AusHeritage forum and workshops, Penang - 26-28 March, 2011

The second set of forums and workshops in Penang of the AusHeritage series of four has gone exceedingly well, following on from the first forum in early March by Mary Knaggs and Peter Romey.

The AusHeritage team, Ken Taylor, Liz Vines and George Phillips, took the lead in the forum and workshops over three days from 26-28 March.

The forum covered issues of the adaptation, adaptive reuse and infill development in and around heritage buildings, sites and public spaces/landscapes. Underlying this was the development of an understanding of opportunities and challenges of each heritage place and the modelling of a template for Heritage Impact Assessments in George Town and beyond.

The talks were acknowledged by the Penang Heritage Trust as another resounding success, measured by the large attendance, ‘hands-on’ participation and questions from the floor.

Continuing from the last forum regarding Heritage Management Plans, George, Liz and Ken proved to be a great team complementing each other and further clarifying the processes for managing conservation and change in the George Town context from both the proponents’ and assessors’ points of view.

The workshops enabled local counterparts to work through real site issues, hypothetical proposals and to understand Heritage Impact Assessments.

The presentations of the AusHeritage team on the Saturday and collaborative work in the workshops on Sunday and Monday were very well received. The three were praised for their candid comments about their experiences and were the focus of many questions, to which they responded well.

The remaining two forums will be on cultural tourism, conservation skills and heritage risks. The involvement of AusHeritage in the series and their advice on current projects around George Town has been documented in the media. Please refer to the attached item from the Star Newspaper:

Penang_Hill.pdf

From current, local opinions there would be great merit in a second series to complement the first and in more detail in some circumstances. There is also enthusiasm for a repeat of this series as the interest and local initiatives in this field continues to grow.