Qatar National Library, as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Regional Preservation and Conservation Center for Arab Countries and the Middle East, hosted several events during April to raise awareness about the importance of this field in protecting and preserving the heritage and history of Qatar and the region.
Researchers, manuscript experts, historians and conservators from Qatar and across the Arab region benefitted from workshops and seminars at the Library’s conservation and research facilities.
To mark Arabic Manuscript Day and highlight heritage preservation as a human right, the Library, in cooperation with the UNESCO Office in Doha, hosted a roundtable discussion on 4 April, entitled, "Yemeni Manuscripts and Safeguarding Yemeni Heritage." Speakers focused on the challenges facing Yemen’s heritage preservation, including trafficking issues.
A lecture by Dr. Anne Regourd, Editor of Chronique des Manuscrits du Yemen, highlighted endangered manuscripts in Yemen, and Tom Leiermann presented the challenges he has encountered in his 15 years of work in the rehabilitation of Yemen’s heritage sites. Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO regional office in Doha, discussed a new project funded by the European Union for the conservation of built Yemeni heritage.
The Library was also the venue for an intensive five-day training course for researchers, manuscript experts, art historians and conservators from Qatar and across the region including Turkey, Lebanon and other Arab countries. Organized by the Library as the IFLA Regional Preservation and Conservation Center for Arab Countries and the Middle East, the training course, “Why and How to Identify and Classify Islamic Manuscript Papers,” took place from 31 March to 4 April.
Dr. Anne Regourd, a renowned papyrologist and codicologist, shared best practices with participants during the workshop, which focused on a selection of Islamic manuscripts used between the seventh and 20th centuries. Other sessions touched on the different media used by Arab scribes and copyists to write Islamic manuscripts, and highlighted tools commonly used for paper identification in the Islamic world.
“We are encouraging a broader understanding of the importance of preservation and conservation both at an institutional level and in our communities. The IFLA Regional Preservation and Conservation Center at the Library will continue to bring together experts and researchers from Qatar and the wider Arab region to exchange expertise and debate best practices,” said Stephane Ipert, Preservation and Conservation Manager at the Library.
“It is of utmost importance that individuals and institutions in the region contribute to this field especially for preserving Arabic manuscripts in countries that are facing serious challenges. Through our collaboration with partners such as UNESCO, the Library will continue to strengthen its own efforts to preserve and protect the history and heritage of Qatar and region,” Stephane Ipert added.
Persian manuscripts from the Library’s collection were the focus of a workshop on 13 April titled "Various Greens in Persian Paintings with Reference to Copper Green Verdigris and its Deterioration and Stabilization". The workshop, conducted by Mandana Barkeshli and attended by conservators, researchers and scientists, was designed to present studies on various greens in Persian manuscripts and miniature paintings, and particularly copper green verdigris deterioration and stabilization.
Conservation specialists from Qatar and the region also attended a five-day training course, “Book Binding Conservation,” from 14-18 April at the Library. The course, which was organized by the Library as the IFLA Regional Preservation and Conservation Center for Arab Countries and the Middle East, was conducted by Mireille Porterie, owner of L’Atelierre Association for Bookbinding and Restoration.