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The Issue: In the last two decades, Mumbai has witnessed a steady rise in awareness towards its cultural and built heritage. Numerous local government bodies, non- governmental organizations and private entities like building owners, site managers, etc started initiating conservation works. However, these projects were often found to be cosmetic as the organizations failed to take into account the role played by factors such as authenticity, historic background, location and setting in the conservation of heritage structures and sites. Many of the restoration/renovation works undertaken by various agencies and local bodies evidenced a lack of exposure to conservation skills required to deal with heritage properties. Moreover, the general perception of built heritage as more of a liability rather than an asset, amongst owners of heritage graded properties brought to the fore a dire need to augment their understanding of the benefits of conservation and involvement in the restoration processes as well as the need for discussion on incentives for the care of heritage properties. The Built Heritage Studies and Conservation Modular Course: As an endeavour to address this issue, three premier organizations in the city, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Heritage Conservation Society (MMR- HCS), the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS Museum) and Sir J.J. College of Architecture came together to jointly institute a certificate course in Built Heritage Studies and Conservation. This is a modular programme to allow in- service personell, engineers and others from Government organizations to attend particular sections of the course. The MMR- HCS was set up by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority with the primary aim to initiate, encourage, and support individuals and institutes to undertake research, documentation and implementation projects in heritage conservation and management. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS Museum) is one of the leading cultural institutions in the country having a state of the art materials conservation, training and research centre. Sir J.J. College of Architecture is the oldest institute in the country, imparting architectural education. This tripartite collaboration has brought together the diverse strengths of these three institutes to combine technical expertise and experience with up to date infrastructure, to create a unique training delivery platform for built heritage conservation. The Capacity Development Programme in Built Heritage Studies and Conservation will invite contractors, artisans, construction workers who are engaged with conservation, persons with experience of heritage conservation works, senior students or internship candidates of Architecture, Planning, Civil and Structural Engineering who demonstrate a strong desire to work in the field of conservation and conservation enthusiasts. The course is structured into six modules, dealing with the following: Module I: Approaches to Built Heritage Conservation and Damage Mapping Module II: Materials Conservation I (Lime Plaster, Stucco, Stone and Concrete) Module III: Structural Conservation, Retrofit and Maintenance Module IV: Conservation Project Management Module V: Materials Conservation II (Timber, Metals, Glass, Brick, Terracotta, Ceramic Tiles and Mosaics) Module VI: Urban Conservation and Enabling Environment. Each module will be of a five day (40 hours) duration and will be conducted by a module coordinator with a designated team of experts and resource persons. Each module will have dedicated course material and elaborate reference archives. The six modules will be distributed throughout the year, from August to April, at regular intervals. Participants will be given participation certificates for attending individual modules. A diploma will be jointly awarded by the MMR-HCS, the CSMVS and Sir J.J. College of Architecture to participants who successfully complete all six modules. Diploma applicants have to submit written assignments at the end of each module. They are also required to successfully complete a written examination at the end of all six modules to be eligible for the diploma. The mobilization of experts from all over India and the in-house expertise of each of the three institutions will help create a forum for exchange of ideas and comprehensive discussions on various issues related to conservation of built heritage.
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