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Cornwall Museums Partnership

GUEST BLOG: Cornwall to Karnataka ~ Cultural Civilization in Historic Hampi

Tanya Dutt is an Arts and Culture manager/consultant for creative industries.  Her fascination for cultural exchange, heritage and tribes drives her quest promoting creative practices in remote parts of the world. She has lived and worked in Japan, Italy, Cambodia, Australia and remote parts of India. She specializes in outreach and crafts & cottage industry incubation.

Her recent inspiration is the World Heritage Site of Hampi where she hopes to integrate business, creativity, heritage and environment in a sustainable future for reviving the grand and historic past of the Vijayanagar Empire. Her intent is to facilitate India’s first curriculum for Cultural Industries.

Tanya visited Cornwall as part of a research-orientated secondment. We were delighted to meet her at Cornwall Museums Partnership and she has kindly written this guest blog based on her reflections. 

The cultural living landscape is an awesome and powerful aspect of Hampi World Heritage Area – this landscape should reap economic benefit for its cultural custodians and local communities. One of the key projects in the Masterplan for Hampi would include the regeneration and adaptive reuse of historic homes, buildings and ruins in the heritage site for creative and cultural industries. So economics and cultural policy would be a crucial relationship to factor into the master plan.

Some of the challenges faced at Hampi World Heritage Area are the volume and complexity of the site’s managing stakeholders and their relationships, the scale and volume of the physical site itself, focusing on overall vision in terms of looking beyond physical development and structural infrastructure, ensuring the local community are the true beneficiaries of this site and instilling responsibility and ownership in them for their heritage resources.

As an Arts and Culture manager in India, my research in the UK was based on understanding creative and cultural regeneration projects in their diverse models, how cultural policy bolsters other economies, the gamut of partnerships built across sectors ~ corporates, trusts, city councils, art institutions, how this networking and these support systems play a role in overall economic evolution, understanding how cultural regeneration, community revitalization and creative place-making affect each other and finally the role of a community in its own cultural making and policy making.

There were several parallels found between the World Heritage Areas of Hampi and Cornwall from a vast rural operational area to having physical sites spread out, to issues of inaccessibility; below are a few key pointers to how Cornwall met its challenges head-on and turned its difficulties to its advantage. Key findings showed that without the adequate resources for local governance at ground level, even a strong devolution strategy could be crippled. Capacity building of the community is an important step towards a sustainable future. Some parts of Cornwall are dealing with lack of financial resources by generating their own income through the intelligent use of public spaces. With a very strong volunteer base, lots of sites in Cornwall are successful through the combined efforts of volunteers. Cornwall does really stand out in that the region’s head councillors and leaders of key organisations have a willingness to be supportive; their help has been invaluable in getting people and stakeholders on board for its success. This proactive approach shows their understanding of how important culture is to the economy, social welfare and overall success of the region. The council has tactfully managed the task of policing its large and remote world heritage area through local champions and cultural advocators among citizens. Certainly, the Cornish Mining World Heritage Management Team, Cornwall Council members and organizations like Cornwall 365 and Cornwall Museums Partnership have worked hard and continuously to foster this cultural pride among people.

Tanya Dutt, Arts and Culture Manager


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