On Thursday, 7th of July 2022, The Cyprus Institute (CyI) and the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine (FSP), signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to reinforce their collaboration on issues of common interest in the field of Cultural Heritage, with a focus on activities related to research and development of new instrumentation and methodology, especially on mobile devices for the characterization of paintings and the conservation/restoration of heritage assets.
The purpose of the MoU is to promote joint ideas and objectives on topics including but not limited to art characterization of Byzantine, Medieval and Early Modern Art, conservation studies on World Heritage churches located in Cyprus, and analytical and digital approaches to heritage assets. The CyI and the FSP will also put together their competences and skills in the collective building of a European strategy on Heritage Science data management, visualization, interoperability and accessibility, in the framework of “E-RIHS”, “ESPADON”, and related national projects and relevant European and international initiatives such as the “European Collaborative Cloud for Cultural Heritage”.
The MoU signing ceremony took place at The Cyprus Institute’s premises in Athalassa, Nicosia. Signing the MoU on behalf of the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine, was its President and former Director of C2RMF, Mme. Isabelle Pallot-Frossard, and on behalf of The Cyprus Institute, its President, Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas.
In her address, Mme Isabelle Pallot-Frossard stated that FSP is looking forward for a fruitful collaboration with CyI. “I am very confident that this particular collaboration will be very rich, as it started several years ago. We know each other and we know what we are able to share, so I think we will have a big and brilliant future in front of us”, she added.
Prof. Papanicolas noted that this MoU is not the beginning, as the two Institutions are entering a new phase of their productive collaboration with setting more ambitious targets. “We are proud of what we achieved in the past and we are confident that we will have a successful cooperation in the future. We are here today to celebrate this milestone and enable the archaeology and the culture in general through cutting-edge technologies and methodologies, and to lead technological developments and applications in Cyprus and the broader Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME) region”, he said.
The event was attended by eminent guests such as Η.Ε. Mr. Yiannis Toumazis, Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Rémi Petitcol, responsible for foreign affairs at the FSP and Dr. Vincent Detalle, Engineer-researcher at C2RMF and coordinator of the “ESPADON” project, Ms Eutychia Zachariou, representing the Department of Antiquities in Cyprus, Ms. Elodie Wynar, cooperation attaché of the French Embassy in Nicosia, Mr. Andreas Pirishis, Former Permanent Secretary of MFA, and the Members of the Board of Trustees, Dr Andreas Pittas, Founder and Chairman of Medochemie, Mrs. Androulla Vassiliou, Former European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth and Former Commissioner for Health, and Dr Popi Nicolaidou Kanari, President of Karaiskakio Foundation.
In his welcoming address, the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Tomazis, noted that he personally admires the work done at The Cyprus Institute, as a leading Institution carrying out a multifaceted and a multidimensional work in many scientific fields by applying a multidisciplinary approach, thereby achieving the interconnection of scientific research, technology and innovation. “The Cyprus Institute is a pioneer in the field of technical and cultural heritage preserving cultural heritage resources and with the use of its computational resources making them accessible for research and educational purposes, not only for the present, but also for the future generations”, he stated.
Ms Eutychia Zachariou, stated that for the Department of Antiquities the utilization of interdisciplinary scientific methods and digital applications constitutes a key priority. “The application of science and technology of all projects is of utmost importance, and within this framework, the Department of Antiquities has been closely collaborating with The Cyprus Institute in a range of initiatives and projects that address many areas related to the study and management of the cultural heritage, such the digitization and visualization of archaeological objects and monuments and sites, the analysis of archaeological material, dendrochronology, the protection of heritage at risk, and the development of technologies that contribute towards the more effective fight against the looting and illicit trafficking”, she added.
Ms. Elodie Wynar said that research for Cyprus heritage is paramount for better understanding, not only for the island, but also for the EMME region. Moreover, the utilization of new technologies expands our comprehension of the past in the light of what we expect for the present and future. “This partnership between these two renowned Institutions is a partnership of Excellence”, she noted.
Within the framework of the signing ceremony, CyI Associate Professors Kirsi Lorentz, and Sorin Hermon, and Professor Michel Menu, former Head of the Research Department (Laboratory) of the C2RMF, now based at the Cyprus Institute, presented the existing, long-standing, and cordial collaboration between The Cyprus Institute, C2RMF and FSP, and the “Science of Cultural Heritage, Dynamic Analysis of Ancient and Digital Objects” project (“ESPADON”), in which The Cyprus Institute is involved, and which is supported by the FSP. “ESPADON” aims to provide the scientific community with new instrumental means as well as unique digital resources and know-how for the processing, management and storage of big data.
The Cyprus Institute has a historical partnership with the Center for Research and Restoration of Museums of France (C2RMF), the national research centre in France responsible for the documentation, conservation and restoration of the items held in the collections of more than 1,200 museums across France. The role of C2RMF was instrumental in the creation of our Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC).
Since then, CyI and STARC have grown and expanded their sphere of activities to domains broader than only museums artefacts to include for example, works of art, archaeological sites, historical buildings, libraries, archives etc. Meanwhile in France, the Foundation for Heritage Sciences, or Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine (FSP), was created in 2013 and is a partnership consortium under the patronage of the French Ministry of Culture, merging universities (in Cergy, Nanterre, Versailles etc.) with laboratories such as C2RMF and cultural institutions (Louvre Museum, Versailles Castle, French National Library, National Archives etc.) with its stated ambition to structure and finance research on cultural heritage.
The signing of this MoU is of particular importance to the research development of CyI’s Andreas Pittas Art Characterization laboratories (APAC Labs), which was established thanks to the generosity of Dr. Andreas Pittas, Executive Chairman of Medochemie and Chair of the Executive Committee of CyI’s Board of Trustees.