News & events > First Aid to Documentary Heritage under Threat: Call 2018
27 Aug 2018

First Aid to Documentary Heritage under Threat: Call 2018

Following a successful first edition in 2017, the Prince Claus Fund, through its Cultural Emergency Response (CER) programme, and the Whiting Foundation, have recently announced a second round in the Open Call for First Aid to Documentary Heritage under Threat. The programme invites proposals for projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean to safeguard documentary heritage that is acutely threatened by recent conflict or other disaster, whether natural or man-made.


Manuscripts, rare books, archives, tablets, inscriptions, and other kinds of written records are sometimes the only form in which the past survives. Whether they are in monasteries, private libraries or forgotten tombs, they are objects of historical importance and deep local meaning. They are also especially fragile, susceptible to fire, insects, water and humidity – and are sometimes singled out for deliberate destruction by those afraid of their symbolic power. When there is an earthquake, a flood, or an armed attack, the heritage may be lost forever.

Aims of the programme

Through the first round of this call in 2017, CER and Whiting helped stewards around the world to prevent and minimize loss by funding fourteen varied projects. In Ecuador, where the library collection of the monastery of San Augustin was under threat from earthquake damage and humidity, the programme funded local efforts to restore, digitize, and safely store this long-hidden trove of documents. In Nigeria, where ancient manuscripts were threatened by encroaching militants, it helped to establish a manuscript conservation laboratory. And in Egypt, where inscriptions in the necropolis of Al-Salamuni were being vandalized, it supported visual documentation to record them. The promoting organisations received an overwhelming number of applications, illustrating a pressing need for support. The second round will continue to facilitate the vital work of restoring physical objects and making the information they carry accessible to a wider public for generations to come. In doing so, they hope to contribute to the appreciation of cultural achievement and historical diversity and foster the worldwide dissemination of forgotten or endangered stories.

Deadline for applications

The first deadline for applications is 16 September 2018 at 17:00 Amsterdam time (CET). The second deadline for applications is 1 December 2018 at 17:00 Amsterdam time (CET). Applications received after the second deadline cannot be considered.

Further information

For additional information about the new Open Call of the First Aid to Documentary Heritage under Threat programme, please visit