Malaysian Interpretation Projects - 20 Nov 2014

AusHeritage member SHP (Sue Hodges Productions Pty Ltd) has been working on a number of projects in Malaysia since 2012. This followed a successful visit to SHP’s Melbourne offices in 2011 by Agnes James of Think City, the investment arm of the Malaysian Federal Government. This meeting was at the initiative of AusHeritage and has since led to a number of high-profile jobs in Malaysia and India.

The George Town Heritage Interpretation Masterplan was SHP’s first project in Penang. George Town, which is jointly listed on the World Heritage Register with Melaka, is unique both for its architectural heritage and the living cultural traditions practised by its residents for over 200 years. The Heritage Interpretation Masterplan develops a strategy to communicate George Town’s unique heritage values not only to tourists, but also to people living and working in George Town. To give a personal voice to World Heritage, the Masterplan encourages local people to place the stories of their own communities within the context of the city’s broader history through a range of interpretive media. This personal communication gives George Town’s residents ownership of the interpretation and enables visitors to powerfully understand George Town’s role in local, regional and world history. The Interpretation Masterplan includes design concepts for heritage interpretation, design templates and an Interpretation ‘Recipe Book’ for people managing large, medium and small heritage sites.

Since then, SHP has invested substantial resources in developing its international work with significant assistance from Austrade and the Victorian Government. Following the success of the George Town Heritage Interpretation Masterplan, SHP was engaged by The Star newspaper group and Think City to develop The Star Pitt Street Interpretation Centre in George Town.

The Star Pitt Street Interpretation Centre
Image courtesy of The Star

This Interpretation Centre tells ‘The Penang Story’: a celebration of the state’s cultural diversity and the histories of its many communities. It features a unique design by SHP that responds to the heritage requirements of the building and also references George Town’s famous cast-iron public art. The exhibition was opened successfully on 6 September 2014.

The Star Pitt Street Interpretation Centre
Image courtesy of The Star

SHP’s third interpretation project in Malaysia is the Cheah Kongsi Interpretation Centre. The Cheah Kongsi is an historic clanhouse established in the 19th century for members of the Cheah clan migrating to Penang from the Fujian province, China. SHP has undertaken curatorial work and design for the centre, and is currently in the pre-construction phase. The Cheah Kongsi Interpretation Centre will open in 2015.

SHP is currently discussing several new projects in India and Malaysia, which are yet to be announced. More news soon!