Directors' Retreat 2004: Melbourne, Australia

The Getty Conservation Institute held its second Directors' Retreat for the Advancement of Conservation Education in partnership with the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation (CCMC), University of Melbourne on July 20-22, 2004 at Trinity College on the University of Melbourne campus. The retreat program focused on conservation education in the Asia-Pacific region and was developed by CCMC and the GCI in consultation with the Heritage Conservation Centre of Singapore. Twenty-five participants attended, representing thirteen countries: Australia, East Timor, Hong Kong (China), Laos, Macau, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, United States and Vanuatu.

The objectives of the Melbourne Retreat were:

  • to define the current state of conservation education in the Asia-Pacific region, and to identify resources, trends, and other factors influencing conservation in the region;
  • to establish priority areas for further development and advancement;
  • to explore how conservation education could be strengthened through enhanced collaborative effort across the region.

Using these objectives as a guide, the retreat program was organized into three main sessions, each designed to focus on a specific objective and outcome. Each session involved facilitated discussions and team-building exercises, designed to elicit creative thinking and discourse by participants representing a wide range of cultural and geographic backgrounds. Through this process, participants were able to learn from each other's challenges and successes and to define priorities for conservation education across the broader region. Priorities identified included: increasing governmental recognition; drawing upon local expertise; improving access to resources; fostering collaboration; and working towards achieving sustainability of regional conservation efforts.

Three days of intense and lively discussion brought out both differences and commonalities amongst the participants. It was noted that while some have well-developed programs and facilities others operate with extremely limited resources that nonetheless have not hindered significant contributions to cultural heritage conservation and education. Participants observed how similar were the concerns of participants from neighboring countries, regardless of resources. This and other commonalities that came to the fore during the retreat served to enhance the camaraderie and sense of common purpose among participants.

The Melbourne Retreat program was developed by:

in conjunction with the facilitators:

  • Kwok Kian Woon, Associate Professor and Head, Division of Sociology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Keith Ryall, Principal Consultant, Addesse, Australia.