reorg_smallThis first quadrimester of 2016 was definitely marked by one strong and life changing training programme: ICCROM’s tool for the reorganization of storage REORG! Those of you that follow our news for some years now might remember that already in 2014 we became part of the REORG family, firstly organizing a reorg-research action in the museum of political exiles Ai Stratis here in Athens and then by participating in the training for trainers held in Belgrade. It was then only natural to work our best to “cut the clackle” and find the way to bring this wonderful tool in Greece by submitting the full proposal to the Ministry of Culture.  Interaction in action, or as it was theatrically raised in the closing day of the ceremony in Athens, the Ministry took the relay and reached successfully the finish line organizing a REORG training seminar in two museums in Athens contemporaneously this May!

remember - CopyAs for REORG’s cascade effect, this year we didn’t only participate in REORG Athens, but also in the previous REORG held in Assam State museum in India. REORG Assam project was a joint venture of the Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Assam, the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and ICCROM. A blog post is not enough to share the feelings and emotions of working in such an exciting environment. Guwahati is a place where you immediately feel like home, walking everyday near the Brahmaputra River to reach the Assam State Museum and meeting your new colleagues which you felt like you knew from forever. There, with the REORG programme we worked for two weeks in reorganizing four storage areas…well that was the initial plan. Actually we ended up doing much more: reorganizing two storage areas, liberating a corridor, creating a deposit, creating and organizing a new storage area and in addition setting up a temporary exhibition and a competition! All this because, having a solid methodology you can easily adapt to any unexpected situation…after all, projects like real life are full of surprises. Making the best out of these surprises is what characterizes you!

The methodological tool is one part of the success story and the people are definitely the other. Achal, Jitender, Anil and Sahil from the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), having successfully organized other two REORG’s in India knew exactly what to do and how to do it! The big brown luggage was fully equipped for two weeks, so the teaching room was set up in an afternoon and subsequently all little needs of the workshop were easily solved silently and always with a big smile! And that was the P1020786preparation key to success…what about the execution? If one single name must be given, that is definitely that of Mrs. J.S. Wunglangton director of the State Museum of Assam. Nothing can be more inspiring and reassuring for the success of any undertaken, from a director with such a shiny and positive personality! He was there in every step of the training workshop, helping in all the steps and reassuring so the team that the REORG workshop was only the beginning of much more to come.

5_A3INCOLORCOMPETITIONIn addition, the partner institution with the authorisation of the Museum, asked us due to  our previous experience to take care of the documentation and dissemination of #REORG_ASSAM. And that has been yet another unique experience. Being the documentation eye, allowed us to have a panoramic view of both the specific training workshop, but also of the entire methodology in action. Our biggest challenge was to create an educational video at the end with all the different steps of the methodology. Experiment went pretty well and you will be able to enjoy the video soon online. But, that was only part of the dissemination strateP1030687gy, as dissemination can only be planned in situ with real data and facts. The video, was for after completion, what about during execution?  Our objective was to bring more people and so more attention to our work and the museum, and method chosen was a temporary exhibition and a drawing competition. Big success 260  visitors in three days and 42 participants in our competition.  Of course once again  the success was due to people’s engagement and excitement: Ivan, Mithu and Supryia, core of the dissemination team made every wish and idea of mine come true as if it was planned months in advance! In that I have to add and underline another REORG principle applied, that of the reuse: the exhibition added in the budget only 8 meters of coloured textiles and 20 photocopies. The rest was retrieved, restored and reused during REORG. Old showcases were covered with the coloured textiles, and the stories of the 12 objects “discovered” during our training workshop were printed in house. A small exhibition full of stories, isn’t that exactly what people are searching in a museum visit?

IMG_1571Full of colours and experience packed my suitcase and came back to Greece. Only two weeks were missing from starting of REORG Hellas, organized by the General Directorate of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage and the Directorate of Conservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments, and I could now with the experience of India contribute more to the final details of organization. Creativity was the magic stick of the super organizing team of the Directorate of Conservation: Maria, Christina and Maria. Together we could solve everything: coordinate a seminar in three different locations of Athens, organize and give lectures, prepare last minute events and doing our best to offer hospitality to our guests. Well, the late was the easiest one, as the international experts Gael and Veljko are always a pleasure to be with 🙂

