The CHwB Regional Restoration Camps represent a simple, successful, scalable training model, which grew, from 2007 to 2013, from a few students in Albania to multiple sessions in four countries, with a diverse array of participants. The Camps form part of a Balkans-wide push to encourage people to value and care for their local heritage. The main objectives are to use cultural heritage to build relations among young professionals, creating conditions for reconciliation as a prerequisite for peace and democracy, and to preserve traditional crafts and techniques.
Over the course of two weeks, participants follow a rigorous but fulfilling schedule, combining theory – through engaging lectures and presentations – with hands-on restoration work on historic monuments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo or Serbia. Each intervention directly helps local residents – using traditional materials and techniques to repair their valuable buildings and providing a new means of understanding, interpreting and revitalizing them.
During the Camps, participants stay in accommodation on site, attending lectures in the morning and working to complete a hands-on restoration project on a historic building in the afternoon. Lectures are conducted by professional conservators and professors who come from prominent local and international institutions. Works on site are guided by a master craftsperson, who teaches the correct techniques and ensures that the restoration work is of the highest quality. At the end of the Camp, participants are evaluated on their knowledge of the lectures and their work on site, and they fill out an evaluation about the Camp experience, as well.
In recognition of their excellence and dedication, the CHwB Regional Restoration Camps won a prestigious 2014 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award in the category of “Education, Training and Awareness-Raising.”
Watch the 2014 Europa Nostra Award celebration here: