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Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific

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2012 news

Call for Papers: Heritage in Times of Transformation

35th session of the World Heritage Committee - June/July 2012

Roslyn Lawry Award 2011 awarded to art historian

Cultural heritage student field school in the Kelabit Highlands, Borneo

Delegation from China's Hunan Province visits Deakin

PhD and Churchill Fellowship too

Students attend International Summer Academy

ICCROM Internship

Cultural Tourism and post-disaster recovery in West Sumatra

Preparing for the World Heritage Convention 40th anniversary

Kelabit Highlands Community Museum Development Project

Ass.Prof. Renate Howe AM

Army Museums at Deakin for the 11th course

 


Call for Papers: Heritage in Times of Transformation

Heritage in Times of Transformation: A special one-day symposium in honour of Professor Bill Logan 19 and 20 November, 2012 The Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP), in association with the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, is organising a special symposium to honour the achievements of Professor Bill Logan as he approaches his official retirement from Deakin University. Professor Logan was the inaugural Director of CHCAP in 2002 and oversaw its development into one of the most vibrant and highly regarded research centres in the region. A cultural geographer, he has been recognised nationally and internationally for his contributions to the development of heritage studies, particularly for his contribution to our understanding of heritage issues both in Australia and in Vietnam. In both countries, the relationship of heritage to modernity and its place in contexts of rapid urban transformation have been key issues. His contribution to the disciplines of cultural heritage and geography were recognised by the Australia Academy of Social Sciences last year when he became one of its members. It is therefore with Bill's own contribution to understanding the place of heritage in times of transformation that we call for papers around this theme. The Symposium will open with a special keynote address by Professor Logan on the evening of the 19th of November. This will be followed on the 20th of November by a keynote address from Dr Tim Winter, a senior Research Fellow from the Institute for Culture and Society at the University of Western Sydney. Dr Winter, like Professor Logan, specializes in heritage issues in South East Asia. The conference will finish with a paper on recent developments in Nova Scotia, Canada, around a new World Heritage nomination by Professor Brenda Trofanenko, a Canada Chair at Acadia University, Wolfville, in Canada.

Symposium Theme:

It is a well established truth that heritage is most often used to represent and codify collective forms of identity. As such heritage is most often associated with the notion that things have always been the same, from time immemorial. Time stops, so to speak. In this context heritage almost always is related to notions of tradition and continuity. Its function is to make time and space continuous. It is therefore unsurprising that heritage is often understood as culturally conservative and by definition, against change and development.

In this symposium though, we are interested in the association between heritage and discontinuity rather than continuity. What roles does heritage take in times of rapid transformation? What is its relationship to notions of change? There are a number of possibilities that we are interested in exploring. For example, rather than creating an unbroken, linear relationship with the past , heritage becomes that which demarcates the past from the present. In this scenario, heritage might be something we long for but can no longer access or, alternatively, something that we try to reconnect with in order to create a sense of continuity in what is otherwise a field of discontinuities. While this might be nostalgic it could also be critically motivated. It might also be something we wish to disavow and forget. Of interest then, is the question of how heritage can be used to address processes of change?

Whether used as a positive or as a negative force, heritage can be a resource for societies undergoing extensive forms of transformation. Such forms of transformation could be modernisation, the rise of democracy in formerly authoritarian societies, post-war reconstruction, the development of multicultural societies under the impact of globalisation and consequent mass migration, urban development pressures, changing economic structures and so on.

In this special one day session we will be exploring such questions as: How is heritage being used to manage processes of change? How are these uses manifested in heritage sites, in museums, and in other cultural sites more generally? How does heritage critically engage with ideas of 'progress'? Can or is heritage used to address present day issues and what kinds of issues are they? Can heritage be a critical resource to the management of our future? How might it contribute to our sense of place and community? What kinds of interpretation strategies might enable this to occur?

Abstracts of 250 words are invited from colleagues by the 20th of October 2012.

Papers will be 20 minutes long with time for discussion. The event is free and will be catered.

They can be sent to A/Professor Andrea Witcomb via email on andrea.witcomb@deakin.edu.au

image of conference

 


35th session of the World Heritage Committee - June/July 2012

Kristal Buckley has recently returned from the annual session of the World Heritage Committee where she participated as part of the ICOMOS delegation (ICOMOS is one of the three expert Advisory Bodies that assist the World Heritage Committee). The session was held in St Petersburg in the Russian Federation.

This was the first time that the Committee’s discussions were able to be viewed via live streaming, and a number of Deakin’s Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies students were able to watch the events from home. It is yet to be seen how much this sense of the ‘world watching’ will influence the operation of the World Heritage Convention, but it is certainly a big change for many more people (including students and researchers) to have their own first-hand experience of the discussions.

