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Thirteen Deakin University Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies students took part in a week-long field school in October focussing on the history, preservation and interpretation of the Thai-Burma Railway.
Funded by the Australia-Thailand Institute the field school was held jointly with Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and involved three staff and thirteen students from each university, with inputs from stakeholders, including site and museum managers, tourism authorities and local residents.
The project was intended to develop the skills of cultural heritage management students and practitioners and to investigate heritage interpretation and tourism possibilities at the site. The project also sought to develop cross-cultural understandings of the Thai-Burma railway as a site of war memory as well as providing a focus for exploration of the different memories and meanings of the railway for Thais and Australians.
A particular focus of the tour was the upper sections of the railway, which are not common destinations for either tourists or battlefield 'pilgrims'. In contrast, the Bridge on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi is already a major tourist destination and Hellfire Pass at Hintok has been the focal point of a range of (often contested) commemorative activities by the Australian government since the mid 1990s.
Deakin staff leading the field school were Professor Joan Beaumont, Dean of Arts and historian of war, Professor Bill Logan, UNESCO Chair of Heritage and Urbanism and Southeast Asian heritage researcher, and Jo Sarah, Faculty of Arts Experiential Learning Officer.
Students and staff of Deakin University and Chulalongkorn University on the Thai-Burma Railway Field School, October 2007
Dr Linda Young spent most of July attending the highly competitive and prestigious Attingham Summer School on Country House Studies in the UK as a step in her research program into historic houses as a species of museum. She was sponsored by the Attingham Trust.
'Attingham', as it's known in the British heritage scene, is a gruelling but inspiring gallop through 26 superb houses in 18 days, studying design history, material culture, museology and heritage management issues. The 2007 program was based in three locations: West Dean College, Sussex; the University of Nottingham; and the University of East Anglia. From each base, the group travelled each day for inspections, seminars and lectures - an absurdly crammed program of utter inspiration.
The School is conducted by leading British experts and offers uniquely privileged
access to sites - behind the velvet rope, into the back rooms, onto the roof,
opening the display cases. Presentations were offered at a high level, oriented
to academic and professional interests, and lecturers and professional guests
(such as Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust) stayed on
to eat (and drink) with the scholars every night.
Helen Laffin, Grad.Dip.Mus.Studs 2006, was presented with the CH&MS program's Roslyn Lawry Award at the annual Victorian Museum Awards event, held at the State Library of Victoria on the 28th of June 2007. Helen studied off-campus and part-time, while she working on the Performing Arts Collection at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, and caring for a young family.
The Award is composed of a certificate and a book voucher for $500. It commemorates Roslyn Lawry, an early graduate of the Museum Studies program, who died tragically young. Her parents, Dr Jim and Mrs Faye Lawry endowed the prize, and until Jim's death in 2006, were both actively involved in the Award selection. Faye presented the prize this year.
The Rules of the Award seek a person who:
· achieved standards of excellence in their academic record;
· demonstrated a personal commitment to museum training;
· demonstrated suitable personal qualities in the pursuit of excellence in museum work; and
· displayed personal initiative within the museum profession.
Helen Laffin and Faye Lawry at the annual Victorian Museum Awards.
The second set of master classes at the Kakadu National Park World Heritage site took place from 8 - 17 August 2007, attended by 49 students and 14 staff from seven of the universities in the 'Sharing Our Heritages' consortium - Brandenburg Technical University (Germany), Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), Valencia Polytechnic University (Spain), Curtin University (WA), Charles Darwin University (NT), University of Western Sydney (NSW) and Deakin University (Victoria).
Each group of exchange students attend master classes in Paris (UNESCO) and Kakadu, exploring different approaches to cultural heritage conservation between Europe and Australia. The Kakadu master classes engaged the participating students in an interactive learning process combining formal presentations by local Indigenous representatives and National Parks officials, group discussions facilitated by members of the consortium staff, and field visits in Darwin and at Kakadu. This included presentations by various staekholders associated with the area, such as Traditional Owners, Management Board members, Bininj and Balanda Park staff, and community members running Indigenous tourism enterprises with Traditional Owners.
