Cultural Emergency Response: First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Crisis

TEFAF Talks are interactive panel discussions to strengthen one's art knowledge. Pairing with leading content partners to share knowledge and expertise.  We all know how vulnerable our museums, monuments and collections can be in a crisis situation. But how do we protect them? And why is this so important? What does it actually mean to lose culture for people and communities? This panel of experts discusses the urgent need and practicalities of the protection of culture in crisis situations by reflecting on recent rescue actions in Haiti, Afghanistan and the current conflict in Ukraine. For weeks, CER has been working closely with the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI) and local experts on the ground to protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage and identity. The fundraiser organized at the TEFAF fairs this year is in support of this important work. The Prince Claus Fund’s Cultural Emergency Response (CER) provides ‘first aid’ to cultural heritage under threat in conflict and disaster. Acting as a cultural ambulance, it provides quick support and expertise to local actors to stabilize, rescue and prevent further damage. With TEFAF as a close partner since 2008, CER has saved hundreds of heritage sites, collections and spaces all over the world.

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Programming will take place at the Veterans Room, Park Avenue Armory. The event will be recorded. Please note that TEFAF Programming is free with a valid ticket to TEFAF New York. Do note that there is limited availability of seats. If you have not registered for programming or bought your ticket for TEFAF New York: click the button “sign up” and purchase your ticket for TEFAF New York.

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Corine Wegener, The Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative

Corine Wegener is director of the Smithsonian Cultural Rescue Initiative (SCRI), an outreach program dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage in crisis situations in the U.S. and abroad. SCRI’s work has included projects in Syria, Iraq, Haiti, Nepal, and most recently Ukraine. Before coming to the Smithsonian, Wegener was associate curator in the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. During a concurrent career as a U.S. Army Reserve officer, she served on four military deployments, including as an Arts, Monuments, and Archives Officer assigned to assist after the 2003 looting of the Iraq National Museum. Wegener has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Nebraska Omaha and MA degrees in Political Science and Art History from the University of Kansas.

Sanne Letschert, Prince Claus Fund

Sanne Letschert is Head of Cultural Emergency Response (CER) at the Prince Claus Fund. In collaboration with local partners, CER provides ‘first aid’ to protect cultural heritage in times of crisis. Letschert has a BA in Art History and European Studies, and a MA Heritage & Memory Studies of the University of Amsterdam.

Moderated by Lisa Pilosi, Metropolitan Museum

Lisa Pilosi heads Objects Conservation at the Metropolitan Museum, which is responsible for conservation and installation of three-dimensional moveable and immoveable works spanning the whole of the collection. She was chair of ICOM’s Committee for Conservation from 2011 to 2014 and is currently Vice-Chair of ICOM’s Disaster Risk Management Committee.