained by the professors of University of Bologna and Italian heritage professionals within the ROCHEMP Project’s Action B. For Action D, the research on the educational institutions preparing cultural heritage professionals in Armenia was conducted, as well as the assessment of needs and the comparative analysis of Armenian and Italian cases, based on which it was suggested to develop and integrate curriculum for architectural restorers and other profession related to the cultural heritage preservation which will correspond to the internationally accepted standards of education.    

Another topic concerned Action C, the presenter Nanar Kalantaryan, who is the architect of ROCHEMP Centre, introduced the research conducted on the laws and regulations of cultural heritage sector of the Republic Armenia, which was realized within this component of the Project, as a result the main issues, omissions were determined, and a proposal for corresponding improvements was developed. The architect, the research fellow of Centre for Study and Documentation of Armenian Culture and the international expert of the ROCHEMP Project, Gaiane Casnati talked about the research methodology and the structure of a prepared report.  The professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna and the Scientific Manager for the architectural restoration Marco Pretelli presented the peculiarities of developing a quality design project for architectural heritage preservation and the research fellow and the Advisor for the architectural restoration, Alessia Zampini familiarized the participants with the handbook of bill quantities and a pricelist prepared for the design projects for monuments’ conservation and restoration in Armenia.  

The next part of the conference was dedicated to the issues of Armenian heritage enhancement, particularly of the communication plan and tools of the ROCHEMP Project. The professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the Director of FrameLAb, and the Scientific Manager of the Cultural Heritage Enhancement of the ROCHEMP Project, Alessandro Iannucci talked about the symbolical mission of the ROCHEMP Centre as a communication link situated between European and Asian civilizations. The research fellow and adjunct of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the expert advisor in communication and enhancement of cultural heritage of the ROCHEMP Project, Simone Zambruno presented the strategies and implemented work of the FrameLAb developed for the ROCHEMP Project’s digital communication. The coordinator of the ROCHEMP Center, Gayane Babayan introduced the visibility and activities for the promotion of the Center on different social media and the media campaigns developed for different projects.

The main part of the conference was concluded by the Director of the National Gallery of Armenia, Marina Hakobyan who highlighted the mission of the Centre and informed that after the completion of the main phase of the ROCHEMP Project the Centre will be supported by the Armenian side.

During the closing statement of the Chargé d’Affaires of the Italian Embassy of Armenia, Giovanni Nicolo Dionisi emphasized the important role that the ROCHEMP Project had in the Armenian-Italian cultural diplomatic relations and invited the respective sides to the special consultation meeting on fostering the activities of the Centre.  

Despite the obstacles caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the war situation in Armenia, during its almost one-year operation, ROCHEMP Center managed to establish itself as a solid operational body and implement the set goals. The Center will present its new initiatives related to the issues of management, enhancement and protection of cultural heritage in the nearest future.

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