Session: Cultural Heritage and Sustainability

Cultural Sustainability Stream


Day 2, Parallel Session 2B: 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16), Seminar Room 1, Level 7, Room 1

Chair: Kim Dunphy (Cultural Development Network)


Kevin Murray Head and Hands in the Could: Cooperative Models for Fair Trade to be Found in Traditional Crafts

  • Presenter and main author: Dr Kevin Murray (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: Until recent times, the standard globalisation model has been to maximise profit by moving manufacture to locations where wages are low and there are fewer obstacles such as environmental standards. This model has been supported by a form of branding which elides the means of production, separating consumer from producer. The emergence of online trading platforms promises to bridge this gap. Both eBay and Amazon have recently created virtual stores for connecting ethical consumers with poor craft producers. Meanwhile, alternative platforms seek a similar connection in a cooperative framework, such as the Just Change NGO in Bangalore. This presentation compares the corporate and the cooperative models for ethical trade. From this review, it proposes a model emerging from the three-year Sangam Project that seeks to give market value to the relational practices involved in the design, production and sale of handmade craft products. The aim is to find a place for traditional craft practices otherwise displaced by globalisation and urbanisation. The platform presumes a three-way partnership between craftspersons, designers and consumers. Though limited primarily to gift products, it is proposed as a model for other trading practices. There is some discussion of recent thinking in legal theory for governing trading relations beyond formal regulation.
  • About the presenter: Dr Kevin Murray is Adjunct Professor at RMIT University and a Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Australian Catholic University (2000-2007). He was Director of Craft Victoria where he developed the Scarf Festival and the South Project, a four-year program of exchange involving Melbourne, Wellington, Santiago and Johannesburg.
  • He has curated many exhibitions, including ‘Signs of Change: Jewellery Designed for a Better World’; ‘the World of Small Things’; ‘Symmetry: Crafts Meet Kindred Trades and Professions’; ‘Water Medicine: Precious Works for an Arid Continent’; ‘Guild Unlimited: Ten Jewellers Make Insignia for Potential Guilds’; ‘Seven Sisters: Fibre Works from the West’; ‘Common Goods: Cultures Meet through Craft’ for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and ‘Welcome Signs: Contemporary Interpretations of the Garland.’ His books include Craft Unbound: Make the Common Precious (Thames & Hudson, 2005). 
  • He is currently a Vice-President of the World Craft Council Asia Pacific Region, online editor for the Journal of Modern Craft and coordinator of Southern Perspectives, a south-south intellectual network.
  • Projects in development include a history of Australian & New Zealand jewellery, the exhibition Southern Charms: New Power Jewellery Across the Pacific and a platform for Craft-Design Collaborations. He is convenor of Sangam: the Australia India Design Platform as part of the Ethical Design Laboratory at RMIT Centre for Design.
Kit Andrews Myanmar: Urban Heritage Skills in Transformation

  • Presenter and main author: Kit Andrews (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: In the last 12 months Myanmar has opened up to the world at a faster rate than in the last 50 years. The economist has suggested that Myanmar could become the next Asian “tiger” economy. One of the key areas of growth is urban development and, in this context, attention is being given to heritage buildings that are a legacy from the British colonial period. To preserve or redevelop these sites requires not only educational programs and specialist skills training but decisions based around sociological issues of culture, politics, economics and social well-being. This presentation is a response to Aung San Suu Kyi’s plea at the World Economic Forum in 2012: “we need the kind of education that will enable our people to earn a decent living for themselves.” But why and how should a non-Burmese vocational education institution support the skills development of urban craft and construction workers in an environment that considers the socio-economic benefits of heritage protection alongside strong arguments for modern redevelopment?  This presentation examines the motivation and capability of a sector of workers in a developing Asian nation, offers guidance for the alignment of resources alongside needs and suggests options for pathways towards engagement.
  • About the presenter: Kit Andrews has a career in sales, marketing and project management in the graphics and imaging communications industry. He has worked mainly on behalf of German and Japanese companies in the UK and Australia with clients including major international and metropolitan newspapers, print media groups and large corporations. Kit consulted with RMIT University International Centre of Graphic Technology to set up a business degree program in 2003 and assisted in the delivery of the program as a casual teacher while pursuing his corporate career. This led to Kit’s conversion from corporate industry to education on a full-time basis. Following a year of TAFE teaching in marketing, project management and leadership, he joined RMIT University as a Program Manager, Marketing in the Business TAFE School. Kit transferred to a Business Development role with the Global Business Engagement unit and is now responsible for working with the colleges and schools across RMIT University to build industry relationships and generate workforce training, development and education solutions. Kit holds a Masters in Business Administration, a Graduate Diploma of Education and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. He is a PhD Candidate with the School of Education at RMIT University.
People and the Planet 2013 European Walled Towns: Sanctuaries of Peace and Dynamic Regenerated Hubs 

  • Presenter: Samantha Fabry (Arts & Culture Victoria)
  • Author: Malcolm Borg (Heritage Enterprise)
  • Abstract: Currently European Walled Towns (EWT) is pushing towards further research and networking to spur actions to regenerate these historic hubs for work, business and leisure. EWT was established as a Friendship Circle and has generated into a network for professional co-operation (Canterbury Accord 2008). One of the primary objectives of EWT is to support walled towns, their history in present day circumstance and to set up projects together to stimulate exchange and generate European and other funds. The main challenge for walled towns is to survive change as inaccessible urban hubs and at times, closed socio-economic communities. The non-profit association has developed projects and participated in various EU funded research projects targeting the threats and possible opportunities which the future holds. Although EWT’s 100 members share common goals, the diverse characteristics pose daunting questions on common strategies for ‘best practice’ planning and conservation. EWT recently became signatory to the UN Global Cities Concept with the intent to extend its potential not only in the realm of research but, also, to consolidate the principle of sustainable development, regeneration and conservation. This paper looks into the various research projects EWT is engaged in and highlights examples of various walled towns spurring change and planning and regeneration tools being implemented.   
  • About the presenter: Samantha Fabry is interested in community development and public programmes which support social inclusion for CALD communities and people with disability. She currently is a PhD candidate at Leicester University within the Museum Studies department in which received a scholarship and, is researching WHS and their collections. She worked as Director for Heritage Enterprise on various projects which were geared towards identifying, rescuing, repairing, restoring and rehabilitating significant historic buildings. Samantha Fabry has been directly involved within developing various EU funded programmes with other European partners. This has included working with various international museums and universities with a focus on developing programmes keyed towards “best practice” within Heritage Management and Museum Management.
  • About the author: Dr. Malcolm Borg is an urban planner by profession and a member of the Planning Institute Australia. He is currently engaged in International and European project management and funding. He specialised in urbanisation and planning at the University of Leeds. He was awarded a scholarship in heritage management, with research undertaken at La Sapienza, Rome. He is a tutor and lecturer specialising in heritage management, economics of heritage, planning and regeneration. Dr Borg established Heritage Enterprise in 1996, worked in the planning sector for the past 16 years and previously held posts of Policy Coordinator and Project Manager with various Ministries. He was responsible for the management of major regeneration projects and the implementation of EU Directives and International Charters.