Workshops and Meetings for Conservation Professionals
As part of the Built Heritage in Southeast Asia Initiative, the GCI presented a series of capacity-building field workshops and meetings for mid-career Southeast Asian professionals, held at heritage sites. The topic of each workshop varied according to the needs of the target audience and the priorities of the host country partner. These workshops utilized the site selected for the workshop to illustrate commonly encountered problems in the field and to present real scenarios in which to test and implement conservation theories and methodologies. The capacity building field workshops included a balanced combination of classroom lectures, group discussions, participant presentations, and fieldwork exercises. Emphasis was placed on practical problem solving; the design of applicable conservation solutions; discussion of how the proposed conservation approaches are relevant to conditions in the participants' home countries; and interdisciplinary group work. Sites were selected based on how well they embodied the workshop's theme
From Risk Assessment to Conservation: Safeguarding Archaeological Complexes in the Mekong Region, 2008
From Risk Assessment to Conservation: Safeguarding Archaeological Complexes in the Mekong Region, Vat Phou, Lao PDR 2008
The first field workshop, From Risk Assessment to Conservation: Safeguarding Archaeological Complexes in the Mekong Region, was held at the World Heritage site of Vat Phou, near Champasak, Lao PDR, March 9–22, 2008. This workshop was a collaboration of the GCI; the Department of Museums and Archaeology of the Lao PDR's Ministry of Information and Culture; SEAMEO–SPAFA (Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization; Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts, in Bangkok, Thailand), and the Lerici Foundation (Italy).
The workshop's objectives were to:
- reinforce the importance of international standards and charters as guides for conservation decision making and practice;
- provide a methodological approach related to various components of site identification, analysis, intervention, presentation, and management;
- introduce methods and uses of risk assessments and site documentation; and
- emphasize the importance of integrating and using development plans relevant to historic sites
The project partners selected twenty-five mid-career professionals—five from each of five countries bordering the Mekong River: Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Lao PDR. Participants were selected on the basis of: 1) their potential for having a positive impact on heritage conservation in their home country; 2) being in a position to utilize and disseminate the information gleaned from the workshop; and 3) demonstrating sufficient proficiency in English (the language used for instruction) to benefit from what the workshop offered. The capacity-building field workshops include a balanced combination of classroom lectures, group discussions, participant presentations, and fieldwork exercises. Emphasis was placed on practical problem solving; the design of applicable conservation solutions; discussion of how the proposed conservation approaches are relevant to conditions in the participants' home countries; and interdisciplinary group work.
Siem Reap: Urban Development in the Shadow of Angkor
Siem Reap, Cambodia, 2008
The forum at Siem Reap was a response to the compelling need in Southeast Asia to confront more effectively the conservation challenges to cultural heritage posed by rampant urban development. Organized in collaboration with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA), the Center for Khmer Studies (CKS), and the Pacific Rim Council on Urban Development (PRCUD), the forum was held October 26–29, 2008 in Siem Reap, a rapidly expanding city adjacent to the World Heritage Site of Angkor. This event—entitled "Siem Reap: Urban Development in the Shadow of Angkor"—brought together approximately twenty-five international and twenty-five local experts to advise the governor of Siem Reap and other Cambodian officials. The forum addressed urgent urban development issues arising from the complex interplay between the intensifying urbanization of Siem Reap and the conservation of the Angkor regions cultural heritage. Participants in the forum made practical recommendations for moving from planning to implementation, so that the quality of conservation in the Angkor region can be improved.
The forum addressed specific implementation issues, such as:
- How can the intrinsic values of this place be reflected in development and conservation efforts?
- What kind(s) of regulatory environment and institutional structures are consistent with these aspirations?
- How can tourism activity be shaped to support sustainable development and conservation of the Angkor region?
- By what mechanisms can private sector and other investments be mobilized in support of these goals?
- What are the required next steps to ensure effective implementation of the master plan?
In October–November 2009, the GCI collaborated with SEAMEO-SPAFA to organize and deliver a second, two-week field workshop at the historic settlement of Chiang Saen (Chiang Rai Province), along the Mekong River and within the Golden Triangle area of northern Thailand. Both the Fine Arts Department (Ministry of Culture, Thailand) and the Municipality of Chiang Saen participated in the workshop's operation. "Conserving Heritage in Asian Cities: Planning for Continuity and Change," focused on archaeological heritage in urban contexts and participatory planning practices for making conservation decisions. It was held in the small city of Chiang Saen, Thailand, October 31–November 14, 2009.
The workshop provided a structured framework to explore international principles and methodologies regarding the conservation and management of archaeological and historic sites, and focused on the following conservation issues:
- how to engage local community residents in making decisions about conserving built heritage;
- how to achieve more sustainable cultural tourism;
- how to integrate heritage planning with other planning activities (i.e., urban design and land use); and
- how to assess risks, prioritize needs, and develop strategies for effective conservation by using value identification and risk assessment methodologies.
Twenty-five mid-career professionals—from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the Lao PDR—took part in the workshop which included a balanced combination of classroom lectures, group discussions, participant presentations, and fieldwork exercises. The didactic materials from the Conserving Heritage in Southeast Asian Cities workshop are available for downloading.
Last updated: November 2014