Emergency Preparedness for
Cultural Heritage under Threat

Photo: The Inventorying of the Library of the Monastery of San Augustin in Quito, Ecuador. By Conservartecuador

Background and General Information

When natural or human-induced disaster strikes, the damage to museums, archives, archaeological sites, libraries, and historical buildings is often enormous. Tangible heritage may even be lost forever, when local resources and capacities for rescue are lacking. While disasters cannot always be predicted, damage to cultural heritage can be mitigated through emergency preparedness.

The Prince Claus Fund, through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation, through its funding initiative Patrimonies, both support the protection and preservation of cultural heritage in crisis regions. Both Foundations have a history of preventing and minimizing the loss of cultural heritage. Projects supported in the past have varied from implementation of seismic strengthening in the reconstruction of Nepal’s temples after the 2015 earthquake, to supporting local networks to develop emergency plans for archives in the Caribbean after the 2017 hurricanes, and enhancing security measures for collections that were vulnerable to looting in Jordan.

This joint call for applications aims to support the development and implementation of more preparatory measures for heritage buildings, collections, and sites to protect these in case a disaster occurs. We furthermore encourage organisations to enhance their emergency preparedness by implementing lessons learned during previous incidents. The call also aims to step up both our Foundations’ efforts in the field, raise awareness about its importance and illustrate how preventive concepts can safeguard heritage. Cultural practitioners, institutions and local NGOs are encouraged to submit their ideas and plans for the protection of tangible cultural heritage under threat.

Eligibility to apply for support

Is my project eligible?

  • The project must aim to protect tangible cultural heritage in emergency situations caused by an acute, current or impending disaster. Cases that only involve long term neglect are not eligible.
  • The country where the intervention is to take place must be in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Caribbean, and the applying organisation or individual must live and work in one of these regions.
  • The heritage involved must be significant for a specific community, whether local, regional, national, or global.
  • Local communities and/or local authorities must be involved in the emergency preparedness, and the legal owner must support the proposed measures.
  • The intervention must be able to be carried out within a time frame of twelve months
  • Previous grantees of the Prince Claus Fund and of the Gerda Henkel Foundation can only apply for a new grant when the previously funded project is completely finished and closed before the deadline for submitting the current application.
  • The project could fulfil one or several of the following aims:
  • Damage and risk assessment: setting salvage priorities, digitization, and inventorying
    Disaster preparedness and the provision of supplies: storage, packing and evacuation
  • Improvement of security measures for museums, archives and sites
  • Management of crisis situations: risk evaluation, disaster management and evacuation plans
  • Training of professionals for cultural emergency situations
  • Strengthening of local networks working on heritage protection or advocating for its importance in other disaster response structures (for example with civil protection services, humanitarian actors, etc.)
  • Adoption of best practice methods for cultural emergency response or the exchange of these methods and knowledge
  • Emergency documentation or excavation of cultural heritage sites under direct threat.

What expenses are eligible to be covered?

  • Grants will average about € 20,000.
  • Grant funds can only cover project-related expenses, not running (operating) costs for organisations.
  • No support will be provided retroactively (i.e. to projects already implemented).

Selection Criteria

Projects will be evaluated by Prince Claus Fund and Gerda Henkel Foundation staff, external reviewers and a scientific Advisory Committee. The selection criteria are:

  • Urgency of the need identified – affected heritage must be threatened by imminent loss in case of disaster.
  • Soundness and sustainability of the plan for emergency preparedness and/or dissemination – the plan must be feasible, realistic and well thought out to prevent or limit future vulnerability.
  • Significance of the threatened heritage to local, regional, and/or world communities – the heritage must be of value to an identified group of people.

This grant selection procedure aims to ensure that projects are chosen in a transparent and fair manner, according to clear criteria, and through a rigorous process giving due consideration to all proposals that meet the eligibility requirements.

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 21 June 2019 at 17:00 CET. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered. It is recommended not to wait until the final deadline, but to apply as soon as possible.

