The Erasmus+ project "Cultural Heritage Protection in Climate Change online" (CHePiCC online) integrates current research on climate change and cultural property protection into a continuing education study program for learners and teachers at universities. As a result of the project, a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), an open-access online course, and a tested and evaluated concept for a transdisciplinary summer university were published in June 2023.
Our cultural heritage is exposed to a number of risks. Climate change and the resulting natural disasters pose one of the greatest threats to cultural heritage and cultural landscapes in the 21st century. The fundamental scientific need in relation to cultural heritage and its protection is to reconnect the various forms of cultural heritage – tangible, movable or immovable as well as intangible – with society and to promote an understanding of its significance, shared values and identities. The aim of "CHePiCC online" is to bring this issue into higher education in order to empower coming generations to protect cultural heritage for the future and to encourage behavioral change regarding cultural property protection and climate change.
The necessary holistic view of the multi-layered topic of cultural property protection is achieved through the transdisciplinary approach in the project "CHePiCC online", where different disciplines work together including the societal perspective. Specifically, the project partners have expertise in the areas of cultural property protection, cultural landscapes, climatology and climate change, construction technology, materials handling, preventive measures, historic preservation, conservation and restoration.
Expertise in cultural property protection independent of time and location
Until now, the university sector has lacked courses and programs that provide a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to a constructive discussion of cultural property protection and climate change. The online course now opens a new level in university teaching: it is publicly accessible through the iMooX platform and can be completed free of charge, in local and temporal autonomy. Its integrative, modular and transdisciplinary structure enables integration into existing university curricula and picks up learners at different knowledge levels. With more than 20 hours of content, the course covers the four main topics: climate change, cultural landscapes, heritage protection, and sustainable prevention measures for cultural landscapes and heritage properties.
Summer University Concept
The "Summer University Concept", another outcome of CHePiCC online, is a tested and evaluated concept for a transdisciplinary summer university on cultural landscapes in the face of climate change. It can be adapted to any cultural landscape and built heritage in Europe, in any climate zone with its specific risks of climate change. A special feature of this concept is that it brings together different disciplines and their knowledge for a hybrid, practice-oriented teaching on an academic level.
The concept is designed to complement the Massive Open Online Course: A face-to-face course is followed by an in-depth online self-study phase. Special emphasis will be placed on hands-on experience to get to know the built heritage and cultural landscapes in order to develop and test tailor-made measures for a specific location. The networking of participants from the cultural heritage sector with emergency services, blue light organizations, relief organizations and the Austrian Armed Forces proves to be a great benefit for both sides in the training of cultural heritage protection.