UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

09/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/27/2021 00:41

Enjoying Science, Heritage and Art during lockdown

The COVID-19 has impacted all sectors and all regions. Museums and world heritage sites are no exceptions. UNESCO surveyed more than 100,000 museums and 1000 world heritage sites around the world during the pandemic. About 90% of museums closed their doors in 2020. Even this year, 71% of the world heritage sites were still closed in February. The good news is these sectors, including museums, geoparks, heritage sites, reacted very rapidly in developing online presence. To share the experience, UNESCO hosted a session on "Science, Art, and Heritage: Digitising the Experience(link is external)" on 26 August in partnership with the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) during E-Nation Conference.

Five esteemed speakers presented how their organisations adapt and promote digitisation during the pandemic. From Science Centre Singapore(link is external), Mr Daniel Tan and Dr Anne Dhanaraj shared their experience in engaging the public and students through social media and developing several online programmes: "our vision is 'science befriends and transforms the minds of millions', and that includes the online presence". Mr Mohamad Farid Zaini presented the main challenges of Rinjani - Lombok(link is external)a UNESCO Global Geopark and Biosphere Reserve, during the pandemic, and how Rinjani-Lombok has moved forward with digital adoption to turn limitations into opportunities: "with technology, there is a lot we can do for honouring nature and culture as world heritage and prospering the community for sustainable development". Mr Nyi Lynn Seck, shared the journey of how 3XVIVR(link is external)started and became an award-winning VR production institute. He demonstrated the interactive 3D VR museum of Myanmar Heritage and the digital recording of heritage monuments process. "It is essential to digitise the cultural heritage because it is the only chance to preserve before any damage happens, for example earthquakes". Mr Yu Tianxiu from China talked about the construction and application Digital Dunhuang Project(link is external). He presented how the digitisation of Dunhuang Caves has evolved since the 1950s and how it developed into a database of Digital Dunhuang and shared the future perspective of global sharing of data and collaboration.

During the panel discussion, Mr Daniel Tan and Dr Anne Dhanaraj highlighted:"we should look at digitalisation as making use of digital environment rather than replicating the experience in the physical environment". Mr Mohamad Farid Zaini pointed out that UNESCO Global Geopark and Biosphere Reserves in Rinjani-Lombok can mutually support each other in promoting environmental sustainability and cultural and social values. Mr Nyi Lynn Seck discussed the challenges of the lack of funding in cultural heritage projects, despite the necessity to fulfil this mission as an alternate conservation mechanism for the future generation. Mr Yu emphasised that "World Cultural Heritage sites are the shared treasures of the whole world". Therefore the global sharing of data is essential for the conservation and development of world heritage sites.

The fruitful conversation among the experts further supported the recommendation by UNESCO in reports on museums and World Heritage sites to urge the implementation of a large-scale digitisation policy to inventory collections and measures to support education, training and research.

The event contributed to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, especially Goal 4, Goal 11, and Goal 17.

For more information, please contact the Programme Specialist for Science Policy and Capacity Building, UNESCO Jakarta, Ms Ai Sugiura ([email protected](link sends e-mail)).