December 16, 2022

The Future of Our Collections

Ukranian soldiers walk past a monument of the city founder Duke de Richelieu, covered with sand bags for protection, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Odessa © Alexandros Avramidis / Reuters.

A seminar about conservation

History, ethics, climate change, war, law, new technologies, … How should we address the future of our heritage?

Download the Programme here.

If there is one thing that universally affects tangible cultural heritage – architecture, archaeology, painting and sculpture, regardless of the period it comes from – it is the multiple risks to which it is exposed. The first two decades of this century have witnessed historical floods in cities like Paris and Venice, causing damage to several museums; earthquakes that have toppled castles, like that of Lorca; and last-minute contingency plans implemented to evacuate the most important collections from several Ukrainian museums during the Russian invasion. Meanwhile, trafficking in antiques has worsened following the repeated looting of Iraqi archaeological sites, as have problems with museums’ heating and cooling systems due to increasingly frequent heatwaves, as in Florence in 2017.

Despite the efforts being made by all kinds of organisations, both national and international, public and private, to ‘avoid and minimise future deterioration or loss, risks remain and will continue to threaten our heritage.

Is heritage an individual good or a common good? Who should be responsible for protecting it? How can we maintain stable environmental conditions when climate change is at a point of no return? What role do advanced technologies play here? Should we look back to the past to avoid repeating the same mistakes? Is there a conservation ethic?

Taking a multidisciplinary approach, in The Future of Our Collections experts analyse conservation issues and problems, turning their attention to paradigmatic case studies of the past and looking towards the future with the application of new technologies and commitment to climate change.



Looking at the Past to Think about the Present (evacuation of the Prado 86 years ago)
Arturo Colorado Castellary. Professor Emeritus, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Full conference at this link.

Conserving the Heritage in the Twenty-first Century. Actions to Deal with Climate Change
Javier Rivera Blanco. Professor of Theory and History of Architecture and Restoration, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares
Full conference at this link.

Heritage Protection and Ethics in War
Helen Frowe. Director, Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, Stockholm University
Full conference at this link.

Case studies:
When Picasso Stole the Mona Lisa: a Belgian Art Thief, Two Red Herrings, and the “Affaire des Statuettes”
Noah Charney. Professor of Art History, University of Ljubljana and Founder, Association for Research into Crimes against Art
Full conference at this link.

Interventions in Extreme Situations: what Happened in Lorca and what Could Happen Again
Mª del Carmen Martínez Ríos. Architect. Dirección General de Patrimonio Cultural. Consejería de Presidencia, Turismo, Cultura y Deportes. Región de Murcia
Full conference at this link.

Red List of Ukrainian Heritage
Anastasiia Cherednychenko. Vice-chair, ICOM Ukraine
Full conference at this link.


Protecting a Private Collection: a Public Responsibility? Marta Suárez-Mansilla. Lawyer specialized in art law, Artworld Law
Full conference at this link.

Technological Study of 3 Picasso Sculptures on Loan to the Picasso Malaga Museum. Contribution of Research and Cross-examination of the Collections Clara Stagni. Cobalt Conservation, Bruxelles
Full conference at this link.

Digital 3D Technology Applied to Conserving the Cultural Heritage Carlos Bayod Lucini. Project director, Fundación Factum, Madrid
Full conference at this link.

Case studies: Creating a Replica and Conserving the Original: the Cave of Altamira
Pilar Fatás Monforte. Director, Museo Nacional y Centro de Investigación de Altamira
Full conference at this link.

The Restoration of the Giraldillo (1999-2005)
Román Fernández-Baca Casares. Former director, Instituto Andaluz de Patrimonio Histórico; former general director of fine arts, Ministerio de Cultura and alcaide, Real Alcázar de Sevilla
Full conference at this link.

Dissemination of the Picasso Blue Project. Invisible Heritage and Digital Humanities
Reyes Jiménez-Garnica. Head of preventive conservation and restoration, Museu Picasso de Barcelona
Full conference at this link.