Every REORG is a different one, as every case study is unique. But, the answer is one and P1060066unique, follow the four steps methodology by working in team. Differently from India that I could observe and document all teams working, here in Athens I was privileged to focus and work with one team from beginning to completion. What a wonderful trip we made with the green team named NEDA River! Lazaros, Hara, Eleni, Fotis, Adriani and myself, even if we just met on that Monday we were already on Thursday a successful working team. I think our team really deserved the quote of 2004, when the Greek football team won against all predictions the Euro: “Impossible is Nothing”! You see for us the challenge was double: we were reorganizing contemporaneously two areas and our collection was made of heavy stone pieces. I can assure you that two day before completion, still there were voices of the corridor that we would have never made it – and on that voices we were looking at each other with little conspiracy smiles on our faces. Of course we would do it, the objectives were clear, the roles and responsibilities carefully assigned, everybody was enjoying his proper task and respecting the work of the others and in addition we had extra help from the museum staff the guards, the conservator and the most enthusiastic conservation intern Rafailo. I believe I speak in the voice of all my team when I say that REORGanizing the two storage areas was indeed tiring but deeply rewarding and over all great fun!

P1020961And do you wanna know an extra that DIADRASIS gained with all this adventure? Working and learning in action from Gael de Guichen! As the main objective of our NGO is non-formal education there is nothing better than learning from someone that has taught adults around the world for more than 40 years. Do you know the difference between a lecturer and a teacher? If you had the chance to be taught by Gael, you would definitely knew. And what makes his teaching more unique is his will to share it with young, loud and sometimes too creative colleagues like myself! So I look forward in applying in action little details that I learned in our new programmes. After all quality is given by the attention to details!

Closing and respecting the title of this post, you do know that in all fairytales there is that person that does some magic and problems are solved! So , I need to write two lines for the little fairy of this story Catherine Antomarchi the director of Collections Unit in ICCROM. All the above described and much more would have never happened if it wasn’t for her fighting with dragons and obstacles. There is no bigger reward in any professional than discovering that people that you have for years admired, are wonderful straight forward collaborators showing maximum respect to the work of others! And for our little DIADRASIS , that was born in the warm family of ICCROM it is lovely to be able to still believe in fairytales and good fairies…

And as this fairy-tale was written in the 21st century…let’s see if it is going to have a sequel!

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poster_shortAlmost a month has passed from the completion and presentation of our – now that is over I can admit- quite ambitious research project VIADUCT a communication tool for analysis in heritage. I usually put down the thoughts and reflections on each Diadrasis adventure much closer to the completion with the memories and emotions much more fresh and intense. But, this time it was different. Certainly the closing of the year and the holiday season that followed are a good excuse for this delay 😉 Then again it was not the only reason. I am now confident that it is much more because of the shared feeling of the research team in the presentation that this closing was a beginning not an end!

Very poetic one could say. But now looking on the results of this effort, a handbook, a poster, a website, a seminar and a workshop for the wider audience, I really feel that the very essence of the project stands in spreading and disseminating these results. Which starts now at the “end”. But how did all this happen? Why did we decide to build a bridge? [For those who still wonder what on earth the name of the research project stands for, VIADUCT: a long high bridge, usually with arches, that carries a road or railway/railroad across a river or a valley.]

How did all this happen? This is a great question, and one can trace the answer in the way
Diadrasis was conceived and still keeps acting: with interaction in action from new hints, people and ideas. It was back in Gatzea seminar where we had the luck to have as participant Dr. P1050046Sophie Blain, Archaeometrist, who in a very straight and direct volunteer lecture explained
to the rest of the team the instruments of her research subject, dating. A vivid discussion started about how most of heritage professionals are skeptical about the possibilities of laboratory analysis and how confused they feel when they have to order them and even worst later interpret them! It would all have been just another wonderful discussion if it wasn’t for the good coincidence that a conservation scientist, Ariadni Dimitrakopoulou
decided to apply those days for a research internship with us. The missing professional profile, came to knock on our door so we would have an Archaeometrist, an Architect & Art Historian, a Conservator and a Conservation Scientist working together trying to bridge the gap of communication when it comes to scientific analysis for Heritage.

