| Members of the British business team on cultural heritage and tourism at a seminar in the city. Picture by Aranya Sen
Although the organisation he represented, as part of the UK business team of the cultural heritage and tourism sector, can offer no funding for any project on conserving the heritage of the city, Christopher Young, head of world heritage and international policy, English Heritage, said on Tuesday that the World Monuments Fund will make some wherewithal available for the restoration of Dalhousie Square. The team was in Calcutta earlier this week.
World Monuments Fund, he explained, is an America-based charity that raises money for endangered monuments. Every two years they publish a list of 100 worst-threatened buildings of international importance. Although no commitment has been made yet, Young knows the organisation is interested in Dalhousie Square.
Young said he hoped something concrete will emerge now that links have developed between the London Rivers Association and Calcutta. Among the monuments he visited here was Robert Clive’s house in Dum Dum and he found the “intermixture” of British and Indian culture fascinating. “An English façade wrapped around an Indian building” is how he described it.
He stressed that instead of waiting for funds the initiative for restoration and conservation of heritage should come from people who live there. Raising awareness about use could definitely help matters, for if people have a use for a certain structure they will maintain it.
The team that toured Delhi and Mumbai, besides Calcutta from January 7 to 17, was exploring the export potential of the expertise they have on offer on cultural heritage and tourism. They were here to demonstrate their expertise, trying to find out its relevance in the Indian context and to define opportunities for UK-Indian cooperation.
Among the team members were Mark Taylor, director, Museums Association, an independent body representing museums within the UK; Philip D. Deighton, CEO of Deighton International, that creates, manages businesses, strategies and projects of all kinds; Dominic Tweedle, archaeologist and assistant director of the York Archaeological Trust; Brian Bath, interpretive designer; Chris Cotton, who leads AROS, a London architectural, planning and urban design practice; Michelle Goran, deputy head of the British Council’s creative industries unit.
But practitioners from Calcutta who work in these areas felt what the UK team had on offer had limited relevance to the Indian situation given the funds constraint and the rigidity of the system practitioners work in.
— A Staff Reporter