Heritage Resources Management (HERM) 672

Heritage and Risk Management (Revision 1)

HERM 672

Delivery Mode: Grouped study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Professor approval

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Program: Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management

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The increasing impact of disasters in many parts of the world and their growing complexity is a great concern for both developed and developing countries, and international society in general. According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the number of disaster-affected people from 1991 to 2005 was around 3,470 million, and economic losses were US$ 1,193 billion. From 2005 to 2015, over 700 thousand people lost their lives and approximately 23 million people were made homeless as a result of disasters. 76% of these disastrous events were hydrological, meteorological, or climatological, which includes storms, floods, wet mass movements, extreme temperatures, droughts, and wildfires. It is expected that in the next decade, climate change will lead to more frequent and extreme weather, reaching to broader areas.

Cultural heritage in all of its forms is also increasingly at risk due to natural disasters, and also human-made disasters such as wars and civil strife. Historic cities and monuments, archaeological sites, cultural landscapes, museums and archives, artistic handicrafts, and intangible heritage are affected by disasters and armed conflicts. The loss of cultural heritage is not only a loss of important sources of knowledge, tradition, and identity, but it also entails the deterioration of socio-economic resources for the recovery and development of societies.

The main goal of this course is to build knowledge for disaster risk management for cultural heritage sites and collections, and it outlines the measures and actions that should be undertaken by cultural heritage professionals before, during, and after a disaster. It examines how cultural heritage may be impacted by different types of disasters, and how cultural values can be changed or transformed during crises and disasters. In doing so, the course shows that cultural heritage is not only a victim in disasters and armed conflict; rather it can actively be a driver for resilience and can potentially contribute to disaster risk reduction and disaster recovery.

Course Structure

HERM 672: Heritage and Risk Management consists of ten units:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Disaster and Emergency Situations: Background and Terminology
  • Unit 2: The Impact of Disaster on Cultural Heritage
  • Unit 3: The Disaster Risk Management Cycle: Before, During, and After Disaster
  • Unit 4: Disaster Preparedness: Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation
  • Unit 5: Emergency Response for Cultural Heritage
  • Unit 6: Post-Disaster Needs Assessment and Preparing for Recovery
  • Unit 7: Disaster Risk Management Planning for Cultural Heritage Sites and Collections
  • Unit 8: International Frameworks for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response
  • Unit 9: Disaster Risk Management in the Canadian Context
  • Unit 10: International Legal Frameworks for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Times of Armed Conflict and for Fighting Against Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property

Course Objectives

Once students have completed this course, they should be able to

  • outline the impact of disaster on different types of cultural heritage.
  • assess and evaluate different risks to cultural heritage associated with disasters.
  • manage disaster risks to cultural heritage sites and collections.
  • develop preparedness and preventive measures to reduce risks to cultural heritage.
  • identify key elements of risk management plans and emergency response.
  • list and discuss international and national frameworks for the protection of cultural heritage.

Course Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must successfully complete the following activities and assignments.

Activity Grade Weight
Discussion Participation 20%
Moderation of One Unit Discussion 10%
Assignment 1: Value Assessment and Risk Identification 15%
Assignment 2: Risk Analysis and Writing Disaster Scenarios 15%
Assignment 3: Disaster Risk Reduction, Mitigation, and Preparedness Measures 15%
Assignment 4: Proposal for a Disaster Risk Management Plan 25%
Total 100%

Course Materials

All course materials are online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, June 29, 2017