Collaboration with the Heritage Borders of Engagement Network (ENGAGE Network)

Collaboration with the Heritage Borders of Engagement Network (ENGAGE Network)

Project details

2020 - 2021



Center for Heritage Conservation, CRDF is one of the institutional partners of The India Hub of The Heritage Borders of Engagement Network, known as ENGAGE Network. The ENGAGE Network seeks to develop transformative equitable partnerships in the Middle East and South Asia, focused on shared ‘humanitarian heritage’. Working with local border communities, whose cultural heritage and traditions have been affected by conflict across geographical and cultural borders, the Network aims to promote peace building, cultural exchange, and socio-economic development. Working collaboratively with research partners and communities across Humanitarian Heritage Regional Hubs, the ENGAGE Network partners foster alliances and partnerships between communities, heritage stakeholders and social groups across conflict-prone borders. The Network’s ethos and principles of Humanitarian Heritage have an integrated value system of inclusivity, tolerance, knowledge sharing and cultural exchange, across language, cultural and ethnic barriers.


The India Hub of the ENGAGE Network is coordinated by Praxis Institute of Participatory Practices, of which School of Planning and Architecture, CEPT Research and Development Foundation, and Partners in Change are a part.


Center for Heritage Conservation co-organised a two-day online event on October 9th and 10th, 2020 titled 'Heritage on the Margins: Addressing challenges and opportunities of working with heritage communities' with The Heritage Borders of Engagement Network. The event was laid across four themes and panels, namely:


1. Community conservation of heritage


2. Subaltern heritage: Redefinitions and Appropriations


3. Cultural Institutions At the Time of Crisis


4. State's Approaches to Heritage Conservation: Locating the People in Policies


Prof. Neelkanth Chhaya and Dr. Jigna Desai co-chaired the third panel 'Cultural Institutions At the Time of Crisis' which consisted of presentations by Ms. Gurmeet S Rai, Dr. Fabrizio Galeazzi and Dr. Rohit Jigyasu; and was followed by a discussion.


Center for Heritage Conservation's research abstract on the 'Role of Cultural Institutions in Urban Resilience: The case of Ahmedabad' was revealed at the concluding session of this event along with those of the other member organisations constituting the India Hub.  


Researchers from CHC conducted primary studies to understand the systems of urban resilience during the COVID 19 pandemic in areas within the Historic City of Ahmedabad. The research reveals instances of cultural (religious and non-religious) institutions embedded in the city, that get activated during these times and provide the support for residents to recover and bounce back to their lives. It looks into the existing and newly formed institutional networks, their processes and their outreach during these times with a nuanced understanding of the role of cultural heritage as markers of these networks and processes. The findings have been compared and contrasted with historic perspectives of the city's resilience understood through literature- studies.


This study was presented on 16th June, 2021 at ENGAGE's 3rd International Research Network Conference, 'Towards a global agenda for humanitarian heritage: A community-centred vision towards the future of global heritage' funded by Global Challenges Research Fund. This Conference took place across the Network’s Five Global Research Hubs in Nottingham (UK); Tunis (Tunisia); Delhi (India); Baghdad (Iraq); Cairo (Egypt) in 10 panels.


Recordings of all events are available on ENGAGE Network's facebook page and the research paper will be available for download under the Publications tab of ENGAGE Network's official website

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