The SUM Initiative was launched at the onset of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022 with the aim of transferring digital documentation of Ukrainian cultural heritage to secure servers in the European Union. Since then, 4CH has been collaborating with their Ukrainian colleagues, holding weekly meetings to leverage the expertise of Ukrainian staff working with 4CH partners. To date, around 350,000 files, encompassing a diverse array of 3D models and documentation related to Ukrainian cultural heritage has been uploaded for future preservation.
In November 2023, a delegation from Ukraine, comprising key figures from the Department of Cultural Heritage and the National Research Restoration Centre of Ukraine, visited 4CH partners. The visit aimed at exploring collaborative opportunities and sharing insights into conservation and restoration practices. During their visit, the delegation had the opportunity to witness conservation and restoration efforts, particularly focusing on examples from the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, Italy. This experience highlighted the importance of restoration and reconstruction in preserving cultural heritage.
Following on from the visit, plans have been made for the future of the SUM initiative.
- In the short term, the 4CH Project will provide the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture with access to the data uploaded during the SUM action. A duplicate copy of the digital material will be retained on secure servers. In addition, documentation produced during the visit will be translated into Ukrainian to ensure accessibility and usability of the materials.
- In the medium term, the plans include the establishment of a comprehensive training plan and access to 4CH partner laboratories for Ukrainian counterparts. This exchange of knowledge and expertise contributes to capacity building in Ukraine.
- The long-term vision involves the creation of a joint laboratory and a dedicated 4CH unit in Kiev. This sustainable collaboration aims to further enhance the preservation and restoration efforts of Ukrainian cultural heritage.
In conclusion, the SUM action, within the broader framework of the 4CH Project, exemplifies the commitment to international collaboration for the preservation of cultural heritage. By leveraging digital technology, secure servers, and ongoing communication, the initiative contributes to the resilience of Ukraine’s rich cultural legacy.