A host of academics and experts from India and the UK today discussed the importance of heritage preservation in the face of rapid urbanisation, seeking to find an area for a collaborative research project in the field. Underling the threat historic cities face from the onslaught of modernity, the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) and the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have joined hands for a two-day international workshop on ‘Cultural Heritage and Rapid Urbanisation in India’, which began here this morning.
Historians, architects, anthropologists and experts from other related fields exchanged ideas and offered proposals on the “role heritage can play in sustainable economic growth and building social cohesion”.
Research Council UK (RCUK), the umbrella body under which the AHRC falls, called the workshop, “incredibly timely”.
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“One of the main objectives is to identify key questions that would help us find specific area of collaboration in this field. A funding call would be announced following this workshop later this year, inviting proposals for the collaborative projects, involving researchers from both the UK and India,” Director, RCUK India, Daniel Shah, told PTI.
“Funding would be provided by both the sides…we really hope something wonderful will come out of this collaboration,” he said.
Shah further said that about 20 experts from various universities in the UK and the British Library were participating in the workshop.
Historical and urban relevance of several cities, through individual presentations, were discussed today. The cities included Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Amaravati, Mumbai, Madurai, Warangal and Patna.
Later in the day, cities in the UK which will be taken up as case studies include Sheffield, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Manchester and Peterborough. A comparative study of London and Mumbai will also be discussed.
“The workshop will examine how modern cities have developed over time and responded to pressures of striking a balance between urbanisation and heritage and suggest future strategies for heritage preservation,” ICHR Chairman Y Sudershan Rao said.
“The conclusion and findings of the workshop will be compiled as recommendations and sent to the government suggesting policy changes,” Rao said.