The States Parties to the Convention now number 190, making it almost universal. The World Heritage List now has 962 properties. Of the 26 new properties added, four were the first for the State Party - Palau, Palestine, Chad and Congo. Two cultural properties from Asia and the Pacific were removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger: the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines); and Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan). Such decisions are always made with warmth and congratulations.

Five cultural properties were added to the List of World Heritage in Danger: Timbuktu and the Tomb of Askia (Mali); the Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Palestine); Fortifications on the Caribbean side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Panama); and Liverpool - Maritime Mercantile City (UK).

The Periodic Report for Asia and the Pacific was presented to the World Heritage Committee. It emphasises the patchy capacity in the region, the need for enhanced community participation, the threats posed by natural disasters and climate change, and the need to better link heritage conservation with sustainable development.

While in St Petersburg, news was received of the deaths of seven people killed by poachers at the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and also of the deliberate destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu in Mali.

Over the past few years, there has been growing academic interest in the discussions of the World Heritage Committee, and what they mean for the future of heritage studies. Certainly the role of the ‘experts’ in decision making is shifting and uncertain. These issues - and more - are all part of a larger dialogue about the future of World Heritage as the Convention celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

photo of delegation

 


Roslyn Lawry Award 2011 awarded to art historian

The 21st presentation of the Roslyn Lawry Award for the best all-round achiever in the Master’s course in Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies took place on 2 August as part of the Victorian Museum Awards event. The winner for the class of 2011 is Dr Anna Welch, BA(Hons), PhD, M.Cult.Her.

The Award commemorates Ros Lawry, a smart young woman who studied at the Rusden ancestor of Deakin University in 1987, but who died tragically before making the contribution people had expected she would in Australian museums. Ros’s parents, Jim and Fay Lawry, established a trust fund to celebrate their daughter’s life and love of museums with an annual prize to someone who achieved well personally, academically and professionally. The Award consists of a generous cheque to be used for the winner’s professional development.

Anna Welch found herself in museum and archive collections pursuing the wonderfully arcane topic of medieval manuscripts.  She completed her PhD at the University of Melbourne, but saw her future less in academe than working with collections. So she enrolled in Deakin’s Master of Cultural Heritage. She undertook an internship at the National Gallery of Victoria, researching tiny votive panels, with Dr Matthew Martin - the findings will be published soon; and she did volunteer work at Melbourne Museum with Collections Manager Ruth Leveson, who seized on her to work on wax seals. Anna is now working in several different jobs, including as a Curatorial Assistant at the State Library. Congratulations, Anna.

Photo caption:

Pro Vice Chancellor of Arts and Education, Brenda Cherednichenko, presents Anna Welch with the Roslyn Lawry Award, 2011, watched over by Mrs Fay Lawry, at the Museum Australia Victorian Museums Awards 2012

photo of delegation

 


Cultural heritage student field school in the Kelabit Highlands, Borneo

In June 2012 students from the cultural heritage and museums studies program participated in a 14 day field school held in the Kelabit Highlands in Sarawak. Led by Dr Jonathan Sweet the field school was designed to contribute to the local community's efforts to establish a community museum. Thus, the program was specifically designed to assist the development process and help address a real need. Previous experience in South East Asia has shown that where there is strong community support, this type of in-country project-based experiential learning is effective. It creates a solid pedagogical structure through which the students are able to develop specific knowledge and skills in cross-cultural heritage management.

The field school activities included discussion, participation and observation, and these provided a framework through which the students and local participants were able to share their understandings and knowledge. This was supported by the willingness of the local community to listen and absorb the ideas presented by the Deakin team and also to create an open and welcoming atmosphere through which the visitors were actively engaged and able to thoroughly document the community’s interests and cultural assets. Everyday occurrences and special events and the investigation of the traditions and beliefs aligned with them, provided the students with an insight into the many facets of local culture. For the Kelabit participants this process of consultation was welcomed as the impetus to achieving insights into the viability of creating a local museum.

photo of delegation

 


Delegation from China's Hunan Province visits Deakin

A delegation from China's Hunan Province, led by Mr Huang Li, Director of the Department of Housing and Urban and Rural Development included Deakin's Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific in their recent Australian itinerary.

The Hunan Province is home to several World Heritage properties:

  • Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area inscribed in 1992 for its natural scenic values - see http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/640/
  • China Danxia, part of the natural property inscribed in 2010 for its scenic and geological values - see http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1335/

The Hunan Province is also the location of Shaoshan - Mao Zedong’s birthplace, Fenghuang Ancient City (included in China’s World Heritage Tentative List for its cultural values) and the southern Mount Hengshan, one of the five sacred mountains of China (included in China’s World Heritage Tentative List as an extension of Mount Taishan).

