The J. Paul Getty Trust has announced a ten-year, $100 million initiative in support of education, research, and conservation efforts aimed at promoting greater understanding of the world's cultural heritage.
Through the Ancient Worlds Now: A Future for the Past initiative, the trust will support partnerships across Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Europe dedicated to scholarship, conservation, exhibitions, and pre- and postgraduate education. To be launched next summer, the initiative also will work to raise public awareness of threats to ancient heritage sites from development and economic pressures, mass tourism, climate change, and political forces and conflict; create conservation strategies designed to increase scientific expertise and capacity needed to save sites and artifacts; engage global audiences through digital and interactive educational and exhibition programs; and use advanced digital research techniques to explore interconnections among ancient cultures.
In addition to developing partnerships over the coming year, the trust will dedicate a portion of the cross-disciplinary work of its four components — the Getty Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Getty Conservation Institute, and J. Paul Getty Museum — to the effort. Projects already planned or under way include two recently opened exhibitions at the Getty Museum, "Palmyra: Loss and Remembrance" and "Beyond the Nile: Egypt and the Classical World"; a traveling research seminar on the art and architecture of ancient Thrace; a program for archaeologists from Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria focused on ancient monuments and sites in Turkey; an international course on the conservation of earthen architecture to be held in Abu Dhabi; a book about the intentional destruction of cultural heritage in pursuit of strategic and political objectives; and training at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage in Erbil.
"In an age of resurgent populism, sectarian violence, and climate change, the future of the world's common heritage is at risk," said J. Paul Getty Trust CEO James Cuno. "Cultural heritage embodies a global community united by a common need to make things of beauty and usefulness, and to compose stories and rituals about humanity's place in the world. We will launch with urgency and build momentum for years to come. This work must start now, before more cultural heritage is neglected, damaged, or destroyed. Much is at stake."
(Photo credit: J. Paul Getty Trust)