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The region of Thrace holds significant importance and fascination in relation to early Christianity, medieval Byzantine culture, and its post-Byzantine legacy during the Ottoman era. Thrace is home to some of the most significant early Christian and medieval ecclesiastical centers on the Balkan Peninsula, many of which trace their origins back to the preaching of Apostle Paul and his disciples. Thrace is a unique border region connecting the Republic of Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria, making it exceptionally compelling from both scientific and cultural perspectives. The convergence of diverse cultures and influences lends Thrace a rich and vibrant character. While the region has been the subject of numerous archaeological and historical studies, it is noteworthy that comprehensive digital cataloging and presentation projects have not been undertaken thus far.

Today, digital technologies have become an integral part of human knowledge across various domains. The ongoing advancement of these technologies offers unprecedented opportunities for the precise and comprehensive documentation of ecclesiastical treasures in the Thrace region. Moreover, digital technologies enable the wide dissemination of these treasures for educational and devotional purposes. By presenting these treasures on the Internet, they become accessible to a global audience, thus catalyzing educational development, tourism, and cultural exchange among the three countries participating in the NARRATE project. Simultaneously, digitizing these cultural assets facilitates an accurate assessment of their current condition, allowing for timely measures to restore and conserve them when necessary. To achieve these goals, a team of experts from Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria has been assembled to implement the NARRATE project in the Thrace region, with a specific focus on supporting these processes and activities. The project also seeks to assist local custodians of these treasures in their preservation efforts, helping to deter illegal trafficking. Every description and presentation on the Internet serves to introduce these treasures to the international scientific community. Furthermore, the project extends its outreach to disadvantaged individuals by providing them with free access to the ecclesiastical treasures housed in the monasteries and temples of the Thrace region.

The Conference invites specialists to submit abstracts for presentations on the following topics:
  • Best Practices in Digital Documentation.
  • User-Centered Design for Digital Documentation Initiatives. Collaborative strategies for defending and preserving cultural heritage at risk.
  • Challenges of Documentation of Ecclesiastical Artifacts.
  • Digitization Ethics and Cultural Sensitivity. Challenges of the local Ecclesiastical environment.
  • Church-historical geography of Thrace. Archaeological discoveries and the conservation of church monuments in Thrace.
  • The Future of the Documentation of Ecclesiastical Treasures: Technology, funding and sustainability.

Dates

March 11th - 13th, 2024

Location

New Conference Hall, St Kliment of Ochrid, University of Sofia, Rectorate Building 1504 Sofia, 15 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd.
See location on Google Maps  

Call for Papers


Topics

The Conference invites specialists to submit abstracts for presentations on the following topics:
  • Best Practices in Digital Documentation.
  • User-Centered Design for Digital Documentation Initiatives. Collaborative strategies for defending and preserving cultural heritage at risk.
  • Challenges of Documentation of Ecclesiastical Artifacts.
  • Digitization Ethics and Cultural Sensitivity. Challenges of the local Ecclesiastical environment.
  • Church-historical geography of Thrace. Archaeological discoveries and the conservation of church monuments in Thrace.
  • The Future of the Documentation of Ecclesiastical Treasures: Technology, funding and sustainability.

Abstract Submission

Abstracts can be submitted via the online Conference System Tool CMT, between December 1st, 2023 to February 21st, 2024.
Guidelines for Abstract Submission:
During the submission process, you will be asked to:
  • Enter the title of your paper
  • Enter the abstract (300 to 500 words)
  • Add your co-authors (enter their email and their information: First name, Last Name, Organisation and Country of Origin)
  • Upload the file of your abstract. You can upload from 1 to 3 files. Maximum file size is 10 Mb. We accept doc, docx, and pdf formats
Please find an example abstract template here. You should indicate in your file your preferred presentation format (poster or oral presentation)
Please note that there are no registration fees for participating in our Conference and the number of submissions is limited to two (2) per submitting author.

We are looking forward to receiving your abstracts!

