In the context of the Celebration of the European Day of Conservation-Restoration, 14th October, the E.C.C.O. Members Organizations: Associação Profissional de Conservadores-restauradores de Portugal (ARP), Asociación de Conservadores-Restauradores de España (ACRE), and the Associazione Restauratori d'Italia (ARI) have signed a Manifesto regarding the development and regulation of the Conservator-Restorer profession and the awareness by the Goberments and Policy makers of each country.
Manifesto for the Profession of Conservator-Restorer
The «Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to members States on the European Cultural Heritage for the 21St Century», produced in 2017 by the Council of Europe, identifies the cultural heritage as a non-renewable resource, and considers that its conservation, protection, restoration and valorization are responsibility of the society as a whole, including the several public representatives encompassing political, legal and administrative responsibilities.
In line with this vision, cultural heritage sustainability was defined by the European Union as one of the central themes of the European Year of Cultural Heritage of 2018. In fact, in the «Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a European Year of Cultural Heritage» document, a direct link between a sustainable Europe and the cultural heritage is established, assuming its sustainable management as a strategic option for the 21st century.
Envisaged as an extended process where several intervenient participate, the need to identify the different actors involved and to define their respective competencies profiles and responsibilities is inevitable. On this day, the European Day of Conservation and Restoration, the Association of Conservators-Restorers of Portugal (ARP), the Association of Conservators-Restorers of Spain (ACRE) and the Association of Conservators-Restorers of Italy (ARI) join in this Manifesto to claim the role of the Conservator-Restorer in this process and to reinforce the assumptions associated with the practice of this profession, expressing that:
- Under the scope of the «European Cultural Heritage Strategy for the 21st Century», Conservation-Restoration is defined as a discipline based on scientific and humanist knowledge, aiming the purpose of sustainably preserving the physical integrity and the history of cultural heritage, by extending its life without compromising its authenticity, intrinsic value and significance. It is also characterized by the merging of theoretical knowledge and practical skills and by the ability to systematically evaluate ethical and aesthetic issues.
- It can be read in the «European Cultural Heritage Strategy for the 21st Century» document, that what confers competences to the conservation and restoration professionals to intervene in cultural heritage, is the fact that they possess a specialized training. The signatories of this declaration endorse the understanding established by the European Confederation of Conservator-Restorers' Organizations (ECCO) and by the European Network for Conservation-Restoration Education (ENCoRE) related to the necessary competences to access the profession, and which determine the assignment of the Conservator-Restorer title.
- Conservator-Restorer is a professional with a Conservation and Restoration higher education, corresponding to two education cycles, a 3 years graduation course plus 2 years of a master’s degree, or equivalent competences. Only after the accomplishment of both education cycles, would a person be qualified to exercise this profession in a full and autonomous way, and consequently, to intervene in the cultural heritage.
- This is also the starting point for any accreditation process, concerning professionals, companies or institutions. The signatory associations therefore urge the governments of their countries to reflect this understanding in their national legislation or to strengthen/clarify the existing legal mechanisms (where they are already established) with a view to a recognition and regulation of the profession.
Only by applying this principle in a universal way, in the different cultural heritage contexts, will it be possible to ensure the promotion of a high level of quality in the interventions (an objective set out in the Faro convention of the Council of Europe and in the «New European Agenda for Culture» of the European Commission, and one of the supports of the European Year of Cultural Heritage) and, at the same time, to respond to one of the objectives in the document «Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to members States on the European Cultural heritage For the 21st century» establishing the need for qualification of professionals who intervene in the cultural heritage as well as the harmonization of their competences at an European level.
ARP President (Portugal), Rui Camara Borges
ACRE President (Spain), Fernando Carrera
ARI President (Italy), Kristian Schneider
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