Training Professionals to Protect Heritage: a Seminar by INP-Ecole du Louvre

Since October 2020, the French Institut national du patrimoine (National Heritage Institute) and the École du Louvre have been offering their students, curators and future art market professionals, a training seminar entitled “The protection of endangered heritage in times of war and unstable countries”.

This research seminar aims to specify an operational methodology for the protection of endangered heritage by going back over the stages of diagnosis and needs assessment, the training of teams and the means of action (database, lists, legal means and conventions, etc.). It has dealt with many subjects, from the mapping of endangered sites to the complementarity of private and institutional stakeholders in the field, and the challenges faced by archaeological missions operating in war zones.

On 18 February last, the sixth session of this seminar was devoted to “The training of professionals – The fight against illicit trafficking”. In this context, a presentation of the role of French customs was made, which addressed the importance of multidisciplinarity and specialisation in this struggle, but also international customs cooperation within the World Customs Organisation network, as well as emblematic cases. Then, the NETCHER project was presented by the CNRS (Benjamin Omer), both in its awareness-raising dimensions (Final Forum, documentation on the project website, etc.), but also in its capacity building aspects (MOOC, seminars, etc.). An overview of the various open-source tools, as well as institutional training programmes, also made it possible to provide the students in the assistance with resources to enable them to learn more and to become proactive actors in the fight against trafficking in cultural property.

In a second stage, the attendees were able to ask questions directly to the speakers. Many subjects were thus clarified by the experts, such as detectorism, the participation of civil society personnel in customs actions, or the role of specialised police units.

This session of the seminar will soon be available as a podcast on the website of the National Heritage Institute. Moreover, the seminar will continue in 2021 with a next session on March 11th, devoted to “The training of professionals – The actors in the field”. Representatives of the Worlds Monument Fund, the French Army Heritage Delegation and the Cesson-Sévigné Musée des transmissions will be in attendance.