Guidelines for Authors

Session Types
The Conference programme will be composed of 6 different sessions associated with the Conference topic themes:
  • Topic 1: Best Practices in Digital Documentation.
  • Topic 2: User-Centered Design for Digital Documentation Initiatives. Collaborative strategies for defending and preserving cultural heritage at risk.
  • Topic 3: Challenges of Documentation of Ecclesiastical Artifacts.
  • Topic 4: Digitization Ethics and Cultural Sensitivity. Challenges of the local Ecclesiastical environment.
  • Topic 5: Church-historical geography of Thrace. Archaeological discoveries and the conservation of church monuments in Thrace.
  • Topic 6: The Future of the Documentation of Ecclesiastical Treasures: Technology, funding and sustainability.
Invited keynote presentations together with the oral and poster presentations associated with the session topic will be presented in these sessions.

Poster Presentation
Posters will be displayed in the hall area where the coffee breaks will take place. We advise the poster presenters to hang their poster on the first day of the Conference on the poster board indicated in the programme. The preferred poster format is portrait A0 (max. 841 x 1189 mm). Sticky pads to hang the posters to the board will be available at the venue.

Oral Presentation
Oral presentations are advised to be of max. 15 min length including time for questions. Keynote presentations will be 30 min long including a moderate discussion at the end of each presentation. The preferred format for the oral presentation is MS PowerPoint or PDF. We advise the presenters to hand in their presentation to the technical staff that will be on site before the start of every session as a *ppt or *pdf file.

Language of the Conference
The official language of the Conference is English.

Schedule


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Agenda

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Keynote Speakers

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Session Topics

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Timing of Events

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Keynote Speakers


Venizelos G. Gavrilakis

President of VENIS STUDIOS, Senior Expert Art Conservator Restorer

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Venizelos G. Gavrilakis is a highly expert in art conservation and restoration of Byzantine icons, historical paintings, artworks, and antiquities, renowned worldwide for his exceptional expertise. With a strong academic background, Venizelos graduated from a Ministry-certified conservation and restoration faculty in Greece, specializing in art conservation and restoration of artwork and antiquities. He further honed his skills through dedicated studies in paintings restoration and conservation at the prestigious Conservation Fine Art Faculty of Palazzo Spinelli in Florence, Italy. Since 1994, Gavrilakis has served as a senior expert art conservator and restorer, undertaking numerous noteworthy projects across the globe. His remarkable career includes managing director positions at art conservation laboratories in renowned institutions, collaborations with galleries and private collectors. He is an art-writer and contributor to “The World Art News”, Local Approach” and others. Gavrilakis is a member of KMKD Kültürel Mirası Koruma Derneği (Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage) while also member of AIC, IIC, ICON, ICA and other heritage culture associations. He is owner and president of VENIS STUDIOS, a leading art conservation and restoration company headquartered in Istanbul, Turkey. The studio is dedicated to delivering exceptional services worldwide, combining the science and art of conservation and restoration, ensuring the art preservation of historical artworks and monuments at the highest level of craftsmanship.



Dr. Damla Acar

Conservation Architect

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Dr. Damla Acar is a conservation architect, specialized in historic wooden buildings and wooden objects conservation. She is also a specialist on conservation of painted and decorated architectural surfaces. She was a senior conservation architect at National Palaces Directorate in Istanbul till 2022. She is co-founder of Koruma Akademisi (cultural heritage conservation learning community) and is running the conservation of timber altarpieces and timber Templon wall of Yeniköy Panagia Church in Istanbul. She organizes many learning experiences for the mid- career professionals on painted surfaces conservation, timber conservation and icon conservation for Koruma Akademisi.



Dr. Şehrigül YEŞİL

Assist. Prof., Işık Üniversitesi, Turkey

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Şehrigül YEŞİL obtained her undergraduate degree from Istanbul University, Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property and her master's degree from the Classical Archaeology Department of the same university. She received her PhD degree from Istanbul University, Department of Conservation, Renovation and Restoration with a dissertation on the reburial of mosaic pavements for preservation in the ancient city of Perge. YEŞİL has been working as a lecturer and head of programme at FMV Işık University since 2013 and has been working as an Assistant Professor since 2020. She is also a member of the board of the Association for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. She has experience as a field conservator over fifteen different sites in Turkey. Her research activity is mainly focused on documentation, conservation, maintenance programs, and reburial for preservation of mosaics.



