CRITICAL: Cultural Heritage Risk and Impact Tools for Integrated and Collaborative Learning (Highlight)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences

Abstract

Cultural Heritage (CH) shapes our identity, delivers capacities and exposes vulnerabilities yet cultural value and vulnerability are missing from conventional risk assessments that support sustainable development and growth. There is an urgent need to support the world's most vulnerable populations to adapt and thrive to rapid environmental change. Identifying and developing interdisciplinary methods that can be used to capture the 'invisible' vulnerability and value of CH is an urgent policy need, highlighted by ICOMOS's Future from our Past Report (2019). This need is greatest in developing countries where people often lack the resources and agency to develop frameworks for risk informed natural hazard management. Working in partnership across Indonesia, South Africa, and Sri Lanka this project will combine heritage management, cultural geography and climate risk research to form a community of practice focused on Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) and: 1) identify the key parameters for CH impact assessment; 2) deliver an impact modelling approach to inform risk information for decision-making, and 3) share resulting tools and learning through capacity building and research for policy. The 'CRITICAL: Cultural Heritage Risk and Impact Tools for Integrated and Collaborative Learning' project will directly benefit LMIC researchers, heritage/cultural organisations, as well as local policy-makers through the development of methods for inclusive risk assessment and research based capacity development activities. CRITICAL will benefit LMIC communities through improved cultural heritage and disaster management. CRITICAL provides an evidence base for ensuring economic viability of CH sites alongside their preservation and highlights the influence and significance intangible CH such as traditional knowledge systems. The CRITICAL team will deliver new and novel methods, data and information to evidence the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's (DCMS) CH protection workstream and contribute towards the CH and climate change research sector.
The University of Edinburgh in academic partnership with Universitas Gadja Mada, Indonesia;, the University of Pretoria, South Africa; and University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka will collate diverse knowledge on CH with the aim to co-develop CH vulnerability models and create the foundation for a place-based risk framework for LMIC.
CRITICAL is structured around four interconnected work packages (WP):
- WP1: Cultural Heritage Vulnerability and Values: A forensic investigation of past events and impacts on partner identified CH case study sites to identify key indicators for CH vulnerability and values.
- WP2: Impact Modelling: Using the indicators from WP1, WP2 will deliver co-created vulnerability models and pilot case study scenarios as evidence for CH protection and management from extreme hazard events and climate change.
- WP3: Virtual Capability Building: WP3 will ensure sustainability and global reach through a comprehensive and targeted capacity building e-course in risk and impact modelling for CH protection targeting LMIC early career researchers, practitioners, and wider stakeholders.
- WP4: Connecting community values for policy delivery: WP4 will co-develop a framework for future research focussed on the integration of community-based values into impact modelling and decision making for CH protection. WP4 will capture research findings and policy recommendations from all WPs.
We are experiencing an environmental and social crisis due to unprecedented climate change, alongside a shift in normal research practice due to COVID-19. By using remote research collaboration methods, CRITICAL will examine, capture and share CH vulnerability and value for comprehensive impact modelling in LMICs. This meets an urgent policy need: the co-development of cultural risk-scapes to support place-based climate and disaster decision making.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This project has brought together a community of practice on climate change adaptation through the lens of cultural heritage. It has enabled four research groups from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Africa and Scotland to come together, gather data, analyse and share a diversity of voices on local level vulnerability and adaptive capacity. The project, so far, has delivered four interdisciplinary research workshops, undertaken three sets of field work in the low middle income countries (LMIC), developed a set of climate profiles for each site as well as enabling various local community focussed events and workshops. We have also produced a series of blogs. We are building ArcGIS StoryMaps to communicate and disseminate findings and are currently co-designing an open access free e-learning package on cultural heritage risk assessment and adaptation (due for completion in May 2022). .
The CRITICAL project works in partnership across Sri Lanka, South Africa and Indonesia and combined heritage management, cultural geography and climate risk research to form a Community of Practice (CoP) focused on LMICs to: 1) identify the key indicators and parameters of cultural value and vulnerability for CH impact assessment; 2) test and deliver a co-created impact and risk framework for decision-making, and 3) share resulting tools and learning through capacity building and translate research for policy. A joint team led by University of Edinburgh (UoE) in partnership with Universitas Gadja Mada (UGM), Indonesia; the University of Pretoria (UoPr), South Africa; and our independent researcher working remotely in Sri Lanka have collected and are now sharing a diversity of experiences, knowledge and skills via a portfolio of pilot research case studies from LMICs on cultural value for climate and disaster risk assessment
In summary: The South Africa team have identified the influence of world heritage status on the vulnerability of one of the most isolated and deprived rural areas, as well as the cultural significance of traditional foods that are under threat from the western view of protecting heritage sites. In Indonesia the team have identified the importance and cultural value of an urban river system and are currently expanding their work to explore the wider urban setting of Yogyakarta, and the city's bid to become a city-wide UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river's cultural narrative is critical in understanding local adaptive capacity and vulnerabilities over time, and how cultural heritage is a dynamic force not just something to be preserved. In Sri Lanka, our work has identified the importance of local water supplies and the cultural connections for women and their livelihoods. The project has also implemented engagement with communities in Sri Lanka through school-based art competitions as well as community workshops and ceremonies. The narratives emerging from the three sites align with the results of two desk-based literature reviews that have identified the serious lack of understanding and integration of intangible cultural heritage, community level engagement, and cultural value in risk assessments for climate change adaptation and disaster management.
The literature reviews found:
• Despite many of these papers discussing the importance of risk assessment and all its components (vulnerability, hazard, exposure, and capacity) the majority focus on just exposure or hazard modelling.
• The tools developed and discussed in these papers identified the exposure of cultural heritage to hazards but not the degree of vulnerability or contribution towards capacity. Those that did discuss vulnerability did so largely in relation to exposure or focussed substantially on the structural vulnerabilities of the built environment.