The program was jointly developed by staff from the Australian universities in the 'Sharing Our Heritages', especially Professor Robyn Bushell of University of Western Sydney, the Australian Department of the Environment and Water Resources, through Parks Australia and Tourism Northern Territory. The generosity of the Kakadu Board of Management, the Director of Parks Australia and staff of Kakadu National Park is gratefully acknowledged.
The consortium staff and students benefitted from the intense local knowledge of the presenters and experienced at first hand the stunning beauty of the landscape and rock art. One of the European students emailed after returning to Melbourne that 'it was beautiful beyond every expectation and I feel privileged in studying at Deakin University'. Regrettably we are drawing towards the end of the three-year program which has been funded by the Australian Department of Education Science and Technology and the European Commission. There will be a final set of Paris master classes in December, with site visits to Brugges and Leuven in Belgium and concluding with a final session at UNESCO's World Heritage Centre. It has been a wonderfully successful program.
This year's Australia ICOMOS national conference was held at the Cairns campus of James Cook University of Northern Queensland on the theme of 'Extreme Heritage; Managing Heritage in the face of climatic extremes, natural disasters and military conflicts'. A record number of CHCAP members participated. Prof Bill Logan co-chaired three sessions on 'Heritage, conflict and human rights' with Tracy Ireland (Godden Mackay Logan Pty Ltd, Heritage Consultants, Canberra) and gave a paper entitled 'Protecting cultural heritage as a human right'. PhD graduate Janette Philp presented on 'The Problematic Nature of Burmese Cultural traditions for the Expression of Cultural Dievrsity and ther Assertion of Cultural Rights'.
Dr Colin Long presented two papers, the first written and presented with Joanna Wills (a sessional lecturer in Deakin's Master of Cultural Heritage) entitled 'Transformative Learning in the Hidden City: Writing an Interpretation Plan at the Viengxai Field School in Laos'. Other co-authors were Jonathan Sweet and Simon Wilmot. The paper dealt with the CHCAP field school Colin organised in November 2006 in association with the Lao Government, the UN World Tourism Organisation and the Netherlands Aid Agency. The second paper was written jointly with Dr Keir Reeves (University of Melbourne) entitled 'Dig a Hole and Bury the Past in It: Reconciliation and the Heritage of Genocide in Cambodia'. The latter paper stimulated a lively discussion that went well beyond the time allotted to the session.
Three of our Adjunct Professors also presented in a variety of ways. Susan Balderstone explored professional challenges related to political conflict in her paper 'Managing Heritage in the Wake of War and Conflict in Cyprus'. Jane Lennon spoke on 'Beyond the Pale: the Plight of Remote Area Heritage' in a session on the heritage of desert landscapes. Liz Vines used a poster session to remind the conference of her Streetwise Asia Fund for Heritage Conservation.
Honorary Fellow Dr Anita Smith co-chaired with Prof Ian Lilley (University of Queensland) a session on cultural heritage management in the Pacific. It was regrettable that this session was scheduled against one of the heritage, conflict and human rights sessions - one of the unfortunate consequences of a very full and exciting conference program.
It was a great pleasure for us that Professor Marie-Theres Albert (Brandenburg Technical University) was able to add the Australia ICOMOS conference to her Australian itinerary. She gave a useful introductory paper on 'Culture, heritage and Identity' at the start of the series of sessions chaired by Tracy Ireland and Bill Logan. After the conference she visited CHCAP in Melbourne, where she presented in the CHCAP Seminar Series and discussed hosting a CHCAP research seminar on 'Cultural Heritage and War' in May 2008
Left to right: Susan Balderstone, Bill Logan and Anita Smith at the Australia ICOMOS conference.
Jonathan Sweet delivered a research paper co-written with Colin Long at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (5/1/07). The theme of the two day symposium was 'The Cold War Expo', and it was jointly hosted by the University of Brighton and the Research Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Their paper was titled: Cold War Exhibition Intrigue in Indo-China: Laos' That Luang Fair in the 1960s'.
