Our "Culture & Society" research cluster hosted an international GCRF workshop in New Delhi between March 19th and 24th, 2017.
Led by Dr M. Satish Kumar, the workshop, on ‘Transforming Heritage Networks in South Asia’, was funded largely by a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) grant of £25,000 awarded to Satish by QUB from the Department of Education (NI). The workshop involved Urmi Sengupta (Planning), Ruth Morrow (Architecture), Keith Lilley (Geography) and Paul Ell (CDDA), as well as M. Satish Kumar (Geography), and drew together academics, NGOs, third sector and government bodies from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India (Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Assam, Delhi, Kolkata), including the British Council and the UK.
The workshop was jointly organised with South Asian University, and the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) and supported by the Indian National Trust for Arts and Culture (INTACH). It was officially opened by Professor Kavita Sharma, President and Vice Chancellor of the South Asian University (SAU) and Lord Diljit Rana, Honorary Consul for India in Belfast, followed by dinner hosted by the South Asian University.
Themes included: 'Building Partnerships and Networks for Transforming Heritage'; 'Heritage Challenges for the 21st Century in South Asia'; and 'Digital Solutions for Heritage Futures'. The workshop also included a field visit to Lala Hardayal Heritage Library in Old Delhi and finished with a tour of heritage practices and a closing dinner hosted by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
The workshop demonstrates the extensive networks that the school has developed in South Asia over the last 15 years. It helped to establish for the first time an international consortium of South Asian participants linked to the GCRF defined challenges in the context of the heritage sector. The GCRF Transforming Heritage workshop is a stepping stone towards developing larger funding applications to further expand the international network, led by the Culture and Society cluster with CDDA. The ongoing support of IGNCA and SAU and other South Asia and UK partners, including RCUK and the British Council will help us build up these networks, sharing experience and developing new knowledge and skills relevant to Cultural and Built Heritage in the context of international development across the UK and South Asia.
Congratulations and thanks go to Dr M. Satish Kumar for organizing such an extensive and innovative event for the first time in the region. It highlighted the role and significance of heritage in the context of development of the South Asian region in this significant UK-India Year of Culture, 2017.