Collaborative learning as a tool for cross-cultural capacity building in heritage

Project: Research

Project Details


The Asia-Pacific region has an incredibly rich tangible and intangible heritage. Many countries in this region, however, have limited access to training and information to develop the skills to preserve their heritage. Lack of access includes:
• lack of accessible VET or tertiary training courses
• lack of funds to attend international conferences to discuss issues with other heritage professionals
• lack of access to the internet where much “self-help” heritage preservation information is located.
The lack of access to these formal resources also drives a lack of understanding of the needs of heritage preservation in the wider community, and contributes to ongoing lack of resource allocation for heritage work.

ICOM and UC have recently signed an MOU to develop and deliver in-country training in the Asia-Pacific, as a capacity building measure. The point of this training is to bring in and embed skills that are not currently available or well-known in-country, and this means bringing in outside trainers, which effectively means a series of short course deliveries. However, the practice of bringing in outside experts for a short period often results in very limited transfer of skills into daily work once the trainers have left. This is a well-known phenomenon even where the trainers come from the same culture and country as the trainees, and can be exacerbated when the trainers come from a different place and culture.

This project will pilot a new approach to in-country skills transfer, based on development of knowledge through collaborative exploration of issues. The aim is to ensure commitment to new ideas, and confidence in implementing them, by complementing off-shore technical knowledge with on-shore cultural expertise and knowledge of local conditions. This means a more discursive, participatory format which is framed to encourage all participants feel confident in suggesting ideas, and in critiquing the applicability of Australian or international best practice to local conditions.

The first opportunity to pilot this approach is at the request of Dr Moutu of the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby, in June/July this year. The Australia Port Moresby diplomatic post has undertaken to fund the training. The research will utilise:
• pre-training contact with participants to establish relationships and open a dialogue about what they hope to get out of the training
• During training documentation of how effectively different engagement techniques work
• Post-training follow-up to find out how well the participants feel the course met their needs, and to maintain and reinforce ongoing capacity building relationships.
The information gathered in this first training program will be used to refine the teaching and capacity building approach, and to underpin applications for funding for further collaborative training events.

Short titleCollaborative capacity building
Effective start/end date18/03/1828/02/20


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