Dr Colin Long and film writer and director Fin Edquist were recently awarded the inaugural Roger Coates Labour History Research Grant through the Search Foundation. The grant will fund work on a treatment for a 4-part television documentary entitled Workers Paradise. The documentary will examine "the labour movement’s contribution to Australia’s standard of living" from pre-Federation to today.
Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) opened a major exhibition curated by Dr Linda Young on 3 July. The show surveys the cultural landscape of the Molonglo River valley that became the site of the federal capital city in 1913. It records how a sleepy, anti-Federation-voting rural community was shocked into prominence and largely demolished to construct Canberra.
Young not only grew up in Canberra (which she escaped to go to university) but returned twenty years later to work for many years at the University of Canberra. Throughout this time she was an active member of the Canberra & District Historical Society and a volunteer at its museum, Blundell's Cottage. She undertook research on historic photos in the collection, which became the inspiration of the exhibition and of a book of the same name, to be published in September 2007.
Drawing on material from the National Library and National Archives, her research demonstrates the social demography and vernacular structures of the area as depicted in historic photos, sketches, paintings and objects. As a professional historian, Young believes her responsibilities include the local as well as the academic and is very pleased that her work has now reached the public of Canberra.
The exhibition, open until November, will live on in a book, also titled 'Lost Houses of the Molonglo Valley', published by Ginninderra Press, a local history publisher. It will be launched in September.
Glebe House, the home of the rector of St John's Church of England, Canberra, built 1871, demolished in Canberra's first big conservation battle in 1954.
Dr Michele Langfield was recently interviewed by researchers working on the educational website Making Multicultural Australia. The website aims to 'assist young people, parents, teachers and the community to explore Australia's cultural diversity, tolerance and anti-racism'. Michele was asked to comment on a range of topics connected by the theme of multiculturalism and immigration, including British immigration to Australia between Federation and World War II, Asian immigration to Victoria, the impact of the Holocaust on Melbourne's Jewish community and contemporary issues relating to settlement and community relations in Victoria. Michele's interview contributes to a project looking at the impact of culturally diverse communities on the public culture of Victoria.
Visit the Making Multicultural Australia website at www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au.
Adjunct Professor Susan Balderstone has contributed to the recently published book Asia Conserved: Lessons Learned from the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation 2000-2004.
The book presents essays on the theory and practice of conservation by the awards jury members, including Adjunct Professor Susan Balderstone and other international conservation experts in architecture, urban planning, heritage conservation and landscape design. It showcases the award winning projects of the past five years since the programme was instigated by UNESCO Bangkok in 2000. These include fortified palaces, vernacular residences, places of worship, colonial mansions, industrial buildings and urban districts. From the case studies are derived important lessons that show how strong public-private partnerships and innovative grassroots initiatives can create a powerful platform for the protection of the historic built environment in such diverse places as the ancient cities of Central Asia, the cultural landscapes and historic precincts of South Asia, the port settlements of South-East Asia and the urban centres of East Asia. Technical briefs, contributed by the conservators themselves, provide in-depth solutions to critical conservation problems.
The book has been published with the primary support of the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, with contributions from UNESCO Beijing, UNESCO Islamabad, UNESCO Jakarta and UNESCO Phnom Penh. It was officially launched at the Phra Racha Wang Derm Palace, 2004 winner of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Merit, on 16 August 2007 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Aimed at a broad audience of conservation architects, heritage professionals, decision-makers, heritage homeowners, scholars, students and the concerned general public, the publication will serve as an invaluable reference for safeguarding the monumental and vernacular heritage of the Asia-Pacific region and contributing to its sustainable future.
Further information about the Heritage Awards and this year’s winning
entries can be
found at the UNESCO Bangkok website.
Copies of Asia Conserved can be ordered (pdf 63.9 kb) from the UNESCO Bangkok office.
In August this year Joost Coté was invited to present a plenary paper to the Third International Conference on Environment and Urban Management hosted by Soegijapranata Catholic University in Semarang where Joost has been a regular visitor. As both an international member of the Advisory Board for the postgraduate Urban and Environmental Planning program and member of a research group researching the city’s early 20th century urban culture, he has presented a number of seminars on his historical research.
