The Mission

In pursuit of safeguarding the values of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra (Jordan) given the challenges of rapid societal and climatic change, the Academy of Conservation and Care for the Environment 2024 (ACCE) aims to foster national and international knowledge exchange among post graduate students and young professionals. ACCE is building a platform for emerging young professionals to come together and participate in workshops at the intersection of natural and cultural heritage environments, by learning from and working with the communities entrusted with their care.

Rooted in the fundamental principles of encouraging cross-cultural interactions, this initiative seeks to facilitate a transdisciplinary exchange of ideas, methodologies, and insights. Its goal is to offer a creative and innovative working atmosphere for developing networks of friendships and professional relationships with a view to future collaborations. By providing a platform for exchange amongst international participants, the program aspires to stimulate collaborative research, identify challenges, and lead into a co-creation process on site. The overarching goal is to drive progress in various scientific disciplines through the symbiotic exchange of different experiences and approaches to managing the historic built and natural environment, to share knowledge and best practices for the conservation of the intricate system of heritage values at Petra.

As a result, participants will co-create a template for future funding applications, perpetuating the overarching goal of a platform of exchange under the moderation of the Academy team.

The inaugural ACCE 2024 will take place in Petra, Jordan. Petra is a model site for the challenges and opportunities of integrated environmental management. It holds meaning for diverse groups of people, from local inhabitants to visiting tourists. For this, it accommodates a broad range of intersecting values, from ecosystem services to evidence of past cultures. That is manifest in a complex tapestry of economic and regulatory frameworks that govern its management. The result is a fragile balance that is vulnerable to threats of increasing frequency or magnitude, such as flash floods or disruptions to the tourist economy. But these factors do not only mean that Petra is at risk from climate change, they also point to the role these places can play in exploring and promoting solutions to the crisis. The ethos of ACCE is that the places we care so deeply about can give human scale to the otherwise abstract scale of planetary change. We can use sites like Petra as a living lab, to teach each other how to care for the things we value. This will go beyond safeguarding the heritage of these places, by renewing their significance for our present times, and writing new chapters in the story of our possible futures.

This year the Academy will take place from 18/10/2024 - 01/11/2024 in Petra, Jordan. There is an Open-Call for participants (post graduate student and young professionals in conservation science, architectural conservation, heritage studies, ecology & environmental science, and landscape archaeology.

Project Background

The roots of the Academy of Conservation and Care for the Environment 2024 (ACCE) project can be traced back to the inception of the POMPEII SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION PROJECT (PSPP)  in 2014. Launched as a response to the complex challenges posed by the preservation of archaeological sites, particularly focusing on the necropolis in front of Porta Nocera in Pompeii, PSPP aimed at sustaining the rich architectural and cultural heritage of the best-preserved ancient Roman city in the world.

The PSPP became a significant force in the realm of heritage preservation, combining extensive restoration efforts with cutting-edge research and training programs. This project, led by renowned research institutions such as the Parco Archeologico di Pompei (PAP), International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), Institute of Heritage Science of the Italian National Research Council (ISPC-CNR), and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP), exemplified a comprehensive approach to cultural asset preservation, incorporating sustainable restoration, preventive conservation, documentation, and educational initiatives. It was taken as a lesson learned that a long period of neglect can produce the same effects as a single disastrous event. The experiences gained from the three summer schools under the PSPP banner in Pompeii, played a pivotal role in shaping the principles of the ACCE mission statement. ACCE aspires to foster international knowledge exchange among young experts and establish a platform for interdisciplinary collaboration, echoing the transdisciplinary approach cultivated in Pompeii.

As the PSPP grew, its expertise expanded to other global heritage sites, leading to the establishment of the SXNCH Symposium. This research group, based at the University of Oxford, became a growing network that wants to understand sites at the intersection of cultural and natural heritage. By bringing together experts, researchers, local leaders, communities, and decision-makers, SXNCH 1 & SXNCH 2 aimed to find solutions to the challenges faced by these sites.

The SXNCH Themes reflected a wide range of concerns related to the management of historic environments, mirroring the complexity of heritage preservation. The first symposium in 2020 focused on Petra, Jordan, as a model for addressing challenges at the intersection of natural and cultural heritage. This virtual meeting, necessitated by the Covid Pandemic, proved to be an opportunity to broaden the discussion and include global experts.

Building on the success of SXNCH 1 & 2, and a precampaign, the Academy of Conservation and Care for the Environment 2024 (ACCE) emerged as a progression in the journey of heritage preservation. The PSPP activities emphasized sustainable and comprehensive restoration, preventive conservation, documentation, and educational programs, echoing the multifaceted approach that ACCE aspires to replicate in Petra.


Centre for Heritage Conservation Studies and Technologies (KDWT) at the University of Bamberg: Prof. Dr. Ralf Kilian (Project Management), Dennis Mitschke (Coordination and Organisation), Johanna Götz (Hiwi)

Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP: Dr. Pia Kastenmeier (Coordination and Organisation)

University of Oxford: Dr. Katrin Wilhelm (Framework Design), Dr. Martin Michette (Framework Design)

Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority PDTRA: Dr. Ismaiel Abuamoud (Commissioner of Petra Archaeology Park and Tourism)



The project is funded by the “Alan and Linde Katritzky Foundation”.