To apply, please send a brief statement of need with supporting materials (if available), to proposal@gerda-henkel-stiftung.de in English, French, or Spanish. This should include at least the following:

  • Information about the applying organisation / individual:
    • Name
    • Home country
    • Type of organization (e.g., private not-for-profit, governmental organization
  • Information about the affected heritage:
    • Name
    • Location
    • Owner
    • Individual / organisation responsible for management
    • Significance of the heritage for the affected community
    • Wider cultural value of the heritage (e.g., artistic, architectural, historical)
  • Information about the threat and the project to safeguard the heritage (max. two pages plus preliminary budget):
    • Description of disaster that threatens the heritage
    • Potential damage to the heritage and elaboration of the risks if immediate action is not taken
    • Activities proposed for safeguarding the heritage
    • Information on the involvement of local community
    • Expected timeframe for the proposed activities
    • Estimated budget for the work
  • Supporting materials (if available), such as:
    • Photographs of the heritage
    • Links to online images or information

Applicants will receive an email confirmation once the statement of need has been received. The most promising applicants will be invited to submit detailed applications at the beginning of July 2019. The deadline for full applications is 31st July, 2019. Complete applications will receive final decisions by the end of November 2019.

About the Prince Claus Fund

Based on the principle that culture is a basic need, the Prince Claus Fund’s mission is to actively support, connect and celebrate artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure and to stand firm with those who create, who believe in the transformative power of culture, who advance new ideas and explore new perspectives.

Through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, the Fund provides rapid and effective emergency relief for cultural heritage affected by man-made or natural disasters. By taking immediate action, CER aims to prevent further damage and implement basic repairs. Launched in 2003 in reaction to the looting and demolition of artworks from the National Museum of Iraq, CER believes that rescuing cultural heritage provides hope and consolation to affected communities and thereby contributes to restoring human dignity, continuity and a sense of identity. Culture is a basic need and cultural emergency relief should therefore be an integral part of humanitarian aid.

About the Gerda Henkel Foundation

The Gerda Henkel Foundation was established in June 1976 by Lisa Maskell in memory of her mother Gerda Henkel as an incorporated foundation under civil law, headquartered in Düsseldorf. The Gerda Henkel Foundation concentrates its support on the historical humanities. In some of the programmes the Foundation furthermore addresses issues of great relevance to contemporary life and the future, above all as part of its special programme “Security, Society and the State”. As part of the Lisa Maskell Fellowship programme, the Foundation supports young scholars in the humanities in both Africa and Southeast Asia.

With its “Patrimonies” funding initiative it promotes the preservation of the cultural heritage, specifically in regions experiencing crisis. Research that places current challenging issues in a greater historical context form the focus of the “Democracy as Utopia, Experience and Threat” and “Lost Cities” funding programmes. In connection with funded projects, the Foundation also provides assistance for social support measures as part of complementary projects. The Gerda Henkel Foundation can by virtue of its statutes pursue its objectives both inside and outside Germany.

The Call for Proposals

The Prince Claus Fund and the Gerda Henkel Foundation announce an Open Call for proposals specifically aimed at Emergency Preparedness for Cultural Heritage under Threat. We invite cultural practitioners, institutions and local NGOs to present their ideas for measures to protect tangible cultural heritage against acute danger and irreversible loss. We welcome applications from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Contact

If you wish to apply or have questions regarding the call, please contact the Prince Claus Fund and the Gerda Henkel Foundation by email under proposal@gerda-henkel-stiftung.de.

ABOUT THE PRINCE CLAUS FUND

Based on the principle that culture is a basic need, the Prince Claus Fund’s mission is to actively support, connect and celebrate artists and cultural practitioners where cultural expression is under pressure and to stand firm with those who create, who believe in the transformative power of culture, who advance new ideas and explore new perspectives.

Through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, the Fund provides rapid and effective emergency relief for cultural heritage affected by man-made or natural disasters. By taking immediate action, CER aims to prevent further damage and implement basic repairs. Launched in 2003 in reaction to the looting and demolition of artworks from the National Museum of Iraq, CER believes that rescuing cultural heritage provides hope and consolation to affected communities and thereby contributes to restoring human dignity, continuity and a sense of identity. Culture is a basic need and cultural emergency relief should therefore be an integral part of humanitarian aid.

General Information for Applicants and Beneficiaries

Frequently asked questions