• Challenges for climate risk assessment predominately focus on a lack of data, tools and capacity.
• Papers highlight a significant range of barriers to adaptation including a lack of understanding of vulnerability, a conventionally 'top-down' approach, lack of decision maker awareness, low level of communications between different stakeholders and a lack of policies or regulations.
• The discourse across the literature is dominated by the drive to protect or conserve heritage.
• There is a lack of awareness of heritage benefits for adaptation.
• Only one other paper notes that lack of understanding between the threats to cultural heritage and wellbeing of the local communities.
The project team have successfully carried out field-based research in the three settings, using both in-person and remote methods. Building on long term relationships with local community members and stakeholders, research from the three LMICs has captured the views and values of the most vulnerable people. At a level local, the joint interdisciplinary research team has identified core assets that are critical for adaptation and resilience in the three case study sites. This research has identified local level needs in relation to climate resilience through the lens of understanding local heritage and using heritage as a tool for engagement and empowerment.
In Indonesia the team, Dr Retnowati and Ms Anantasari (GAMA-InaTEK, Universitas Gadja Mada), have examined the role of a key river system as heritage. Interviews, desk study, and field observation were conducted to better understand and identify the heritage of Yogyakarta city and the natural landscape of the province stretching from Merapi volcanic area southward along the main southern rivers to the sea. Changing climate trends and weather hazards are gradually impacting on rural areas on the outskirts of, and within the city, of Yogyakarta city, Central Java. This river system flows from a volcano through the city of Yogyakarta to the south ocean in Java. It is culturally important to the people who live within Yogyakarta as it marks a cosmological axis described in Javanese culture. The city is currently applying for World Heritage status and our researchers are now using their findings to contribute to this process and ensure that natural hazard impacts are taken into account. There is a strong interconnectivity between the community and the cosmological axis. The rivers shape the whole landscape as part of the axis that connects Merapi volcano, the Sultanate Palace, and the Parangtiris coast. These locations symbolize human and the spiritual aspect (God) connections. This philosophical heritage is repeatedly introduced to visitors spending their time in Yogyakarta. However, findings from this research indicated that the connection between river, people, and the historical buildings have not been described distinctly in the proposal document to the UNESCO for the city's WHS proposal.
In Sri Lanka, our lead researcher, Dr Karunarathna, explored environmental folklore (Intangible Heritage) focussed on small-scale tank cascade village cultures. Heritage studies of South Asia in general, and Sri Lanka in particular, have tended to assign a less prominent place to the intangible heritage mainly environmental folklore. This neglected research data materials elaborately magnify the local ecological knowledge, traditional livelihood, contemporary social norms and dynamics, and harmonious connection between culture and nature.
In South Africa, Prof O'Connell and Ms Niemand, University of Pretoria, examined two sets of concerns - coloniality and climate which can confidently be expected to dominate public/ political and intellectual agendas for the foreseeable future. This project puts these concerns into focus, looking at complex questions of ways of life and the long reach of oppressive histories in Elandskloof, a village South Africa's Cedarberg region. The project understands the climate emergency as primarily a human rights catastrophe. Elandskloof - a place that was subject to race-based forced removals and the first 'successful' land restitution case in South Africa us this site becomes a space of ongoing engagement, and a "ground zero" of the catastrophic convergence of the colonial frontier with a climate change frontier - and the resultant human toll. Examining vulnerable and forgotten communities - single sites in particular - is utterly crucial. Forgotten communities require context-specific approaches to support them taking into account histories, livelihood portfolios and likely climate change impacts. This team used participatory work with the community (in groups as well as individual interviews) as well as paper-based questionnaires to examine how notions of community, resilience and sustainability are thought about and deployed by those living in Elandskloof. In this light, our first workshop at the end of 2021 shed some light on how the community functions in terms of understanding key links and further ideas around trust. It is clear that this community has not been kept abreast of climatic changes, and they were at pains to impress that they have had no input or guidance from any accredited source, relying on radio stations and newspapers with regard to, for example, the crippling drought that ravaged the Western Cape during the last decade. A second workshop was undertaken in early February 2022 asked questions on the meaning of heritage in particular food heritage for the community? What does heritage mean to them? It explored issues of loss of traditional knowledge of the weather and a connection with their land and is climate change causing their relationship with the land and place to change or will it in the future?
There has been little, if any, attention paid to capturing the rich personal and collective histories of this community; recipes, ways of life with regard to religion, employment, marriages, and movements among others that point to a community held hostage to their past, and without the necessary tools to survive and flourish. There is a thread of abandonment, of being forgotten, and the inability to find a platform from which to imagine and chart a different path.
Further achievements have been made such as sharing findings at international fora such as Climate Expo 17-21st May 2021 hosted by the COP26 Universities Network and a special meeting of IPCC UNESCO, and ICOMOS between 6th -10th December 2021.
This project is ongoing but we have met the majority of our objectives and are on track to complete them all by June 2022. Furthermore, with an extension and follow on funding we are also able to deliver a cross-AHRC/DCMS urgency grant portfolio policy ready report by June 2022. We have identified key assets and their vulnerabilities and capacities in all three sites, we have co-designed an approach to examine risk through a heritage lens and we have developed the materials and lessons for a capacity buildings package. Additional to this we will deliver a future research road and policy brief. We have held multiple workshops on heritage assets identification, risk framework co-development and lesson sharing. We have also held climate dissemination events in South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Exploitation Route Our community of practice will outlive the end of this project, we have made a strong network of researcher across four countries and we anticipate future collaborative work together. Each LMIC research team has plans to continue their own work, and in late March 2022 we will hold a workshop to design a future research roadmap.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/climate_culture/
 
