European Summit “Preservation of Cultural Heritage: towards a European profile of the conservator-restorer” Pavia, 18-22 October 1997

Organised in co-operation with the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro and with the patronage of the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività culturali, the Summit was organised in cooperation to debate and approve a series of key-points on the most urgent topics and problems of the professions of the conservator-restorer and on the possible related policies. The Summit, with the participation of a large number of scientific and institutional representants from all the European countries have produce the “Document of Pavia”, that has already been translated and distributed in nine languages.

Promoter: Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo

Donors and Participant Institutions: Unione Europea DG X – Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali – Associazione Giovanni Secco Suardo Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche – Università di Pavia – Assessorato alla Cultura della Regione Lombardia – Assessorato alla Cultura della Provincia di Pavia – Assessorato alla Cultura, Istruzione e Formazione Professionale del Comune di Pavia – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Section d’Histoire d’Art et d’Archéologie; Ecole Nationale du Patrimoine IFROA (Francia); Hoschschule fur Bildende Kunste Dresden (Germania); Hamilton Kerr Institute University of Cambridge; Museum & Galleries Commission (Gran Bretagna).

Scientific Committee: Maria Grazia Albertini Ottolenghi (Università di Pavia), Ségolène Bergeon (Direction du Patrimoine Paris), Gael De Guichen (ICCROM Roma), Carole Milner (Museum & Galleries Commission London), Mara Nimmo (Istituto Centrale per il Restauro), Catheline Périer-D’Ieteren (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Nathalie Ravanel (ECCO), Ulrich Schiessl (Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden).


The document of Pavia

CONSIDERING that the cultural heritage, both movable and immovable, is a cornerstone of European cultural identity, an identity which respects both national and regional diversities;

CONSIDERING the special nature of this heritage, its finite nature, the moral obligation to guarantee access to it for present and future generations and to raise awareness of its origins, history, vulnerability and preservation amongst professionals, the public and decision makers

CONSIDERING that it is necessary to ensure the highest level of conservation – restoration for cultural heritage, that which is capable of guaranteeing its integrity and prolonging its existence;

CONSIDERING that this high level of conservation – restoration depends on the professional status of the conservator – restorer being given urgent recognition at a European level;

CONSIDERING that the conservator – restorer must be part of the decision-making process from the outset of a conservation – restoration project and that he/she must assume, in collaboration with the other partners involved, the responsibilities which relate to his/her own competence (in particular, diagnosis, prescription, implementation and documentation of treatment).

The experts concerned with the conservation – restoration of cultural heritage, meeting in Pavia in 18-22 October 1997, recommend that, on the basis of the document prepared by the professional bodies (“E.C.C.O. professional guidelines”, 11 June 1993, annexe 1), the European Union, in collaboration with all the specialists in the field, should encourage the following actions:

  1. the recognition and promotion of conservation-restoration as a discipline covering all categories of cultural property and taught at university level or recognized equivalent, with the possibility of a doctorate
  2. the development of interdisciplinary exchange between conservator-restorers and exponents of the humanities and the natural sciences both in teaching and in research
  3. the development of the profile of the conservator-restorer based on the E.C.C.O. professional guidelines (1993/1994), of his/her role in decision-making from the outset of a project and of his/her responsibility for communicating with other professionals, the public and decision-makers
  4. the development of a definition at European level of the full range of professional competences of the conservator-restorer
  5. the avoidance of the proliferation of training programmes which do not meet the standards of the profession
  6. the assurance of an appropriate balance of integrated theoretical and practical teaching, as well as the teaching of strategies for communication in the education and training of the conservator-restorer
  7. the setting up, as a matter of urgency, of a programme of cooperation and exchange within a European network of training and research institutions
  8. the setting up of a comparative study by the profession of the different educational systems (objectives, contents and levels)
  9. the promotion of improved dissemination of information by means of publication of conservation-restoration projects
  10. the promotion of research in conservation-restoration
  11. the establishment of a regulatory framework to guarantee the quality of intervention on cultural heritage or its environment in order to avoid the negative impacts of market forces. This regulatory framework will include, in particular, provisions concerning:

– the competence of enterprises or teams of professionals in charge of conservation-restoration projects
– the drafting of specifications for all conservation-restoration projects

  1. the publication of a multilingual glossary prepared on the basis of the conceptual definitions to be found in the professional literature
  2. the provision of appropriate resources to ensure improved communication between professionals, the public and the decision-makers.

The experts gathered in Pavia urge the Institutions of the EU to demonstrate their commitment to the preservation of the cultural heritage by translating these recommendations into tangible, coordinated actions.

Unanimously adopted / Pavia, 21 October 1997”