Heritage conservation leaders converge in Alberta
Athabasca University (AU) played a leadership role in bringing together some of the world’s leading voices in heritage conversation education and training.
AU hosted the 2022 ICCROM Communication and Teaching Skills in Conservation and Science Summer School, which took place July 4 to 15 in St. Albert, Alta. The event was co-hosted with the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). The centre works to promote the conservation of all forms of cultural heritage in every region of the world.
This was the first time AU hosted the summer school.
“The two-week long and culturally diverse program was the first of its kind to be held in Canada,” said Dr. Manijeh Mannani, dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, which co-organized the event.
Mannani said the school delivered a wide range of topics in the heritage field and raised awareness about the traumatizing history of residential schools in Canada. She credited Nukskahtowin and AU’s Elder in Residence, Maria Campbell, for providing Indigenous cultural teachings and meaningful conversations.
Bringing international ideas to Alberta
The summer school is designed to bring conservation professionals together from around the world. Participants learned about alternative approaches to teaching and learning about conservation and science while studying existing field practices.
Participants practised fieldwork and visited the Royal Alberta Museum, Royal Tyrrell Museum, and Provincial Archives of Alberta, among others. Part of the summer school focused on documenting Traditional Indigenous Knowledge with Campbell and Métis Elder Terry Lusty hosting teaching sessions.
“Over the two weeks, we explored how we teach and learn heritage-related topics. We worked together, inspired each other, and exchanged ideas through highly interactive sessions that embraced diverse cultural perspectives, Indigenous cultural teachings, interdisciplinarity, critical thinking, and digital learning,” said Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo, associate professor and director of the Heritage Resources Management program.
Inanloo Dailoo thanked ICCROM and José Luiz Pederzoli Jr., ICCROM Strategic Planning Unit Manager, for the opportunity to host the school, along with Parks Canada, St. Albert Arts and Heritage Foundation, and Alberta Culture and Status of Women – Heritage Division, for their invaluable contributions.
What participants said
“The learning was not only of cognitive nature, rather more of experience, which implicated all the different parts of a human being, the body, the mind, the heart. In this short period of only two weeks, strangers became friends and future partners and collaborators.”
Dr. Maria Karoglou, National Technical University of Athens.
“These two weeks with my fellow course participants gave me a new understanding of ways to communicate with peers and with students, and underlying all these activities was heart—and the notion that we must care about one another.”
Juliet Graham, University of Lethbridge.
AU has worked with the centre since 2016 and has offered the online components of the international summer school. In 2019, AU developed a customized online environment for the course activities. This online environment, entitled ICCROM-AU International Summer School Virtual Leaning Space, was designed as an integral part of ICCROM’s 2019 International Summer School in Arita, Japan.