In Belarus work was initiated 2012-2013 with support from Sida to identify a more comprehensive intervention from a rights based perspective within the museum and conservation areas. Study visits, exchanges of experience, lectures, planning and working meetings have been held during the project period 2013. Significant work has been done to identify partners in Belarus, understand the problems and prospects of working in Belarus, and to prepare a defined proposal. In essence, the assistance focused on breaking the isolation within the heritage area in Belarus, by building capacity through exchanges, training courses and to ensure that the most important rules and standards have been translated into Belarusian language, as Icom’s Ethic rules for example.
Some of the activities implemented were a study visit to Stockholm and Uppsala with participants from 20 Belarusian museums and heritage institutions, and two participants from Lithuania. In collaboration with the National History Museum and Museum Gustavianum, CHwB arranged several visits, exchanges and discussions about challenges and opportunities for museum institutions in Belarus, based on their own needs and priorities.
Belarusian partners have also taken part in CHwB’s operations in Sweden, Kosovo and Restoration Camp in Gjirokastra, Albania.
The two-year grant from Sida to build up cooperation in Belarus, aimed at breaking its isolation in the field of cultural heritage was concluded in the spring of 2014. After 1 1/2 years of cooperation with ICOM in Belarus, the new foundation, Cultural Heritage & Modernity, was registered, which has been CHwB’s cooperation partner since then. Through funds from the Swedish Institute, work was able to continue, albeit in the short term, and a translation of ICOM’s ethical rules to Belarussian has been made. A first training initiative for 20 museum staff from local and regional museums was also implemented. In connection with this, a study visit was organised to the Pastavy region for a restoration project and expert meeting, in order to discuss the possibilities of improving inventory systems for the cultural heritage in Belarus. Exchanges have also taken place with Belarussian participants at the “Meet See Do” conference that was held by the Balkan Museum Network in Tirana in April 2014.