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  • Date and time: Friday 7 June 2024, 12pm to 1.15pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

The devastation by fire of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in 2019 shocked the world. Now, five years later, it is due to reopen. The cathedral is being rebuilt to its ‘last-known state’, using period-appropriate tools, methods and materials. However, in its day, Notre Dame was revolutionary and was the first grand masterpiece of a new French architecture. Similarly modern revolutionary techniques, including 3-D modelling software, have been used today to support its reconstruction. 

Traditional craft skills and modern technologies are likewise preserved and developed in the city of York, which is also home to one of the world’s most magnificent cathedrals. York Minster has also experienced several fires during its lifetime, most recently in 1984, and is now in the process of establishing a new Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills to encourage global learning and knowledge sharing in this area. 

Join our international panel of experts as they reflect upon the importance of conserving traditional crafts alongside the utilisation of modern technologies to preserve our history. Speakers include Livio De Luca, coordinator of the digital data working group of the CNRS/Ministry of Culture scientific site for the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris; Mike Dennis, an expert in carpentry who has worked on the nave of Notre Dame de Paris; Claudine Loisel, a stained glass conservation specialist; and Alexander McCallion, Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster.

This event will take place live on Zoom Webinar. You will receive a link to join a couple of days before the event and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

This event is part of the Festival Focus ‘Driving Innovation’ presented in collaboration with the French Embassy in the UK. You may also be interested in ‘The Science of Sport’ on Saturday 1 June.

Image credit: Pexels/David Henry

About the speakers

Dr Livio De Luca is Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Director of CNRS/MC-MAP (Models and simulations for Architecture and Cultural Heritage) unit and General Co-chair of the UNESCO/IEEE/EG Digital Heritage international congress (Marseille 2013, Grenade 2015). His research activities focus on surveying, geometric modelling and semantic enrichment of digital representations of heritage objects. Livio is editor of the Journal of Cultural Heritage (Elsevier) and associate editor of the Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage (ACM) and Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (Elsevier).  He is an appointed member of the CoNRS (Comité National de la Recherche Scientifique). Livio’s work was rewarded by the Pierre Bézier Prize (Arts et Métiers Foundation) in 2007, by the Medal for Research and Technology (French Academy of Architecture) in 2016, by the CNRS Medal of Innovation 2019, and by the ‘Targa d’Oro’ of the UID (Italian Union for Drawing) in 2021. Since 2019, he has been the coordinator of the digital data working group of the CNRS/Ministry of Culture scientific site for the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris and has held an ERC Advanced Grant since 2022.

With the help of a National Lottery Heritage Skills bursary, Mike Dennis undertook an old-fashioned apprenticeship around 15 years ago. His carpentry journey has taken him around the world, having worked on projects from the Kinsol Trestle Bridge on Vancouver Island, to a heritage centre with Carpenters Without Borders and the Carpenter’s Fellowship in Guizhou, China. With a BA in Chinese Studies, Mike went on to complete an MSc in Timber Building Conservation as well as an MA in Historic Buildings with the University of York. Most notably, Mike was fortunate to work on the nave of Notre Dame de Paris with Ateliers Desmonts. Alongside hewing the timbers and acting as one of the crew leads for the carpentry, Mike’s experimental archaeology helped to interpret the methods used by the 13th-century carpenters. Mike runs a small business in the south of France, and is currently working with Ateliers Desmonts on a reconstruction of La Mora, William the Conqueror’s ship of 1066. (approved)

Claudine Loisel is Head of the Department of stained glass window conservation at the Research Laboratory for Historical Monuments (LRMH). After obtaining a Ph.D. in chemistry at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg (Germany) associated with the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC, she joined the LRMH. She is in charge of expertise and diagnosis of conservation and restoration projects of the stained glass windows registered as historical monuments. She has participated in numerous national and international projects on knowledge and understanding of the weathering process glass materials. She is chair of the International scientific committee for the conservation of stained glass (ISCCSG) - (Corpus Vitrearum-ICOMOS). She is also scientific expert of the Stained glass Wallon committee in Belgium.

Alexander McCallion is Director of Works and Precinct at York Minster. He oversees the maintenance, restoration and conservation of the cathedral and its 52 precinct properties and services, with immediate priorities including the conservation of the South Quire Aisle – a £20m project which will take more than a decade to complete. Alexander has led the development of a masterplan for the Precinct, brought forward as a Neighbourhood Plan and adopted by City of York Council in June 2022 as part of the Development Plan for the city – the first of its kind in the country. Delivery of the Neighbourhood Plan signals the biggest programme of planned works at York Minster and within its Precinct for over 170 years. Key projects include the Centre of Excellence for Heritage Craft Skills & Estate Management, the creation of new visitor facilities, enhanced public realm and green spaces as well as a new museum and a statue of Queen Elizabeth II, originally planned to mark the 2022 Platinum Jubilee forming part of a wider vision to create Queen Elizabeth Square at the West Front of York Minster. A Chartered Planning and Development Surveyor, Alexander is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and has spent his career working within the heritage sector.


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