CollAsia Sarawk group

The CollAsia international course on Handling, Packing and Moving Collections came to a close in Kuching, Malaysia. Organized by ICCROM and the Sarawak Museum Department, with the support of the Korean Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA), the CollAsia activity aimed to improve scientific literacy and critical thinking skills among the diverse professionals caring for Southeast Asian heritage collections.

The training activity brought together over 40 heritage specialists from 21 different countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. Through lectures and interactive sessions, participants explored the scientific principles underlying past and present systems, materials and work practices, as well as the manufacture, use and conservation of collections.

Participants were encouraged to share the traditional collections conservation practices in their countries during the Conference Day held on 16 January. Study visits were organized to Sarawak Cultural Village and the Bidayuh longhouse of Kampung Benuk, to learn and draw new ideas for research from the rich living heritage of the local communities around Kuching.

CollAsia and ICCROM Project Manager, Katriina Similä is keen to thank the Sarawak Museum Department and CHA for the success of CollAsia in Kuching.

“A key priority for CollAsia activities is to help heritage professionals move from the idea of fixed recipes and solutions to building sound operational systems based on collaboration and shared goals. The strength of the heritage field in Southeast Asia is in the dedication of its professionals, which was evident also among this cohort of participants. Because of the international character of ICCROM as an organization, the insights of the Southeast Asian professional community will also reach colleagues in other parts of the world through different activities and programmes.”

The course’s closing ceremony took place on 30 January at the Merdeka Palace Hotel, Kuching, with the closing speech and certificate presentation by Yang Berbahagia Datu Ose Murang, Deputy State Secretary of Sarawak. Other dignitaries present were Ipoi Datan, Director of the Sarawak Museum Department, and Agus Hariyanto, acting Consul-General from the Consulate General of Indonesia in Kuching.

Ose Murang was glad to express his support for activities building on the cultural heritage of Sarawak, and thanked the course participants for their enthusiasm regarding their learning experience.

“The more we explore our past, the more we appreciate and understand who we are today, and the Southeast Asian heritage sector can be testament to this. When we conduct workshops like CollAsia’s, we empower people to appreciate the items of heritage that we have. Through this activity you have enriched the professional capacities of both local and foreign participants, and I can say that the shared experience will certainly be very useful in the context of the Sarawak Museum Department’s new museum project.”

Internationality is a crucial dimension of ICCROM’s activities. The is aim to engage beyond country boundaries and build new knowledge through collaboration and the sharing of experiences.

Member States represented: Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Chile, Finland, Italy, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Viet Nam