P1000593With enthusiasm we moved on drafting the outline of the research, which was not exactly a piece of cake! We had the clear idea of creating a useful handbook, not competing with the existing bibliography, easy to use from the reader. Simple and straight as an idea, but the execution was by far more complicated. What to include, which are the main points that are usually not clear, which where the different needs of the different professionals, and much more… summarizing how would the result differ from a simple publication and become what we wanted a useful and practical handbook? Well, while posing this questions to each other, we found that actually questions where the answer. The handbook would come to answer to clear questions in a systematic way and in different depths of information. In addition big importance would be given to the graphic representation both of the structure and the explanations themselves.

And that very moment of clarifying the methodology, another big challenge “crossed” viaduct. The J.S. Latsis Public Foundation opened the applications for the “young researchers grant”, where we decided to apply expanding a bit more the idea and creating together with the book a website. Well it’s already history that the application was successful and VIADUCT was one of the 25 selected proposals out of the 912 submitted. The enthusiasm in the team can be seen I guess by the deliverables, as while we only submitted a proposal with the handbook and the website, we enjoyed that much the result of our work that we decided to add some extras!Once we assured the quality of the results of the publication and the functionality of the website, which gave us the possibility of offering more questions and paths for reaching the desired responses thanks to our extra patient and inspired web developer, we could still add more! Ideas kept coming on the table, but only a few reached realization as the time and budget where indeed limited. The conservator wanted a poster with the summative pages, easy to have in your pocket when closed and good to hang on the wall of the lab or the worksite – approved! What else? Something about sharing and spreading the results further… and on that, what could be better than what Diadrasis loves doing? Non-formal education was the answer. The two days seminar “viaduct- do we make the best out of our analysis?” in the Athens University Museum with 20 participants from Bulgaria, Greece, Germany and Egypt worth all the effort and the extra work, and most of the team clouseu_owlof participants together with the lecturers celebrated the success in the book presentation and website launching later the second evening. And after that, did we forget someone? Yes, indeed the wider public, always curious and interested in what we were doing, how  could we share this more specialized project? By putting to our owl it’s new and final coat for 2015, that one of inspector Clouseau and inviting people to explore the profiles of heritage professionals and laboratory experts at the Mediterranean Science Festival held in Limassol Cyprus – great fun I must say 🙂

A full year, a wonderful research team, great partners and collaborators* and deliverables for which we can declare happy and creative! Now do all this sound like a closure or like a new page for viaduct?

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*The research was funded  by  the  John  S.  Latsis  Public  foundation and conducted by DIADRASIS in collaboration with the Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Histórico (CNCPC) of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología  e Historia  (INAH),  Mexico,  the FRS-F.N.R.S.  and Université  de Liège (ULg), Belgium.

Fecit 2015!

Posted: 01/14/2016 in diadrasis news, News

While moving on with the activities of 2016, let’s take a moment to remember what happened in 2015 🙂 With which activity did you actively interacted? Maybe it’s also a good moment to plan in which one would you like to participate this year!

2016 wishes

Posted: 01/02/2016 in Uncategorized

Diadrasis team is wishing 2016 to be a #bridgtegap year, building bridges in whatever you dream!2016_card

MayAs requested, finally membership subscriptions are now open!

“Friends of the δowl – οι φίλοι της κουκουδάγιας” are the new group of friends and supporters of interaction for heritage and culture!

By becoming a friend of the δowl you will support with your membership the activities of Diadrasis and also you will:

  • as a new member get our pin and our bookmark
  • get to know first all our actions, activities and publications
  • enjoy 5 % discount on education activities of Diadrasis
  • get 10 % discount on Diadrasis publications
  • enjoy 5 % discount on Diadrasis’ partners «πeripatos»  activities – peripatos.net

Fill in the subscription form and join our interactive family today!

Annual fee: 5 euros (please note that subscription button is 7,20 euros for covering the postage expenses)

Payment method

  • By Bank Transfer, Piraeus Bank, IBAN: GR91 0171 5580 0065 5812 6474 540 – BIC: PIRBGRAA
  • By Postal Order: DIADRASIS, Vournazou 31, 11521, Athens Greece
  • By paypal or creditcard

friendsofdowl

ποστερOnly two days have passed from the presentation to the public of our research project #pithari. The event was small and cozy, and we received wonderful feedback from the attendees. So now, a little bit more relaxed and having recovered some much needed hours of sleep, but with the emotions and impressions of the research still very intense I would like to share some thoughts on this new adventure.

