CollAsia 2010

Well, hell.

It’s been a whole MONTH?! 😮

CollAsia 2010 Manila hands-on labworkOkay, fine. My CollAsia 2010 International Course on Conservation of Southeast Asian Collections in Storage, under the auspices of ICCROM and SPAFA, is over. 28 brain-melting days of intense study, critical thinking, and hands-on training, not to mention challenging group discussions that turned myself and my colleagues from Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Lao PDR into a seriously colorful (and hilarious) mix of heritage professionals.

Add to that our course team, and you’re set for some amazingly enriching cultural tradeoffs: our Project Manager/Big Mama/fearless leader/barangay kapitan Katriina (who is originally from Finland, is based in Rome with ICCROM but is now more Southeast Asian than anything else, and that’s double “i”, thank you very much), Farideh (who is mainly German with Iranian descent but is based in the Netherlands), Paula and Fernanda (our wonderful Chilean colleagues) and Vinod (who is all over the place, but was born in India and has led the heritage front in Australia for a number of years).

And then you’ve got Jose Luis (the most laid-back chemist I’ve ever met, whose speech pattern insinuates itself into your brain — that Brazilian lilt is hypnotic!), Kamal (whom we’ll see again at the ICOM-CC conference in New Delhi in 2008 — we hope! Funding! Funding! Papers! Travel grants! Argh!), Aurora (Indonesia’s Ambassadress to Manila’s Baywalk, and who jumped out of the bus just to watch a religious festival procession, with a local colleague in hot pursuit to make sure she was safe — now there’s a heritage professional/social anthropologist for you! 😆 ), and Pete (my Iban smoking/bus/coffee break/mealtime/everything else partner out of Sarawak, who is at this very moment getting totally plastered during the first big day of their local festival for which he had to leave Manila early; cheers, and ku cinta pada mu. 🙂 ).

CollAsia 2010 Manila participants doing risk assessment exercises

It’s over, and some of the group have said goodbye. Our Thai contingent — Naiyana, Wiset and Saneh — were the first to leave, and they didn’t make it to the final graduation ceremony, but had their own little one with Katriina early yesterday; Pete and Farideh took a cab to the airport together (and missed a fantastic lunch — I felt so bad, we had chicken satay, and Pete loves satay), and the rest (Devi and Zu from Singapore left at 4:30 this morning, and I owe them my wire bangles — DHL is my friend…) are leaving today.

It was a riot, and a life-changing adventure. It wasn’t easy, but I’m a better professional for it. We invaded other institutions and exchanged ideas on museum practice. I made friends from all over the region, and that’s one of the most valuable things I took away from CollAsia 2010. Not only did we form a very strong addition to the network of heritage professionals and CollAsia alumni, we built relationships that cross borders, cultures, and which can only benefit us as people.

I miss ’em already, but the real work begins, here and now.

So much must still be done for my own collection, to start with, and keeping the network alive is going to be a vital step in raising Southeast Asia’s visibility on the heritage front. Aurora is giving me the details for the CollAsia online discussion list, and I have to see her before she leaves today to get the information, and download all of everyone’s pictures. I’ll post as I get them; all I have now are the ones from Pete.

I have to end this post! Argh! I have to catch the rest of the group before they leave! I’ll go into more detail about what happened during CollAsia 2010 Manila soon, but for now jumpa lagi! 😀



  1. Jill said,

    Friday, June 2, 2006 at 10:52 am


    That’s so cool.

  2. miranoriel said,

    Friday, June 2, 2006 at 10:59 am

    Heya, sweetie. *hugs The Jilliness to little bits and pieces* 😀

    Yep, I do believe I am.

  3. Shepherd said,

    Saturday, June 3, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    I'm glad you had a great time. You deserve it. You were missed at IOK and DT.

    Nothing better than an exchange of ideas. I wish my industry would do this. Even when we try, the competition aspect makes it quite guarded.

    Welcome back lady. This blog had been quiet without you.

    (But that's the whole point of a Blog right? Walter you dumbass!)

  4. miranoriel said,

    Sunday, June 4, 2006 at 10:20 pm

    ROFLMAO, Shepherd! 😆

    Thanks, sugar bear. I know exactly what you mean about competition bogging down efforts to push a field forward, and it happens everywhere. Some folken just think they always need to be ahead of others, and don’t care about giving everyone a break.

    However, in my field, it really is critical to work together. Institutions that don’t work together, those that choose to isolate and fly solo, will fall. The main reason being that heritage is literally everyone’s responsibility, and everyone’s property.

    This merits a blog entry all its own; thanks, Shepherd (you need to learn to quit while you’re ahead; you KNOW that once you get me started on this stuff, you’re gonna get your ear talked off 😀 ).

  5. shepherd said,

    Friday, June 9, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Then I shall pick up said ear and ask for more.

  6. Shepherd said,

    Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 8:53 pm

    Have you been kidnapped?

  7. ricky said,

    Thursday, March 29, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    When the course is over, and you are the one left behind, there is just so much to cope with and so many emotions to sort out… then life goes on, eventually.

    I think I have an inkling of the things you wrote on this entry… I attended the course in Hanoi, Vietnam for about forty days… the friendships and emotional entanglements we make, the lessons we learn, the laughter and confusion… and the only-the-essentials “english” we use to communicate our ideas to the community of museum workers from Southeast Asia and the other parts of the world… the feeling that the world is actually getting “smaller”… I have gone through all of these too in the course.

    What you say about working together is true to a certain degree… I agree…Although you have built quite a lot for your museum already, and you have made a supporter out of me… but in the myriad things we need to do for each day, we also need to really invest time and skill in reaching out, planning together, and making things work.. it is not enough to wish or to hope.

    I wish you well, Mira. I hope to see you soon.

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