Dr. Efstratios Stylianidis

Professor at the School of Spatial Planning and Development of Aristotle University, Greece

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Dr. Efstratios Stylianidis is a Professor at the School of Spatial Planning and Development of Aristotle University, Greece, where he leads the Laboratory of Geoinformatics (LabGeo). During this period (2019-2023) he is acting as Vice Rector for Research and Lifelong Learning. His research focuses on the intersection of Geospatial Sciences and ICT for the benefit of natural and built environment. He is currently the President of the International Committee for Documentation of Cultural Heritage - CIPA (2020-2024) where he will continue to serve as a Vice President for the next four years (2024-2027). CIPA is one of the oldest International Scientific Committees of ICOMOS (International Council of Monuments and Sites), jointly founded in 1968 with ISPRS (International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing) to facilitate the transfer of technology from the measurements sciences into the heritage documentation and recording disciplines. Dr. Efstratios Stylianidis was a visiting Professor at Columbia University (2018), while as an invited speaker he gave lectures at Columbia University, Princeton University, and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).



Dr. Todor Enchev Todorov

Assist. Prof. of Christian Archaeology and Art at the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of History, University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

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Todor Enchev Todorov received his BA in Theology (1996) from Sts Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo. He pursued Master’s degree in Theology at the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece (2003) and did his PhD in Archaeology in the University of Veliko Tarnovo (2016). He is an Assist. Prof. of Christian Archaeology and Art at the Faculty of Theology and the Faculty of History, University of Veliko Tarnovo and Vice-president of the EIKONA – a group of academics working in the field of ecclesiastical arts from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Russia, initiated by Prof. George Kordis. Since 2001, he participated in archaeological excavations at the mediaeval monasteries in Bulgaria. His research interests are in the field of early Christian art and archeology, and history of Christian art and he has numerous publications and translations from Greek language.



Dr. Pencho Mihnev

Senior lecturer, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Bulgaria

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Pencho Mihnev, PhD, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", is a senior lecturer in e-learning. He works in the fields of e-Learning (planning, design, development, delivery, assessment and evaluation), Technology Enhanced Learning, Instructional Design, and Curriculum Design. He has more than 70 publications in international sources, and participated in more than 25 R&D and innovative international projects. He obtained MSc degree in Mathematics (Plovdiv University, Bulgaria), one-year specialisation in Computer Science (Sofia University, Bulgaria), and MSc degree in Educational and Training Systems Design (University of Twente, The Netherlands). His career path includes teaching of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Headmaster position at secondary school, Expert in ICT and head of department at the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria, project officer and project manager positions at Sofia University and in private companies, teaching and research positions at Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski".



Dr. Vanya Sapundzhieva

Assoc. Prof. of Icon Painting at the Department of Church Arts, Orthodox Theological Faculty, University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

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Vanya Sapundzhieva, born 1974 in Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. Vanya Sapundzhieva finished the National Aprilov High School in Gabrovo (1993) and received her BA and MA in Iconography (1998) from Sts Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Tarnovo where she also did her PhD in Iconography (2008). She carried out a postdoctoral project at the National Science Fund (NSF) in cooperation with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2010–2013). Vanya Sapundzhieva is Assoc. Prof. of Icon Painting at the Department of Church Arts, Orthodox Theological Faculty, University of Veliko Tarnovo. She is a founder member of the EIKONA – a group of academics working in the field of ecclesiastical arts from Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Russia, initiated by Prof. George Kordis. Since 1997, she has participated in iconographic exhibitions held in Bulgaria, Switzerland, Belgium, Romania, France, Luxembourg, Greece, Poland. Some of her most important projects in the area of Christian art include the frescoes of St. Nicholas Church, Weiler-la-Tour, Luxembourg (2011), the frescoes of St Paisios of Hilandar Church, Stara Zagora, Bulgaria (2004-13), St Michael the Archangel Church, Kolena, Bulgaria (2014-16), Anonsiation Chapel, Stara Zagora (2017), the icons of the same church, St. George Church, Cherni Osam (2021,2023), Bulgaria, icons for the iconostasis of St Haralambos Church, Dolna Mahala, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, iconostasis panels for St Patriarch Evtimii Church, Paris, France and many individual frescoes for churches in Bulgaria. Icons drawn by Vanya Sapundzhieva are also found in many private collections in Europe and the USA. Vanya Sapundzhieva has taken part in two international icon-painting workshops in Brancoveanu Monastery (1998) and in Bistrica Monastery, Romania (2000); in the First, Third, and Fourth Symposium on iconographic art organized by the EIKONA Group held in Thessaloniki, Greece (2009) , St Petersburg, Russia ( 2010) and the Monastery of New Valaam (2011), Finland, respectively; in the Third Biennale 'From Assumption to the Present Day' held at the Institut de théologie orthodoxe Saint-Serge, Paris, France (2009), International atelier "Ikona Nova", Bucharest, Romania (2014) and from the First to the Eight Biennale of Church Arts held in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (2009-2023). In the period 2011-2023 she is a curator and participant of 10 exhibitions of icons organized jointly with the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Municipality in Paris at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute there in. She has one monograph and numerous publications on post-Byzantine art and in the field of Christian iconology.



