We completed the series of content dedicated to the International Scientific Symposium on Safety in Heritage with the document derived from it, the Declaration of the Circle. Safety in heritage: Safety in the use, management, maintenance and conservation of cultural heritage, which you can access here.
The Declaration of the Circle is intended to establish a series of criteria related to safety in cultural heritage, to serve as a basis for the management and intervention of cultural assets, as well as for the necessary adoption and development of regulations.
The Scientific Committee, made up of internationally recognized experts, agreed on the initial text of the Declaration for its debate among the participants of the Symposium. The resulting document took the name of “El Círculo Statement” after the Symposium venue, the Círculo de Bellas Artes of the city of Madrid. Once the consensual modifications were incorporated during the meeting, it was presented by Fernando Vela Cossío on the final day and approved by the attendees.
Cultural heritage is a shared legacy that must be preserved as one of the human rights to be enjoyed by society as a whole. It is necessary for public administrations, other public and private entities, owners and society in general to adopt measures and strategies to preserve this collective wealth from the risks that threaten our heritage, so it can be passed down to the coming generations in a sustainable manner. All involved must identify, protect, conserve and make heritage properties accessible in safe conditions. Safety measures in the access and touring of cultural assets must include both visitors and bystanders as well as workers and managers of said cultural assets.
The 24 articles included in the Declaration have been structured in four parts, together with a glossary of terms. The first section, on general issues, develops recommendations on the exercise of the right of access to knowledge and enjoyment of cultural heritage in a manner compatible with the need to ensure adequate safety conditions, both for the cultural property and for the people. The emphasis is on the importance of prevention, as well as the opportunity involved in any intervention to improve safety, including the possibility of allocating a percentage of the budget to the completion of studies or even specific projects in this regard. Adequate information and personnel training will be required for those involved in the management, protection, conservation and diffusion of tasks, as well as for society in general, to foment greater knowledge, respect and responsibility in regard to our heritage. One parameter, that of awareness of citizenship as the first line of defence of our heritage and its safety, for example, against looting, decay, disuse, etc., was also discussed by several speakers at the Symposium.
The section referring to the safety of material cultural heritage includes six articles, recommendations related to management and planning, the importance of prevention and conservation strategies for the integrity and conservation of the property and actions protections against looting or natural or anthropic catastrophes.
The third part focuses on the safety of people, seeking to guarantee safety in a manner compatible with the values of the heritage asset, its eight articles listing recommendations for accessibility, safety against all types of risks, living conditions and discussing the need to have an adequate risk prevention plan.