Kristal Buckley (Lecturer in Cultural Heritage) and Junjie SU (CHCAP PhD candidate) met the group of 16 officials at Deakin Prime on the morning of 18 July 2012. The visitors from the Hunan Province had a particular interest in Australia’s achievements in the management of World Heritage properties, both cultural and natural, noting many similarities and differences with the situation in China.

photo of delegation

 


PhD and Churchill Fellowship too

LouiseLouise Zarmati had a magical week in June: her PhD thesis was examined successfully and she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship within a few days of each other.

The thesis is entitled 'Teaching history in Australian museums: pedagogy and praxis of museum educators'. As a history teacher and museum educator herself, Louise focused on the professional practice of educators who teach curriculum-linked history in museums and heritage sites. Her findings point to unexamined gaps between the constructivist paradigm of informal learning, and the formal heuristic of historical inquiry learning. She concludes that by using the process of historical inquiry via real historic objects and on-site experiences, museum educators can significantly enhance student understanding and appreciation of Australian history.

The project has been almost uncomfortably timely, spanning the (continuing) years of angst over the disfavor of Australian history among school students, and the development of a national curriculum in history. Louise's research also contributes to the evaluation of museums' performance as focuses of civil education.

An archaeologist, history teacher, teacher educator and heritage education consultant, Louise will be extending her doctoral research by undertaking a study of innovative hands-on, simulated archaeology education programs for school students. Her Churchill Fellowship will take her to the USA, UK and Croatia in 2013.


Students attend International Summer Academy:

Constructing Heritage in the Light of Sustainable Development in Cottbus, Germany

 Three Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies Masters students were accepted to attend the special summer program held by the International Graduate School program of the Brandenburg University of Technology in Cottbus (near Berlin), from 9-21 July 2012. The program was organised in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO and is carried out under the auspices of the World Heritage Centre Paris and the German Federal Foreign Office.

Deakin’s Cultural Heritage & Museum Studies has an MOU with World Heritage Studies at BTU Cottbus. The two programs partnered in student and staff exchanges in the ‘Sharing Our Heritages’ program in 2006-9, and maintain collegial contacts.

Kendal Houghton, Victorian archaeologist; Vane Seruvakula, Fijian architect; and Andrew Henderson, historian, received German government scholarship funds to cover the cost of travel and accommodation. Each presented a poster on an aspect of their research: Kendal on survey archeology in the Pilbara, Vane on preserving heritage in the face of mining in Fiji, and Andy on heritage and community in Indonesia.

Constructing Heritage in the Light of Sustainable Development celebrates the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. The aim of the Summer Academy is to give young researchers the opportunity to identify sustainable solutions in the field of heritage preservation. For further detail
www.tu-cottbus.de/interkulturalitaet/summer-academy/

Cultural Tourism and post-disaster recovery in West Sumatra.

Kristal Buckley and Steve Cooke from Deakin's Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific visited Padang recently to explore the potential for cultural tourism in the city. Padang, in Indonesia's West Sumatra, was hit by a major earthquake in 2009 that caused widespread loss of life. The earthquake also damaged the fabric of the city, including significant cultural heritage. Although traditionally a gateway for tourists to other parts of the region, the potential for tourism in Padang itself is under explored and the local government is keen to establish cultural tourism in the area as a way of helping the region recover from the earthquake. The research, partly funded through the Australia Indonesian Institute for Humanity and Development, centred around the city's Old Quarter along Jalan Batang Arau, comprising former Dutch and Chinese warehouses. While there, Kristal and Steve were hosted by colleagues from Padang State University, Professor Irianto and Professor Gistituati, who are research partners in the study. Other Deakin colleagues involved in the project include Dr Jonathan Sweet, Professor Sue Kenny and Professor Jennifer Radbourne.

During a busy week, they began the process of mapping the damaged areas and identifying the conservation work that has already started. They held discussions with the Mayor of Padang and met with tourism officials to explore existing and future plans for tourism development, particularly around the former port area. They visited key regional towns such as Batusangkar and Bukittinggi, looking at key cultural tourism sites and meeting with officials to understand the role of cultural tourism in local economic development and how these sites are networked within the tourism industry. They also spoke with the Director of the State Museum of Padang (Adityawarman Museum) to hear about conservation of building and objects damaged by the earthquake, and discuss the redevelopment of the displays within the context of the relationship between cultural heritage and Indonesian identity.

The visit raised a number of issues relating to cultural tourism, and Kristal and Steve hope to visit again in the near future to continue working with university, industry and governments partners.


Preparing for the World Heritage Convention 40th anniversary

The 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention will be observed in November 2012. There are many events worldwide to mark this milestone, culminating in an event to be held in Kyoto, Japan.

The theme for the year is World Heritage and Sustainable Development: the role of local communities, and as part of the preparations, Kristal Buckley of Deakin's Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific (CHCAP) attended a week-long program of discussion sessions and field visits in Japan. These included a visit to the recently inscribed property of Hiraizumi, a visit to a small part of the region affected by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and visits to Japanese cultural institutions in Tokyo.

