Putting PPVP into practice: Conservation Training Program for indigenous communities
As a continuation of the previous weeks, this time from the implementation point of view, in this article I will review a program that was created within the PPVP called Conservation Training for Highland Villages (CTHV), which, from my point of view, is an innovation that seeks to resolve the recovery of heritage infrastructure, through a process that goes beyond the mere buildings conservation.
1. Another look.
For some years now, the intangible components of heritage have been gaining momentum in Chile, with the creation of funds and registers that highlight intangible heritage, beyond Monuments.
Even the landscape concept has even been incorporated as a living representation of territorial identity.
2. Historical problems.
The monuments safeguarding has always been a complex issue in Chile's indigenous territories, as the communities are in conflict with the government and extractive companies, often making public investment impossible. A clear case is the highlands colonial/indigenous temples, which have historically been unsuccessfully restored.
In order to solve this problem in 2018 the PPVP of Antofagasta Region devised a program to address these projects based on intangible heritage, highlighting local culture and communities as the main focus, called CTHV Program, carried out together with Altiplano Foundation, Arica Region sub-executor, who moved temporarily for this proposal.
3. Cultural innovations.
The initiative seeks to work the territory as a cultural asset composed of different layers; history, inhabitants and landscape. To address this, practical workshops were designed, selected by the communities, which seek to transfer skills to obtain tangible results applied to projects at the end of the process.
These included a practical and online workshop school on: temples, ruins and façades on-site restoration, architectural designs, historical objects conservation, etc. In addition, cultural festivals, seminars, study trips and the creation of the regional sub-executing unit were incorporated.
In the 15 months of the program's implementation, it is expected that monuments and heritage sites will be intervened, new projects will be created, trust will be repaired and historical conflicts will be resolved.
4. Challenges and hopes.
One of the main challenges for its creation was to regain trust with communities. To do so required 2 years of continuous work, gathering needs and co-creating this model.
Another challenge was the political approval of Regional Councillors, who doubted the possibility of engaging communities to participate and gain their support, who almost did not approve the initiative. Also, the Central Government took about a year to provide the resources, as it did not see how a training process would be useful for monuments restoration, which was able to start in January 2021.
In spite of this, 4 month after the beginning , communities have been committed and proactive in contributing new ideas to the process, participating personally and even digitally. On the other hand, various authorities have joined in, forming a public, private, citizen and academic committee to regulate and contribute the progress.
Only time will tell if the initiative was successful, but so far the process itself has made progress that has not been possible for decades. If it continues on this path, I hope it will be a game-changing proposal for Antofagasta cultural empowerment and heritage sustainability.