You see, some years ago when we first founded diadrasis, I would never expect this kind of research. And I think that is what at a first glance I love the most about it. Diadrasis, honoring it’s name which in Greek stands for interaction, keeps interacting and growing thinking outside the box. That box that would place our research limits strictly to tangible heritage and related professionals – the often named experts. Pithari is the result of our mingling with different people, like Krupa Rajanngam that presented two community based research projects in India during last years’ conference in the University of York, different professions like Lisa Wollmannstetter that joined diadrasis as an intern during her Urban studies, and our teams need for opening the concept of interaction from heritage professionals to the wider public. DSC_0002

After some long discussions and meetings, different ideas and aspirations gave birth to our first community based research project. The concept was simple, we would do an ethnographic research as to discover from people’s stories and memories the landmarks that characterize an area. To test it we organized the pilot project in the historical district of Athens Exarcheia. Limited area, full of history and still very much contradictory as often happens with areas of dispute. The area was also the inspiration of the name as, until the end of the 19th century, Exarcheia was named “pitharadika” after the pottery workshops that could be found everywhere in this district. Pithari in Greek stands for the pottery jar in which people would store their everyday necessities, so in our project Pithari became a space for collecting memories of a neighbourhood.

P1120921The concept was simple”, I mentioned before, yes indeed, but to have valuable results much work, commitment and coordination was necessary. We had to first do the research of existing references, then form the team of researchers – train them on the principles of ethnographic research, do the mapping, analyze the data and then organize a “diadrastic” way of presenting it to the public. And at this point a very bug bravo goes to the team of interns Theodora, Maro, Myrevi & Lisa, that made all this happen. They worked hard and passionately, making Exarcheia and the landmarks their favorite subject of the day while supporting also our wonderful volunteers from the beginning to the end.

The volunteers were the other big reward of this project! When we published the call, we were very skeptical oP1130005n the response of the public. After all, we are still a small NGO and we were not even sure that anyone would be interested in the specific subject of our research. Surprisingly  there where many!         We received 12 applications of which 7 at the end formed the dream-team that conducted 100 interviews and helped us in collecting another 100 online. The laughs of our every 15days group coffee, where we would share progress of the research, problems or simply stories, sound still loud in my ears. And that is another reason why I love pithari: I’ve met and collaborated wonderful people from various fields. Marina, Dimitra, Maria, Katerina, Eva, Chrysa, Myrsini have filled our pithari with great enthusiasm and have made our project very lively and open. Finally the collaborators of this adventure, MONUMENTA & CLIO MUSE and the scientific collaborators dr. Panagiota Pantzou & Elisavet Tapini have added extra value and quality to this adventure.

P1120962But, all the above would be nothing without the response of the main component of this project- THE PUBLIC! The response and interest of the people we have interviewed is what made this adventure so special. We would never expect to listen to so many personal stories, walk into houses rich of history and meet all kind of different people. Young or old, locals or foreigners were feeling Exarcheia their home and so wanted to fill our pithari we stories about it. Searching for landmarks, we found people and therefore this Sundays’ event was only the beginning. We have still many stories to tell and share, so stay tuned!

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10954199_10152729117956053_3206668720076749932_oTwenty participants from twenty different countries…

For all who know what an ICCROM course means that sentence is the beginning of an unforgettable experience. But the First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis (FAC 2015) is much more than a course.

The subject is complicated: saving heritage in the middle of the disaster, in the middle of the panic, in the middle of the pain. During an entire month the twenty of us struggled to learn what to do, how to do it, when to do it. And it was always difficult, always emotional and tough. Most of us were from places where things are not easy. Disasters bring conflicts or the other way round.

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But as one of our wonderful lecturers said, since culture is sometimes part of the problem, it might be part of the solution.

 
Because culture is part of life. Because saving human life is also saving human identity.
Because after desolation there is always hope.
Because #culturecannotwait
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Do you want to find out what did we do in our exciting and “diadrastic”2014?
Our newsletter is summarizing all our activities on research, non-formal education, publications and public awareness.
A big thank you to the old and new “owls” for their love an support! It is all of you that make diadrasis grow and explore new activities promoting interaction for heritage and culture… 2014_NEWSa 2014_NEWSb

Diadrasis’ staff, interns and volunteers are wishing you all a wonderful and creative 2015!

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The fourth issue of our annual digital journal is now available on our website for free download.

Number 4: Widening Conservation