CollAsia brings together and empowers professionals and organizations working with heritage collections. It aims to effect positive and lasting change through cooperation and awareness, increased knowledge and skills, and improved attitude and behaviour towards sustainable collections care. CollAsia covers all relevant areas of collections management and conservation for all types of heritage collections. Its activities are consistently designed to overcome language barriers and promote scientific literacy, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, community engagement, and local expertise and solutions.
Created in 2003 at the request of ICCROM Member States, CollAsia was initially launched in partnership with the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO-SPAFA) with financial support from the Getty Foundation. Since 2012, the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea (CHA) has generously provided ICCROM with the core funding for CollAsia’s ongoing activities in the Asia and Pacific region, fostering South-South cooperation.
Key thematic areas of CollAsia within the current CHA–ICCROM collaboration include traditional knowledge, scientific principles of conservation and sustainable development. In recent years, interest has risen in exploring and promoting the use of traditional and local materials and methods in conservation. Reducing dependence on imported materials and solutions leads to lower costs and establishes opportunities for research and long-term collaboration with local producers and industries. This, in turn, results in more sustainable livelihoods and economic growth.
Traditional ways of working can be incorporated into heritage conservation practices to promote resilience and highlight the links with the living heritage of craft traditions and other specialists from outside the formal heritage field. These traditional methods must nonetheless be understood in conjunction with more modern scientific principles of conservation developed over the past decades. Together, this contributes to creating a more sustainable future for people and their heritage.