Preserving, Transmitting, and Developing Cultural Heritage: Senior Sri Lankan Arts Practitioners in Australia

Rohan NETHSINGHE, Jane Southcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Australia is a nation that aspires to cultural inclusivity where there is respect and support for cultural diversity in which artists play vital roles as agents of heritage preservation, transmission and transformation. This phenomenological research, located in Victoria, explores the experiences of four senior Sri Lankan arts practitioners who have migrated to Australia and their experiences in preserving, transmitting and continuing to develop their cultural legacy in their new country. The participants have performed throughout their lives, both in their home country and in their new county. Data gathered via semi-structured interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. In the interviews the participants described significant experiences and raised a number of issues, many of which were particular to the individual but some were also identified by more than one person. Once in Australia, all participants have been involved in sharing Sri Lankan culture with the wider population via performances, theatre work, and working in different ways with young people from their community. Such reciprocal engagement, in which participants shared their knowledge and skills with others, provided the senior artists with a sense of validation and invigoration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalThe International Journal of the Arts in Society
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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