Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk at the Siam Society on 22 September 2022 about the management of World Heritage sites in Thailand.
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.
Source: Cultural Heritage Management and World Heritage sites in Thailand – The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage
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