Description This project is still on going, however there have been some impacts at a local level. In Indonesia, this research is contributing to a city wide discourse on UNESCO World Heritage status. It has provide an evidence base for the consideration of natural hazards in heritage management for the city. These discussions are still in their early form. In Sri Lanka, the local level workshops and engagement events have provided a space for women to share their knowledge and traditions. This has had a very positive impact on their empowerment and wellbeing. This research was the first opportunity that they had experienced to share their stories and experiences. In South Africa, the community have expressed a desire for further information on climate change as a direct result of this project. Therefore an additional output will be the delivery of a climate change toolkit for this community so that they can better understand the impacts of climate change on their home. Impact has also taken the form of our LMIC researchers being recognised by the UNESCO-ICOMOS-IPCC joint meeting committee and invited to share their experience and findings at a special meeting in December 2021.
First Year Of Impact 2022
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description ADDITIONAL FUNDING: CRITICAL: Cultural Heritage Risk and Impact Tools for Integrated and Collaborative Learning (Highlight)
Amount £54,241 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2021 
End 03/2022
 
Description AW. Mellon Foundation Professoriate Grant
Amount £3,250 (GBP)
Organisation University of Pretoria 
Sector Academic/University
Country South Africa
Start 02/2022 
End 04/2022
 
Description Recipes for Resilience: Engaging Caribbean Youth in Climate Action and Afrodescendant Food Heritage through Story Mapping and Song (Development Grants)
Amount £9,994 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/W004550/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2021 
End 12/2021
 
Description Scottish Graduate School of Social Science and ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership 2021/22 Scholarship
Amount £70,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2022 
End 09/2025
 
