The Heritage of Conflict and Confluence

by Hasini A. Haputhanthri

History was never my favourite subject in school. We hardly studied it, to be honest, thanks to the 1960’s educational policy in Sri Lanka, which integrated history into a broad subject called ‘Social Studies’ that lasted literally till the new millennium. Generations of students could completely disregard the history textbooks and still get a distinction in Social Studies. Why bother memorizing the dates of endless battles and names of ancient kings?

And yet I ended up a history buff. Whenever I visited cities like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, or even the more historical areas of Colombo, or walked to school in my small hometown of Panadura, past the colonial villas my great grand parents’ generation built at the turn of the 20th century, a strange curiosity gripped me. The landscape and the timescape combined always intrigued me. What is history, actually?

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Interning with HWC: Heritage appreciation to take wing in Sri Lanka – experiences and ambitions

by Harini Dias Bandaranayake (with Pirintha Kulasingam & Aousten Aloysious)

“Knowing new landscapes and people brings more light into my understanding about culture and heritage; this is where I begin to explore and reflect on my visit to Kolkata”, 26 year-old Pirintha Kulasingham, an academic who teaches Art History at the University of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, told me. An enthusiastic and optimistic Aousten Aloysious, also a resident of Jaffna, studying architecture at the University of Moratuwa chimes in, “It’s the unbiased take and the nuanced way in which the walks were presented that made a difference to me.”

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Walking Heritage into Future Cities in Sri Lanka

by Gillian Juleff

It’s been a few weeks since returning from our busy and exciting project trip to Sri Lanka. To roll back a little, we originally planned the visit for early May but reluctantly had to abandon the plan following the devastating Easter bombings. Not wanting to relinquish this component of the project, we immediately rebooked our flights for June in the hope that the FCO advice against non-essential travel would be lifted by then. The weeks went by with no change and making plans for the visit seemed like tempting fate to conspire against us. On the very day I set to make a final decision on cancelling the trip the FCO lifted the advice and we were free to travel! This context is relevant because it explains why the entire trip, from booking transport and accommodation to arranging meetings and workshop, had to be put together in little more than a week.

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Walking Heritage into Future Cities: what is it all about?

by Tathagata Neogi

South Asia is home to some of the world’s most vibrant, historically-rich and culturally-diverse cities. However, twenty-first century economic development, rapid urbanization, and communal tensions now threaten the unique and complex built and social heritages of many of these cities. Walking Heritage into Future Cities addresses these challenges through a new model for sustainable urban tourism that combines the passion and dynamism of young scholars with the global reach of social media and the immediacy of walking in the city. The project is a collaboration between Heritage Walk Calcutta (HWC), who have pioneered this model, and the University of Exeter (Humanities and Business School).

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