Cultural Heritage Management and World Heritage sites in Thailand
About this lecture
While Thailand accepted the 1972 World Heritage Convention in September 1987, some sites in the kingdom were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in the early 1990s: 1991 for the two sites of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, followed by Ban Chiang in 1992.
In a variety of researches spanning more than a decade, this presentation discusses how potential World Heritage sites were prepared for inscription, and the original aims as declared in the various master plans. As it appears, the celebration of the ancient wisdom goes together with full reconstructions of Sukhothai temples. In Ayutthaya, it is the celebration of the former capital in its conflict with Burmese invaders, as well as the “template” of the actual Krungthep. Ban Chiang is one of the most important prehistoric sites in Southeast Asia.
Together with the original aims, however, issues appeared at the time of the inscription as well as in more recent times: Are World Heritage sites destined for more internal consumption than international admiration? Did Disneyfication play a role in site reconstructions? What was the role of local stakeholders? Is the Outstanding Universal Value, the crucial test that underpins a World Heritage inscription, still applicable?
Along with these questions, the relevance of a UNESCO World Heritage listing within a twenty-first century perspective will be offered for further discussion.
About the speaker
Dr Roberto B Gozzoli is a lecturer at Mahidol University International College. He earned his BA from the University of Pisa (Italy), followed by an MPhil and PhD from Birmingham University (UK). Ajarn Roberto was a member of the Italian scientific mission at Jebel Barkal in Sudan. After academic positions in Birmingham and Turin (Italy), he moved to Thailand in 2008, from where he has conducted research in the field of Cultural Heritage Management in the kingdom and neighbouring countries. He is the author of two books and various other publications on Ancient Egypt. Within his Thai research, his contributions focused on the World Heritage sites of Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Ban Chiang, as well as sustainable development.