Cultural Heritage without Borders-Albania (CHwB Albania) has entrusted Fondazione Santagata to draft the Management Plan of the former Spaç Prison, in Albania.

CONTEXT

An extraction mine since the 1930s, the site turned into a prison and forced labour camp for political prisoners in 1968, under Albania’s communist regime. The prison was abandoned in the mid-1990s and was declared a monument of culture in 2007. Over the years the site has suffered from destruction, looting and neglect which caused irreparable damage.

Cultural Heritage without Borders Albania (CHwB Albania), supported by Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), launched a tender for the development of a “Management Plan for the former Spaç prison,” ultimately selecting Fondazione Santagata to undertake the project.

The goal is to transform the former prison into a site of social and cultural activation and establish a clear operational framework for the establishment of a contemporary institution of memory; simultaneously, this project aims to preserve  the building complex in its current state, halting the rapid deterioration while pursuing a conservative activity that bears witness to these three decades in which Albanian society ha struggled to come to terms with its own recent and painful history, in which the signs of the passage of time on the buildings are also a metaphor for a distancing, or a risk of loss, from the memory of the place.

In pursuit of these goals, a management plan is set to be crafted that will detail the necessary conservation works, outline the memorialisation process for Spaç, establish the administrative and governance framework, and propose a series of activities to propel the site towards its full operation. Additionally, a business plan will be developed to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the site and support ongoing and future efforts in securing funding and partnerships.

OBJECTIVES

Through this work, Fondazione Santagata, in partnership with ACNI and supported by a team of local experts, aims to achieve the following objectives:

  • Ensuring effective delivery of the management plan and alignment of institutional stakeholders at all levels
  • Honouring the memory of all those who suffered under the harsh conditions of Spaç Prison
  • Providing visitors with a human-focused ‘civic education’ that helps them to understand how oppression arises in society and impels them to take positive action, as individuals and as members of a society
  • Bridging remembrance and educational activities through reasoned and articulated visitor management
  • Creating a sustainable future for Spaç and activating the site as an important asset for local development

 

WORK PHASES

The work is structured as follows:

  1. Preliminary assessment of challenges and risks for the management and business plan, and development of a stakeholder engagement strategy
  2. Review of existing legal documents related to the former prison of Spaç and comparative assessment of the five administrative and management scenarios of interest for the property
  3. Proposal of ownership and governance structure through the definition of a legal, administrative and ownership framework
  4. Feasibility study of the selected legal, administrative, and ownership framework
  5. Implementation of consultation sessions with the stakeholders by various means
  6. Feasibility assessment for three memorialisation scenarios and subsequent selection of the preferred option based on the anticipated future impacts
  7. Definition of a conservation strategy and a roadmap for its implementation
  8. Definition of an operational strategy and drafting of a detailed actions plan for the management of the site and of a business plan
  9. Presentation of the drafts and, upon receiving feedback, finalisation of the management and business plan.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The project aims to produce a Management Plan for the former prison of Spaç, including a Business Plan that shall support the model and a series of recommendations for correct implementation.

Through this work, the necessary tools to manage the site will be set out, to valorise and disseminate its history and continue the memory of those who suffered through imprisonment.

 

COMMISSIONER

Cultural Heritage without Borders – Albania (CHwB – Albania)