In May 2006 a workshop for nineteen senior Chinese heritage professionals was held in conjunction with the China Principles project. The China Principles, a set of national guidelines that integrate conservation and management, were developed collaboratively by China's State Administration for Cultural Heritage (SACH), the GCI, and the Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH).
Recently it became clear to the project partners that training was needed to embed the China Principles among the heritage community in China. SACH, the GCI, and the DEH agreed to prepare a select group of senior professionals to teach SACH-sponsored courses on the use of the principles to heritage professionals in China. Ten courses for three hundred professionals are planned.
The May workshop began at the Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, and continued at the Mogao Grottoes near Dunhuang. The workshop examined planning, management, decision making, conservation interventions, interpretation, and a host of other issues. Presentations by Port Arthur staff, followed by group discussions, compared and contrasted the situation in China with that at Port Arthur.
At Mogao, discussions focused on the recently completed master plan and on undertakings such as the Cave 85 wall paintings conservation project of the Dunhuang Academy and the GCI. The assessment report of Shuxiang Temple—an imperial Qing architectural complex and a component of the China Principles application at Chengde—was also presented, to provide depth to discussions of conservation planning. En route to China, the workshop was further enriched during a three-day stopover in Sydney, where important heritage places—including the Rocks historic precinct, the Opera House, and Hyde Park Barracks—were visited and presented by managers and staff.
A teaching manual, written by Chinese participants, will serve as the basis for teaching in the ten courses (to begin in fall 2006), which will, it is hoped, further expand the influence and impact of the China Principles.