The conference, ‘City Marketing, Heritage and Identity’ aimed to bring together three sets of stakeholders currently involved in the regeneration historic urban centres in Semarang and elsewhere in Indonesia: municipal authorities, tourist and business interests and professional and community representatives. The conference aimed to address an increasing evident problem faced by Indonesian heritage practitioners which organisers defined as ‘the nearly complete lack of interest of the people and the government in conserving its built heritage, its cultural and public spaces, and replacing them with supposedly more economically beneficial facilities such as shopping malls’.
Extending over two days, the conference consisted of six concurrent panels dealing with heritage, urban identity, environmental management and urban tourism. A wide range of papers included, notably, a number of papers on local Chinese urban identity, vernacular and colonial town planning, comparative urban historical development and current management and strategies for ‘heritage marketing’ of urban centres.
Joost’s plenary paper, titled ‘Globalisation, urban tourism and city heritage’, linked the global trend towards city tourism with the history of the global origins and culturally hybrid heritage of Indonesia’s Javanese coastal cities. He argued that it was time to move beyond the binaries of a postcolonial perspective that focussed on the colonial/nationalist interface to view the city as a global phenomenon historically, culturally and contemporaneously in the context of international tourism. Drawing on his own historical research, Joost pointed to the multiplicity of cultural and architectural influences that contributed to the development of the city of Semarang.
Previously, late December last year, Joost represented Deakin’s Cultural Heritage Centre at Institut Teknologi Surabaya (ITS) during its anniversary celebrations. On that occasion he presented a paper on the work of colonial architect and town planner, Thomas Karsten, who commenced his work in Semarang in 1914 and developed the town planning blueprint that formed the basis of Indonesia’s urban environment. In July this year Joost conducted interviews with Thomas Karsten’s elderly children in the Netherlands as part of his on-going research on the philosophy and writings of this colonial intellectual.
Joost Coté delivering his paper entitled 'Globalisation, urban tourism and city heritage' to the Third International Conference on Environment and Urban Management.
Lost Houses of the Molonglo Valley: Canberra before the Federal Capital City was launched at Canberra Museum & Gallery on Saturday 8 September, by President of Canberra & District Historical Society, Marilyn Truscott, and over a hundred guests, who purchased more than 200 copies on the spot.
The book records the three generations of settlers, convicts and emigrants who occupied the valley of the Molonglo River for eighty years before the district was selected as the site for Canberra, the Commonwealth's new federal capital city. Great and small, they lived in and between the grand houses of Duntroon and Yarralumla, in some twenty cottages, almost all of which were demolished as the city centre and suburbs developed. Their lost world is recreated via archival sources that describe the land and the buildings, genealogical records documenting the inhabitants and their family relationships around the district, and the work of official photographers and amateur artists who recorded the landscape as the city grew.
Published by Ginninderra Press, the book is available for $25 from their website and Canberra bookshops and museums.
Linda signed more than 200 copies of the book at the launch!
Lost Houses of the Molonglo Valley book cover (pdf 207kb)
Deakin University's UNESCO Chair of Heritage and Urbanism, Professor Bill Logan, has been invited to join a new network of UNESCO Chairs which will focus on preventive conservation, monitoring and maintenance of cultural heritage.
The network has been initiated by the Raymond Lemaire International Centre for Conservation (RLICC) at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium as part of a bid to see the creation of a new UNESCO Chair dedicated to monitoring conservation at heritage sites.
Coordinator of the RLICC, Prof. Koenraad Van Balen, has outlined the broad scope of the proposed international heritage monitoring strategy. Its aims are to not only put in place strategies for data collection and monitoring, but also to promote the concepts of preventative conservation widely, to build research partnerships around these issues, to lend support to specialist heritage conservation organisations and to generate publications on best practice.
Prof. Van Balen has emphasised the importance of social involvement and citizens' committment to caring for and conserving their own built heritage. He says that the close involvement of the community in conserving heritage places "can contribute to reducing the 'perceived distance' between them and the heritage that surrounds them in historic cities, enhancing the quality of the built environment and thus improving the overall quality of life".
Professor Logan has expressed support for the network and has indicated his readiness to join the network.
