Accepted paper:

Community learning centres: are these museums by another name or something different?

Author:

Nigel Chang (James Cook University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper compares the development and (current) reality of the Ban Non Wat Community Learning Centre (Thailand) and the Vilabouly Cultural Hall (Laos). Both have risen out of archaeological projects however in most other ways their contexts - and their communities - are very different.

Paper long abstract:

This paper compares the development and (current) reality of the Ban Non Wat (BNW) Community Learning Centre (Thailand) and the Vilabouly Cultural Hall (Laos). The BNW Community Learning Centre has developed out of over a decade of archaeological research in the village of Ban Non Wat - with significant participation by local residents. The relatively strong and influential local university was heavily involved in supporting the development of the centre. In contrast, the Vilabouly Cultural Hall has developed out of archaeological mitigation work supported by an international mining concern as part of it community relations efforts and in response to Lao National Heritage legislation. Further, a number of different ethnic groups and languages are represented in the local district community. While the broader contexts are very different, in both cases the emphasis is on contemporary community learning & development. However the 'displays' are very much archaeological. Is there a disjunction here? Is it a matter of the 'aims justify the means' ? Or, are we over-thinking the whole thing?

panel P05
Local/global histories: the challenge of local museums