ICS Seminar Series

Event Name
ICS Seminar Series
10 October 2019
11:30 am - 01:00 pm
Parramatta South Campus

Address (Room): EZ.G.23 Parramatta campus (South), Western Sydney University


Abstract Reconstruction persists as one of the most contentious practices for built heritage, as is evident in the debates that are ongoing in Nepal, in the aftermath of the Gorkha Earthquakes in April and May 2015. Reconstruction challenges several typical conceptual descriptors for heritage, including ideas of permanence, authenticity and its characterisation as non-renewable. Multiple accounts emerging from Asian contexts suggest approaches to built heritage mirror philosophical approaches to cycles of life and death, positioning reconstruction as a valid and inevitable response to an ageing, decayed or destroyed material past. I argue that reconstruction can be framed as a heritage making practice, negotiating new values and meanings through processes of dismantling, reassembling, recreating, reconstituting, and adapting old and new forms, materials as well as technologies. My examination of the overlapping cycles of reconstruction in Nepal, specifically the Great Nepal-Bihar Earthquake (1934) and the Gorkha Earthquakes (2015), positions products, practices and practitioners of the reconstruction as arbiters between the past, present and future of built heritage. In particular, I look at reconstruction in Bhaktapur, located in the densely urbanised Kathmandu Valley, a city that has been reassembled and reconstructed multiple times over several centuries. This repeated curation of Bhaktapur’s built fabric engages with multiple temporalities, the past, present and the future simultaneously. The ongoing reconstruction today becomes heritage, new technologies get assimilated as ‘traditional’ practices while older practices are reconfigured and adapted. Thus, ongoing reconstruction is not only a reclamation of the city’s material past but of rewriting it, as a means to reconstitute Bhaktapur’s identity as a ‘heritage city’. Each wave of reconstruction has brought with it, mediations between continuity and change. I trace these mediations to describe how heritage is (re)made in Bhaktapur and what potential futures this heritage may have. Biography Vanicka Arora is a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. She is an architect by training, with a specialisation in conservation of built heritage. Vanicka has worked as an independent practitioner and consultant in India for several years and has taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses in architecture, urban design and heritage management.

Speakers: Vanicka Arora

Web page: https://www.westernsydney.edu.au/ics/events/seminars/ics_seminar_series

Name: Yinghua Yu


Phone: 0402 528 006

School / Department: Institute for Culture and Society