CHCAP look forward to continued collaboration with Prof. Van Balen and the Catholic University of Leuven. Both have been centrally involved in the Sharing Our Heritages master class program since 2006.
Early Church Architectural Forms – A theologically contextual typology for the Eastern Churches of the 4th-6th Centuries by Adjunct Professor Susan Balderstone was launched at College Church Hall, Parkville on Sunday 2 September by Reverend Professor Robert Gribben of the Centre for Theology & Mission, Uniting Church of Australia and 80 guests.
Published by the Australian Institute of Archaeology, the monograph analyses the archaeological remains of churches in the eastern Mediterranean region in relation to the theological debates of the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries, bringing together information from sources covering excavations undertaken over the past 100 years. It concludes that certain architectural forms or designs became accepted through association with particular doctrinal positions. A chronological and theological framework for the various architectural forms found in the region is provided. Illustrations include 38 plans which enable comparisons to be made and churches to be more easily understood as important markers in the history of early Christianity.
Dr Gribben captured his audience with a highly engaging talk, explaining the importance of this study in placing the churches of the region, many of which he had himself visited, in a meaningful Christian context. He praised the high quality of the research and commended the publication to the audience, resulting in many subsequent purchases.
In her response, the author noted that an opportunity given by Professor Bill Logan to present a progress report on the typology as part of the Cultural Heritage Centre of the Asia Pacific seminar series played a key role in getting the work to publication, as the seminar was attended by two members of the editorial board of Buried History.
At the launch, from left to right: Director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology, Chris Davey, Susan Balderstone, Reverend Dr. Robert Gribben.
Dr Bart Ziino, CHCAP Research Assistant, was recently awarded an ARC Discovery Grant for the project The Culture of War: private life and sentiment in Australia 1914-1918. The grant was awarded over four years, 2008-2011.
The project summary is as follows:
"This study has the potential to place Australia at the forefront of a new theoretical approach to civilian agency in total war, and enhance the national reputation for important scholarship in a field dominated by international scholars. Also, while war has been central to Australian notions of identity, our sense of 'war' is intimately connected to the front-line, and not to the home front. This study will help reorient academic and pouplar attention back to the importance of the home front in Australia's experience of 1914-1918. At a time when Australians are increasingly interested in family links with the war, this project will provide a greater appreciation of the war's effects on Australia nationally and on the most personal levels."
Congratulations to Bart!
Australia has been successful in a recent bid to secure a seat on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Australia will join 21 other member-nations on the committee which oversees selection for the World Heritage List and works to spread understanding of and adeherence to the principles of the World Heritage Convention.
CHCAP Honorary Research Fellow, Dr Anita Smith, will join Dr Greg Terrill of the Department of Environment and Water Resources and Mr Jon Day of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in leading the Australian committee team.
Australia has 17 properties on the World Heritage List, including Kakadu National Park, and the Sydney Opera House which was included on June 28th of this year.
For more information visit www.heritage.gov.au .
CHCAP was pleased to welcome visiting scholar Professor Marie-Theres
Albert of Brandenburg Technological University (BTU), Germany, in July 2007.
Professor Albert is the Chair of Intercultural Studies at BTU and Director
of the International Master’s program in World Heritage Studies, as well
as holding the UNESCO Chair in Heritage Studies.
Professor Albert joined Deakin staff and students, and European exchange students participating in the Sharing Our Heritages program, for the Kakadu Master Class, from 8 to 17 July. The 10-day Master Class was run in collaboration with the Bininj/Mungguy Indigenous community, Parks Australia and the Australian Department of Environment and Heritage.
Following Kakadu Professor Albert travelled to Cairns with colleagues from CHCAP to attend the Australia ICOMOS National Conference, eXtreme Heritage, where she presented a paper on Culture, Heritage and Identity.
During her visit to Deakin, Professor Albert met with the Dean, Professor Joan Beaumont, and discussed a proposal to co-host, with CHCAP, a research seminar on the theme of 'Cultural Heritage and War' in mid-2008. The seminar is designed to workshop draft chapters for the volume on this theme that Prof Beaumont and Prof Keith Jeffery of Queens University, Belfast, are editing for the Routledge Key Issues in Cultural Heritage series. The seminar will be held at BTU Cottbus, an ideal venue given its location close to the Polish border midway between Berlin and Dresden.
