Project “Documenting Ukrainian Cultural Heritage” launched

Photographic documentation of war-threatened buildings in Ukraine as a substantiated basis for the reconstruction of buildings

The Russian leadership's attack on Ukraine has been causing the acute threat, damage and even complete destruction of cultural assets since its start in February 2022. The massive damage to the digital infrastructure also leads to a loss of important data and documents on works of cultural heritage. The documentation of Ukraine's built heritage has so far been very limited internationally; documentary photographs are hardly available or difficult to access.

Emergency documentation of culturally significant buildings

The joint project of the “Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg” (German Documentation Centre for Art History) and the TIB – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hannover aims to photographically document endangered and culturally significant buildings in selected regions of Ukraine and make them accessible with basic descriptive data.

A monitoring group of Blue Shield Germany has been collecting, structuring and evaluating reports on war-related damage to cultural property in Ukraine since the beginning of March 2022. The photographic emergency documentation of culturally significant buildings is to be linked to this database. With the database technology of Wikibase, a sustainable infrastructure is to be established at the TIB, which is also connectable for citizen activities in endangered areas.

Beyond the involvement of Blue Shield, cooperation with non-governmental organisations in Ukraine is firmly planned. The documentation secures cultural memory and will provide a scientifically solid basis for the reconstruction of buildings in the future.

The project is financed by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media through the Federal Institute for Culture and History of the Germans in Eastern Europe (BKGE) in cooperation with the Ukraine Art Aid Center and the German-Ukrainian Society for Economics and Science e. V. The project runs from 1 October to 31 December 2022. Contact persons are Professor Dr Ina Blümel from TIB by e-mail at ina.bluemeltibeu and Dr Christian Bracht from Bildarchiv Foto Marburg at brachtfotomarburgde.