E.C.C.O. & EYCH 2018
E.C.C.O. is a confederation of national organisations across Europe, which has as its mission the safeguarding of Cultural Heritage for society through high standards in the professional practice of Conservation-Restoration.
For E.C.C.O., EYCH 2018 is an opportunity to raise awareness of the value-laden outcomes, which Conservation-Restoration can provide for Cultural Heritage and Society. This initiative provides the incentive to highlight the many projects, iconic or otherwise, which our members have directly been responsible for or, participated in, across the member states of the EU and which demonstrate the ways in which Conservation-Restoration contributes to our understanding of and engagement with our Cultural Heritage. Conservation-Restoration is a paradigm; it is a way of approaching Cultural Heritage to ensure its sustainable access and use for the benefit of all. While it is an approach in which all of society can and does participate in, at a professional level the specific training, education and experience resources the Conservator-Restorer with the tools to advocate on behalf of Cultural Heritage and to reveal or add new knowledge where such knowledge can also significantly enhance value.
This expertise is required to enable Europeans to engage positively and constructively with the tangible palimpsest of human history which is so densely and multi-layered across Europe. It also helps Conservator-Restorers themselves to engage ever more constructively in this dialogue and negotiation.
Conservation-Restoration is a catalyst for sustainable development through innovation and research in the field of Cultural Heritage while knowledge and education in the field of Cultural Heritage is very attractive to younger generations. More and more women are studying the profession of Conservation-Restoration. Student groups are active and vocal in their national associations and the voices of this young generation are heard at European level through membership of E.C.C.O. by these same professional bodies. All Committee members of E.C.C.O. are themselves Conservator-Restorers in professional practice: employed in museums, self-employed, as professors and educators in University; all work across many different specialisations and are nominated by the professional body in their country. There is therefore, a structure in place, which directly links the individual professional to representation at European level.
This younger generation of professionals also have to respond to new and emerging challenges given the threat of climate change, the effects of an aging society in Europe, the global nature of the illicit trafficking of cultural goods further exacerbated by ongoing armed conflicts, and, not least amongst these issues, is the role of digital access in making redundant the apparent need to conserve tangible cultural material. The ability to identify and address the changing issues around the preservation of Cultural Heritage can only be guaranteed by the exchange of knowledge and skill of experienced Conservator-Restorers with up-coming generations and through the concept of inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation with other players in the field of Cultural Heritage.
Thanks to ECHY 2018 the voices of our members, as discrete experts in the field of Cultural Heritage, can be further disseminated into society and politics, from local to European level.
The activity of Conservation-Restoration impacts on Cultural Heritage, affecting our perception and understanding of it, having the possibility to adjust material evidence which may bear historical witness. Thus Conservation-Restoration is in the public interest. In best practice Conservation-Restoration enhances the value of cultural heritage through the creation of new knowledge via the research and documentation generated during the act of Conserving-Restoring.
The legitimacy of the Conservator-Restorer to intervene and make decisions affecting the condition of the Cultural Heritage is conferred via a discrete education which and training governed by a highly developed code of ethics. E.C.C.O. has worked to build a specific professional demographic based on these precepts beginning with the publication of the Professional Guidelines and Code of Ethics in the early 1990s. Theses Professional Guidelines are now officially recognised and adopted by all our members throughout Europe.
Competences for access to the profession of Conservation-Restoration were developed and published in 2010 by E.C.C.O. Using the European Qualification Framework as a reference in the description of Learning Outcomes, the competence framework maps levels of skills and knowledge required for access to and the exercise of the profession which is set at Masters Degree, equivalent to EQF level 7. The competences have been instrumental in the development of learning outcomes for educational delivery and the work has been supported by the European Network of Conservation-Restoration Educators ENCoRE, who promote Conservation-Restoration education throughout Europe.
From 1999 to 2001 E.C.C.O. was a main Coordinator together with ICCROM in APEL (Acteurs de la sauvegarde et de la conservation du patrimoine culturel et la legislation) “Survey of the legal and professional responsibilities of the Conservator-Restorers as regard the other parties involved in the preservation and conservation of Cultural Heritage”.
In 2007 E.C.C.O. participated as a consultant in the ECPL European Conservation Practitioner’s License. With the support of ICCROM and the participation of ENCoRE in 2009, we submitted a proposal for a European Recommendation for the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage to the Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage and Landscape (CDPATEP) for possible adoption.
Memoranda of Understanding have been signed and agreed between E.C.C.O. and ICCROM and E.C.C.O. and ICOMOS respectively to formalise joint efforts to promote the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage.
E.C.C.O. has obtained observer status as experts to the Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP), and contribute accordingly.
At the 25th anniversary of E.C.C.O. in June 2016, the Declaration of Berlin was adopted by the participants of the Presidents Meeting. In considering the FARO Convention, EU Commissions “Integrated approach to Cultural Heritage for Europe” and the Namur Declaration, it calls to recognise Conservation-Restoration as a strategic resource for society in the care and valorisation of our common Cultural Heritage; to kindly request that the CoE and other relevant bodies consider developing a charter or a recommendation on the Conservation-Restoration of Cultural Heritage. E.C.C.O. invited all its members to participate at the European Year of Cultural Heritage and will coordinate joint projects if requested.