Chair on Conservation and Preservation of Tangible Cultural Heritage

/// UNESCO Chair

The Institute of Conservation at the University of Applied Arts Vienna makes a significant contribution to the conservation, preservation and restoration of tangible cultural heritage beyond Austria’s borders.
For 20 years now, the Institute has been actively involved in UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Austria (Vienna Historic Centre, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Semmering Railway), in Europe (Ephesus Archaeological Site in Turkey, Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic) and in recent years increasingly in Asian countries (Durbar Square and Royal Palace in Patan in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal). The Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and the outstanding significance of these cultural sites demand the highest standards in conservation and restoration, best practice and a high level of commitment.

The UNESCO Chair, which was awarded in 2019, helps to prepare future graduates, PhD students and staff of the Institute for this complex field of work in theory and practice and contributes to the visibility of the international activities of the Institute and the Angewandte. A major concern and goal of the UNESCO Chair is to illuminate world cultural heritage from different perspectives and thus to enable students and staff to engage in an in-depth discussion.

The Chair’s activities include lectures on World Heritage, summer schools, excursions to World Heritage sites, workshops and guest lectures as well as international projects.

The chair holder is Gabriela Krist, university professor and head of the Institute of Conservation. She is supported by Bruno Maldoner and Martina Haselberger as well as staff members of the Institute. The chair is involved in an intensive dialogue, exchange and close cooperation with international partner institutions and partner universities as well as scientists and other UNESCO chairs.

The handover of the Chair was celebrated on 11 April 2019 in the presence of Rector Gerald Bast, Sabine Haag, President of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and Peter Wells, Head of the Higher Education Section of UNESCO Paris. The chair is the first of its kind at the Angewandte and one of currently ten chairs in Austria (as of September 2021).

Portrait of the UNESCO Chair

/// What is UNESCO?

UNESCO stands for the “United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization”. It is one of the 15 legally independent United Nations specialised agencies and is based in Paris. Founded in 1945, Austria joined UNESCO on 13 August 1948. Today, UNESCO has 193 Member States and 11 Associate Members.
UNESCO’s aim is to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security by promoting international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. For the lesson of the Second World War was that ” peace based exclusively upon the political and economic arrangements of governments would not be a peace which could secure the unanimous, lasting and sincere support of the peoples of the world, and that the peace must therefore be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind.” (UNESCO Constitution).

Source: UNESCO, online: https://en.unesco.org/

/// What is the Austrian Commission for UNESCO?

The Austrian Commission for UNESCO (ÖUK) is the national coordination and liaison office for UNESCO. It was established on 14 September 1949 after Austria joined UNESCO in 1948. Initially part of the Austrian Ministry for Education, it broke away in 2001 and was newly constituted as a registered society.

Its tasks include advising the federal government, the federal states and other relevant bodies on all questions that may arise from Austria’s membership in UNESCO; collaborating on the implementation of programmes; informing the general public of UNESCO’s work and bringing institutions, specialist organisations and experts into contact with the organisation. The Commission ensures UNESCO’s presence in Austria and represents UNESCO in Austria as the owner of the rights to names and logos.

Source: Austrian Commission for UNESCO, online: https://www.unesco.at/ueber-uns/oesterreichische-unesco-kommission/

/// What is the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme?

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which involves over 850 institutions in 117 countries, promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence – i.e. in education, the natural and social sciences, culture and communication.
In many instances, the networks and chairs serve as thinktanks and bridgebuilders between academia, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making. They have proven useful in informing policy decisions, establishing new teaching initiatives, generating innovation through research and contributing to the enrichment of existing university programmes while promoting cultural diversity.

Source: UNESCO, UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, online: https://en.unesco.org/unitwin-unesco-chairs-programme