Dr. Dimitar Iliev

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Dimitar Iliev holds a PhD in Classics (Late antique poetry) and an MA in Computer Linguistics and Humanities Computing from the University of Sofia. His main scholarly interests range from the linguistic analysis of Ancient Greek poetry and the interaction of religions and cultures in Late Antiquity to the digital publication of ancient epigraphic monuments and other textual sources using TEI XML. He has been a guest lecturer and a workshop tutor at the Universities of Cologne, Belgrade, and Tbilisi. He is the coordinator and the encoding supervisor for the ORASIS collection of Post-Byzantine church murals from Bulgaria.



Dr. Tsvetan Vasilev

Assoc. Prof. of Classics in the University of Sofia, Bulgaria

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Tsvetan Vasilev holds a PhD in Classics (Koine Greek language) and is currently an Associate Professor of Classics in the University of Sofia. His scholarly interests are in the field of Post-Byzantine inscriptions in Greek language and Neolatin studies. He has been a guest lecturer in the University of Cologne and has participated in scientific projects concerning the epigraphic heritage of Bulgaria and the Balkans. Together with Dimitar Iliev has been working upon the ORASIS project – a digital edition of Post-Byzantine inscriptions from Bulgaria.



Important Dates


Time zone: Anywhere on Earth (AoE)

Submission of Abstracts and Workshop Proposals: February 21st, 2024

Notification to Authors: February 28th, 2024

Online Registration Opens: March 1st, 2024

Conference: March 11th - 13th, 2024

Registration


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Form

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Sponsors


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Project ID: 2022-1-EL01-KA220-HED-000089867

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Venue


New Conference Hall, St Kliment of Ochrid, University of Sofia, Rectorate Building 1504 Sofia, 15 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd.

Map

See location on Google Maps  

Accommodation

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


The International Conference on the Documentation of Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage of NARRATE, is an event that brings together professionals, experts, and enthusiasts in the field of Cultural Heritage promoting tools and methods on documenting ecclesiastical cultural treasures.

When and where is the Conference taking place?
The Conference will be held on 11th to 13th of March 2024 at Sofia, St Kliment of Ochrid University, at New Conference Hall, of Sofia Rectorate Building. See location on Google Maps  

I want to present my work in the Conference, how can I participate?
You can participate to the Conference either by oral or poster presentation.

How can I submit my paper for the Conference?
To submit your paper for the International Conference, please check the Call for Papers section on our official website https://narrateproject.eu/conference  

Is there a registration fee for participating in the Conference?
No, there is not a registration fee.

How can I view the Conference schedule?
The Conference schedule can be found in the Schedule section on our official website https://narrateproject.eu/conference  . It will be regularly updated with the latest information.

How can I contact the Conference organizers?
For any inquiries, you can contact:

Assoc. Prof. Ventzislav Karavalchev

Assoc. Prof. Svetoslav Ribolov

Assoc. Prof. Ivaylo Naydenov (for German Speakers)

Is there a social media hashtag for the conference?
Yes, the official hashtag for the International Conference is #InternationalConferenceNARRATE. Join the conversation on social media!


Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions or need further assistance. We look forward to welcoming you at the International Conference on the Documentation of Ecclesiastical Cultural Heritage.

Contact


Inquiries/Support

Ventzislav Karavalchev, Dr., Assoc. Prof. of Church Archeology

Svetoslav Ribolov, Dr., Assoc. Prof. of Greek Patristics

Ivaylo Naydenov, Dr., Assoc. Prof. of Old Testament (for German Speakers)

Social Events


Social Dinner

March 11th, 2024 between 20:00 - 22:00 (local time)
Stay tuned for more information

Trip

Sofia churches
Stay tuned for more information