Description Invited to collaborate with ICOMOS-IPCC-UNESCO for AR7 Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) 
Organisation International Council on Monuments and Sites
Country France 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Two of our co investigators were invited to contribute their findings during a ICOMOS-IPCC-UNESCO co-sponsored 4 day workshop in December 2021 to discuss a contributions IPCC AR7 reporting cycle. Our research team contributed their findings via posters as well as discussions.
Collaborator Contribution We have representative from ICOMOS on our advisory panel. They have provided advice throughout and guidance, as well as inviting co-investigators to the workshop noted above.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration across sectors of climate change, heritage management and human geography more widely. Outputs so far include research posters presented at the meeting event in December. This is an ongoing collaboration with the aim of contributing towards the next cycle (AR7) of Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change reporting.
Start Year 2021
 
Description Invited to collaborate with ICOMOS-IPCC-UNESCO for AR7 Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) 
Organisation The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Country Switzerland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Two of our co investigators were invited to contribute their findings during a ICOMOS-IPCC-UNESCO co-sponsored 4 day workshop in December 2021 to discuss a contributions IPCC AR7 reporting cycle. Our research team contributed their findings via posters as well as discussions.
Collaborator Contribution We have representative from ICOMOS on our advisory panel. They have provided advice throughout and guidance, as well as inviting co-investigators to the workshop noted above.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration across sectors of climate change, heritage management and human geography more widely. Outputs so far include research posters presented at the meeting event in December. This is an ongoing collaboration with the aim of contributing towards the next cycle (AR7) of Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change reporting.
Start Year 2021
 
Description ArcGIS story maps 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact We have developed two ArcGIS storymaps so far, these focus on the Sri Lankan and Indonesian case study. These are educational tools to showcase the main stories of each site and the research findings. These will be incorporated within an e-learning package underdevelopment. So far these storymaps are public and have been shown to a range of stakeholders at various seminars and workshops held in early 2022. The storymaps are a useful and visually stimulating way of communicating our research outputs. Sri Lanka storymap can be accessed here https://arcg.is/1viuT4 . The Indonesian storymap can be accessed here https://arcg.is/1Hr0Dj
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://arcg.is/1viuT4
 
Description Community workshop Sri Lanka 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Sri Lankan team organised a community focussed workshop with women of selected villages. The purpose of this workshop is to create an intergeneration dialogue about cultural memories and climate stories. They shared their environmental knowledge and traditional knowledge through story telling as well as discussing food heritage and preparing a meal together. Our co-investigator from Sri Lanka presented the research project to the group and they shared their opinions on the research as well as their understandings of hazards and climate change.
Sri Lankan traditional village culinary traditions were brought to the workshop in many ways. The buffet was arranged on a wooden platform covered by woven coconut twigs. All dishes were served in clay pots obtained from a local potter. Participants were given locally available plant-based eco plates and cups to have their breakfast, tea, and lunch. They are banana leaves, lotus leaves on small reads baskets (Pan watti) as plates, and coconut shells as cups. Traditional milk rice (kiribath) and some traditional snacks, and fruits were offered as the breakfast. Sri Lankan sweet meat Halapa made out of whole-grain finger millet (Kurakkan) comes in eco-wrapping and served with herbal tea (Belimal) and local jaggery (Hakuru) during the tea.Sixteen women participated in the workshop. The women are from the surrounding villages of Thalpotha, Sungavila, and Patunugama. They represent a group of people between the ages of 10 and 90, and are representative of the ethnic diversity in the area. The reason for selecting different age groups is primarily aimed at creating an intergenerational dialogue. There was ascertained local ecological knowledge, traditional weather-related information. They recollected their cultural memories in the form of folk songs, stories, folk dancing and music, and family histories. The cultural memories that came out during the workshop were absorbed by the other participants too.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/climate_culture/2022/02/21/remembrance-and-cultural-memory-storytelling-works...
 
Description Community workshop in South Africa 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact In February 2022 the South African team held workshops in the target community to better understand the role of food heritage and climate change knowledge. Community members came together to discuss their relationship with the land and the trauma of past events. The discussed their need for better more accessible climate information so that they can make their own livelihood decisions in the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description Culture and climate change blog site created 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact We have created a project blog site to post updates on the project and reflect on key points coming out of the research. Each team members contributes to this blog site, and we have also shared short videos.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021,2022
URL https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/climate_culture/
 
Description School engagement in Sri Lanka: climate hazard poster exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Our international co-investigator worked with geography teachers at the Vijaya Parakrama School, Kalukele, North Central Province, to run an activity with 24 school children. They learnt about the research project and design climate hazard posters which they presented at a small exhibition at the school. They used art as a medium for discussion about climate change and have continued to hold further classes on this topic.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021