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Cultural Heritage Knowledge Networks In Central Asia


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This short paper is the first presentation (March 2005) of a research project started in 2004. It focuses on post-Soviet cultural heritage policies and trends in Central Asian countries, with special regard to the situation of museums and galleries.

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Cultural Heritage Knowledge Networks In Central Asia

  1. 1. Knowledge Networks for the Cultural Heritage New trends and issues in Central Asia: A case study by Alessandro Califano1 The current research starts from heritage related data, regarding Central Asian countries once being part of the USSR, that can be found in the databases of Unesco and at ICOM’s Documentation Centre in Paris. It then also focuses on other museum related information, and on existing heritage networks, at a local, national, and international level about Central Asia. A primary purpose for this research is to update and describe existing evidence of knowledge networks in the area, as well as to underline main trends for a medium length time span. The fundamental issue hereby at stake is: what impact do the new nationalisms, and a fresh Islamic cultural identity have on heritage conservation policies in this area, on the evaluation of the past, and on the definition of which are to be considered the most relevant elements for building new national identities in Central Asia? Assessing if the shift in cultural awareness and institutional priorities has had (or is likely to have) an impact on conservation policies for pre-Islamic sites and artefacts, seems a particularly urgent task. Also relevant is a comparison to conservation trends and policies from the Soviet era. A second purpose for the research is the identification of priorities and patterns for a possible interaction – on educational, methodological and/or technological issues – between local knowledge networks and knowledge bases, and the international museum community. A third purpose is to design a short layout of medium and long range cultural and historical trends in a macro region that – even much before the times of Alexander the Great – has been a hinge between East and West, and between southern and northern regions, cultures and economies. Such a description could be a key to better understand recent transformation patterns, and to evaluate some of the vast geopolitical trends of the modern age. [Paris/Rome, March 2005] 1 The author, Ph.D. in Oriental Studies, is Senior Conservator and Project Manager at CRDAV, the City of Rome’s Research and Documentation Centre for the Visual Arts, and has been involved since 1980 in the application of new technologies to cultural heritage and the environment. A member of ICOM (UNESCO), he is also a member of the Canadian Museums Association (since 1990), and of the Association of American Geographers.