National College of Arts (NCA) alumni plan to conserve the historic Bhai Ram Singh building of the college. — File Photo
National College of Arts (NCA) alumni plan to conserve the historic Bhai Ram Singh building of the college. — File Photo

RAWALPINDI, March 19: The National College of Arts hosted an event on Tuesday to announce the expansion of the Unesco Chair in Conservation and Management of Historic Towns and Urban Centres to the Rawalpindi campus.

The programme will focus on a planned “Historic Potohar” project.

At a roundtable discussion after Tuesday's ceremony, NCA Director Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar said that study of the historically rich Potohar region, between Attock and Jhelum in particular, had been consistently neglected by the Pakistani government; few documents are available, and little conservation work has been done.

The aim of the planned project is to document and research the history of the area and its inhabitants.

By expanding the Unesco chair to Rawalpindi, NCA hopes to produce “a study of centuries of human interaction with the physical landscape, which has resulted in the cultures and traditions, religious and military centers, and historic towns that we see today.”

The Coordinator of NCA's Unesco Chair is Dr. Ayesha Pamela Rogers, who discussed the importance, the priorities and the scope of the project. “It's important to establish consensus on our goals” with the various experts who had been invited, she said.

“We intend to outline short- and long-term goals, and to create a core group of academics, practitioners and civil society to help us meet them.”

The scholars and experts who had been invited to the roundtable discussion shared their ideas regarding the goals and methodology of the project.

They established three initial areas of focus - the cultural landscape, historic towns, and artists and artisans - but emphasised the need to look at the proposed project as a whole, and to continue meeting and developing their plans under the Unesco chair umbrella.

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