Professor Albert capped off her visit to the Deakin Burwood campus with a seminar presentation entitled Culture and Heritage in Times of Globalisation. A larger than usual audience turned out to hear Prof. Albert speak. Her presentation was followed by a lively, wide-ranging discussion of contemporary issues for world heritage conservation and interpretation.
Left to right: Jonathan Sweet, Prof. Bill Logan, Prof. Marie-Theres Albert, Dr Colin Long and Adjunct Prof. Irmline Veit-Brause at Prof Albert's seminar presentation, Deakin Burwood.
Museum Studies graduate Crispin Howarth has taken up the role
of Assistant Curator, Pacific Arts, at the National Gallery of Australia. Before
completing his Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies Crispin was offered a role
curating the Gallery’s little known Pacific Arts collection, which houses
some two thousand works. The collection spans a third of the world’s
surface and includes myriad cultures from over 20,000 islands of the huge land
mass of Papua New Guinea to the remote and minute Easter Island.
Within his first year of employment Crispin has curated a permanent gallery space and hosted a gallery conference. He has particularly enjoyed the opportunity to unearth rare and beautiful art through research, and has applied his knowledge of conservation techniques to employ the best storage techniques for cultural objects of a sensitive nature. Crispin’s work has also taken him overseas. Of his time at the NGA Crispin says: “It has been a whirlwind of great activity”.
For more information on the Pacific Arts gallery visit the website of the National Gallery of Australia.
Crispin preparing a Tami Island bowl for display.
Sarah Van der Linde graduated with a Master of Cultural Heritage in 2007 and is now working as a Heritage Information Officer in the Heritage Policy and Resource section of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria.
After completing her B.A. majoring in Archaeology and Latin in 2002, Sarah went on to complete her Graduate Diploma of Museum Studies at Deakin. Sarah was then accepted to take part in the Sharing Our Heritages student exchange and Heritage Master Class program. Sarah was one of a group of Deakin students to receive a grant and subsidy towards a six month student exchange, completing a semester’s study at Brandenburg University of Technology, in Cottbus, Germany. Sarah says of her exchange experience: “It was a fantastic opportunity which I feel extremely privileged to have been a part of. My semester abroad in Germany was fascinating. I met students from across the globe who had come together to study World Heritage from all different backgrounds and experiences. I was also lucky to undertake a short internship in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg where I worked with local archaeologists excavating Roman cremation burials in a field prior to a farmer's ploughing.”
Sarah has worked in a variety of heritage roles, including field archaeologist and inventory supervisor on a theatre excavation in Cyprus, and volunteer assistant curator in the Antiquities department of Museum Victoria. Sarah now helps to maintain the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register by registering new Aboriginal heritage sites in the state. Sarah works closely with field archaeologists and relishes the occasional opportunity to get out into the field with other members of staff to visit and record sites and engage with the community.
Deakin Master of Cultural Heritage graduate Fiona Rowlands recently began work in a new role as Executive Assistant to the Director of Strategy and Policy at Tourism Victoria.
Fiona completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Russian History before beginning her Masters of Cultural Heritage in 2006. Whilst completing her Masters studies Fiona combined work in banking with a front of house role at the City Museum at Old Treasury.
Fiona took part in the Sharing Our Heritages Master Class program, spending a semester abroad studying at the Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus. Fiona enjoyed the chilly European winter in Germany and was able to take part in field trips to Berlin to experience the local architecture and receive a European perspective on heritage issues. The Master Classes in Paris and Kakadu were an opportunity to learn from heritage experts working in diverse heritage settings: “Meeting the people who make decisions on World Heritage was a highlight during the Paris Master Class at UNESCO”, Fiona says.
Fiona’s new role involves providing support to Tourism Victoria’s Director of Strategy and Policy. Fiona says: “It has been a great environment to learn about Government processes and about issues affecting tourism such as natural disasters like fire and drought and climate change”.