NECTEC-NSTDA joins UNESCO in building online database on NAVANURAK for collecting and preserving creative assets for heritage conservation professionals

1 April 2022, Bangkok On the occasion of Thai Heritage Conservation Day, National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) under National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI), announced its collaboration with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in supporting the safeguarding of Thai architectural knowledge.

Through the NAVANURAK society and culture platform, NECTEC is setting up a knowledge management tool for conservators and heritage homebuilders, integrating technology and innovation to actualize the Bio-Circular-Green Model (BCG) toward creative economy development. The platform will enable specialized professionals to acquire comprehensive bodies of knowledge, to widen opportunities for adapting traditional know-how to current purposes, and to upskill Thai conservation building craftsmanship toward high-quality protection of heritage. The platform also gears toward building a guild of heritage conservation professionals nationwide.

Developed by NECTEC, NAVANURAK is a platform for management and dissemination of information on culture and biodiversity. The platform opens doors to a wide range of data and sources on art and culture, traditional wisdoms, and biodiversity, while offering spaces for organizations and the public to freely store and publicize their information. NAVANURAK contributes to the longevity of cultural data, supporting a variety of data forms and providing an Open Access data policy to maximize visitors’ abilities to learn, share, exchange and use knowledge to create new things that benefit the economy, such as conservation-based tourism, job-building, income generation, and community-led sustainable development.

NECTEC, NSTDA and UNESCO recognize that information about archaeological sites and historic buildings and towns is vital to the effective conservation and restoration of cultural heritage sites. This information is, however, still limited and scattered across different institutes and agencies, as well as stored in forms that post challenges to open access by the public. The two organizations have therefore decided to join force in implementing the project in managing and disseminating knowledge for architectural conservation professionals, with essential supported provided by SCG Foundation. This early-stage project ultimately aims to promote and safeguard knowledge on building craftsmanship to support career advancement, and to adopt technology and innovation for upgrading the quality of conservation work carried out by masons and carpenters from the initial step of site investigation forwards. The project has been launched in 2022.

Under this project, NECTEC and NSTDA will aid UNESCO by adapting the NAVANURAK platform for knowledge management appropriate to the needs of conservation professionals, and for co-organizing conservation-related competitions, such as a wooden heritage conservation project contest, a traditional carpentry contest, and so forth. These activities are expected to increase public awareness of conservation careers, as well as build wider professional capacity towards establishing Thailand’s first guild of heritage conservation artisans, which will soon be announced for membership enrollment.

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