Hidden Conservation Revealed


The objective of the study project that took place in Florence from 22nd until 27th May 2016 is to raise awareness regarding the importance of the conservation of architectural heritage, particularly in Florence. This project, coordinated by Alexandra Skedzuhn-Safir, the Scientific Assistant of the Chair of Architectural Conservation in the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg in Germany (Head of the Department: Prof.Leo Schmidt), has resulted in two documentaries on the important conservation work taking place in the courtyard of Michelozzo in Palazzo Vecchio.

The BTU Cottbus-Seftenberg students who carried out the project come from countries all over the world: Germany, Italy, Georgia, United Kingdom, Ukraine, Egypt, Indonesia, India, China, Japan, and Lebanon. They participated in the project by bringing together different disciplines: Architecture and Conservation, Media and Film, Tourism and History.

The project was developed by students of World Heritage Studies in BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, which is the first study program in the world dedicated to the UNESCO Convention of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Bauen und Erhalten (Building and Conservation) and Heritage Conservation and Site Management. The documentaries were supervised by the filmmaker Ralf Schuster and have been made available to the City of Florence to promote and raise the awareness of the visitors about the exceptional work to protect Florence as a heritage site.

During the study trip to Florence the students interviewed professionals working in Florence and participated in lectures about conservation as follows:

  • introduction about managing the World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Florence by Chiara Bocchio, a BTU alumna of the WHS programme, and currently collaborator in UNESCO Office of the Municipality of Florence
  • meeting on site and interviews  about challenges and possibilities of conservation with Fabio Sforzi, the director of conservation work of the Vasari wall paintings in the Michelozzo courtyard, and the conservators Cristiana Conti and Alessandra Popple
  • lectures about architectural conservation taught by Giorgio Caselli, the head of the Fine Arts Department of the Municipality of Florence, Giuseppe Centauro, professor in the Department of Construction and Restoration of the Universitá degli Studi di Firenze, and the architect Daniela Chiesi from the Università di Firenze
  • meeting with Carlo Francini, Site Manager of the WHS Historic City Centre of Florence.

The project provides a broad perspective on further strategies to raise awareness on heritage conservation.


Photo Credit: Ralf Schuster

Hidden Conservation:


Conservation Decoded: