Srishti Side Event at ICOMOS GA 2017, New Delhi

Title: Contesting Heritage

Subtitle: a trans-disciplinary studio at Srishti Postgraduate Interlude 2017

Venue: Magnolia Hall, India Habitat Centre

Date: 13th December

Timings: 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Living Fort of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

Living Fort of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan (Source: Natural High Safaris)

About the Event:

‘Contesting Heritage’ is a four week long, open studio for critical reflections on current issues related to the tangible, the intangible and the natural heritage of India. This trans-disciplinary space is curated as a collaborative between the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat and Sustainable Development at Srishti and ICOMOS India, for the Srishti Postgraduate Interlude 2017.

During the Srishti Live Studio at ICOMOS GA 2017, the student representatives will engage in intense conversations with esteemed guests and speakers through their work-in-progress from their engagement with Contesting Heritage. Dr. Geetha Narayanan, the UNESCO chair holder will lead the way into these discussions and the evening will be facilitated by curators of the studio, Dr. Srijan Sandip Mandal and Ms. Ishita Shah.

About the Studio:

India is a land of great variety of heritage sites and many socio-cultural influences have worked over several centuries to form these wide-ranging cultural landscapes. While some practices of conservation predates the colonial era, others have been initiated only during the last few decades. One of the reasons for this delay could be that most of these practices are borrowed or adapted from elsewhere. But perhaps a more benign explanation is that heritage in India was sustained by local indigenous practices and outside management was not necessary.

What led to these new practices? How was heritage interpreted before it was subjected to conservation, alteration or demolition? Who decides, what is best for heritage?

Heritage in India today faces a more complex situation than ever before. Education and practice are in a flux because the context, for heritage interpretation and intervention, is constantly under transformation. The socio-political and economic changes in India have impacted the state of heritage management. Indian heritage has at times been a subject of collective decision and at others driven by individual choices

Thus, student teams of this studio are invited to explore avenues and reflect on issues related to heritage design and urban conservation in India today. A range of provocations have been set out under the following sub-themes:

  • Sustaining heritage
  • Private property or national heritage?
  • Subaltern(s) and heritage
  • Safety, accessibility and sociality in and of heritage sites

Student participants from Srishti are suggested to consider the following sites to explore their provocations: Jew Town (Kochi), Hampi (Karnataka), Vernacular of Southern India, and Jog Falls (Western Ghats). Participants from outside of Srishti are suggested to pick a suitable site of their choice, after consultations with their designated mentor.

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