While in Japan, Ms Buckley formed part of the international delegation from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and contributed to two important symposia - one on the key themes for the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention, and one on 20th century architecture within the World Heritage context (held at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, designed by LeCorbusier).

photo on left - garments photo right top
photo right bottom

 

Photo Left: While visiting the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Tokyo (Tobunken), we met with conservators working on these intricate samurai garments that were covered in mud and sea water when the great East Japan earthquake and tsunami occurred in March 2011.
Photos: Right The certificate of inscription on the World Heritage List of Hiraizumi was personally presented to national and local authorities by the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova. While attending this ceremony in Ichinoseki, the international delegation was taken to the five sites that comprise this serial World Heritage property which are associated with Pure Land Buddhism.
In the first picture, we are looking at the lay-out of the snow-covered gardens of the Motsuji Temple. The second picture below is one of the many halls at the Chusonji Temple, the location of the building that houses the Konjikido (golden hall).


Kelabit Highlands Community Museum Development Project

Dr Jonathan Sweet has just returned from Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo where he undertook community consultation with the Kelabit people in Bario. The Kelabit are indigenous to the highland regions of central Borneo, straddling the Malaysian and Indonesian border. They are a very small community.

CHCAP (Deakin's Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific) had been approached to see if it could help scope the feasibility of creating a 'community museum'. During Dr Sweet's visit it became apparent, through formal and informal meetings, that diverse elements of the community are enthusiastic about this project. It is a challenging project but Jonathan was very buoyed by the willingness of the people he met to set their expectations aside and to allow Deakin University to help them think about the issues around creating a museum in such a remote place.

The first phase of the project will take the form of a field school for a group of Deakin University CHMS (Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies) postgraduate students. This intrepid group will undertake elements of this scoping exercise in Bario in June 2012. In part they will audit resources and work with representatives of the community to help them to understand options for how their stories, artefacts and experiences can be preserved and interpreted.

Central village performance stageJonathan Sweet interview on Radio BarioTraditional beaded hat

Related link 2012 Film International Project


Ass.Prof. Renate Howe AM

renateMembers of CHCAP are delighted to note that Renate Howe has been made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours 2012. The honour acknowledges her career in urban history, planning law and heritage, spanning academic teaching and research as well as public service in council and board memberships.

Renate taught History and Australian Studies at Deakin University for many years. She also served terms as President of the Staff Association, Chair of Academic Board and Chair of the Human Rights and Ethics Committee. She has been a member of the Heritage Council of Victoria and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal. She is a founding member of the Advisory Board of the Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific.

With a long commitment to issues of urban and housing equality, Renate has published research on how people live in the city. Many early projects concerned the impacts of the Housing Commission of Victoria, and her most recent work focuses on the history of gentrification. Trendyville; protest and gentrification in Australia since the 1960, with Graeme Davison and David Nichols, will be released later this year.

It's great to see public recognition of a woman whose works spans academe and the public arena: Brava, Renate!


Army Museums at Deakin for the 11th course

Nineteen serving and reserve members of the Australian Army, plus a handful of community volunteers, moved into the Student Village on Sunday 15 January, for the Army Museum Network's annual summer school on museum practice. Staff in Museum Studies & Cultural Heritage have taught the course every year since 2001 - and if the course evaluation results determine its continuation, it is set for an even longer run.

The week-long course asks participants to step back from their regular tasks at the twelve museums represented and to think about the impact of Army museums on their communities. How are the seven large regional museums reaching service people and other community members? Participants from the Army Museum of Tasmania gave one answer, describing how they've linked into the big on-shore tours organised for passengers on luxury cruises which call into Hobart several times a year. What can the corps museums do for local educators and students? Participants from the Tank Museum at Puckapunyal and the Infantry Museum at Singleton have ideas for teaching about the First World War.

The Army museums care for a significant slice of the 'distributed national collection' of Australian history. Their primary responsibility is to the training of new service men and women, many of whom undertake projects in their corps museums to explore the history and spirit of their units. But as many participants pointed out, each object has a personal story within it, and it can be the key to presenting the big stories of defence to non-military audiences.

Beside the lectures and small group projects, the course visited several Melbourne museums. On the spectrum from the Fire Services Museum - a classic volunteer-run museum, full of meticulously restored apparatus - to the RAAF Museum - a well-resourced, highly professional operation specializing in big things made of tiny parts - all participants found something to identify with. The course enabled them to review comparative strengths and risks in their own museums. All agreed it was a valuable learning experience.

photo of Vilia, Steve and Linda The Army Museums Network short course was run by Vilia Dukas (project manager); Steve Cooke (lecturer); and Linda Young (director) - here wearing the official Army History Unit cap

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Deakin University acknowledges the traditional land owners of present campus sites.

8th October 2012