Neel Kamal Chapagain
Professor, Centre for Heritage Management
PhD (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee)
Research Interests: Heritage Discourses, Community Engagement, Participatory Processes, Heritage Education, Heritage Values and Authenticity, Ethnographic Approach in Heritage Research, Vernacular Architecture.
Neel Kamal Chapagain joined Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad University in 2013 to develop the Master in Heritage Management programme, which eventually was launched in 2015. Along with his continuous role as a key faculty in the programme, he has been leading the Centre as its Director since 2017. Prior to joining Ahmedabad University, he taught at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (USA) as full-time teaching faculty and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as a Doctoral Teaching Assistant. His professional journey spans Nepal, Bhutan, India, and the United States. He has co-edited a book titled Asian Heritage Management: Contexts, Concerns and Prospects (Routledge, 2013). He also coordinates a publication series from Nepal titled Reflections on the Built Environment and Associated Practices, of which the first volume was published in 2013, the second volume in 2016, and the third volume in 2019. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Heritage Management - second academic milestone of the Centre for Heritage Management following the launch of the Master's programme, and has also been the conference chair for the series of International Conference on Heritage Management Education & Practice at Ahmedabad University. He is UNESCO accredited global facilitator for the 2003 convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage. He currently leads the Secretariat for the Asia Pacific Higher Education Network for Intangible Cultural Heritage (APHEN-ICH), in which he served as a bureau member since its establishment in 2018 until 2022. He is also an executive committee member in the Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM). He served in the executive board of the Association for Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) for 2020-2022 term.
Earlier, he was a Visiting Fellow at the UNESCO Category 2 Centre on World Natural Heritage Management and Training at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun; a fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, and advisor to the Master of Science in Heritage Management at Wildlife Institute of India. He obtained his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (USA), where his dissertation focused on rethinking cultural heritage conservation at traditional settlements. He also has an Architecture Doctorate and Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (USA), a professional conservation course at ICCROM in Italy, and Bachelor of Architecture from Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.
Heritage Dilemma in the evolving policy landscapes of Upper Mustang, Nepal: ongoing research
Contextual Learning as a pedagogy for heritage education (This has been an ongoing research and passion, which has appeared as papers and presentations at a few seminars organised by UNESCO and ICHCAP)
Rights-based approach to heritage management (a member of ICOMOS International Working Group on 'Our Common Dignity - RIghts-based Approach' since 2020).
Nature-Culture Linkages in Heritage Discourses and Holistics Heritage Management Practices (as a part of Visiting Fellow at the UNESCO C2C on World Natural Heritage Management and Training for the Asia Pacific Region)
Critical Review of the World Heritage Nomination Processes
Heritage Management Education as a strategic tool for Sustainable Development (in the context of Post-2015 SDG agenda - Education for Sustainable Development of the United Nations); a preliminary draft paper presented at the International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development: Transforming youth and children', Centre for Environmental Educaiton, Ahmedabad, September 2016
Policy Framework for Emergency Response in Post-disaster situations: a review of policies and initiatives in Post-2015 earthquake in Nepal (preliminary research conducted through faculty development grant, Ahmedabad University)
‘Towards a Framework for Analyzing the Applicability and Adaptability of Traditional Knowledge Systems (as well as the Modern Knowledge Systems) in Heritage Management in Asia’; first draft presented at the ICCROM-CHA Forum on ‘Applicability and Adaptability of Traditional Knowledge Systems in Heritage Management in Asia', Bangkok, Thailand; (December 2015), and published in an ICCROM publication (2020).
2019 Reflections on the Built Environment and Associated practices, volume 3: Revisiting the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes: Resilience, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, (with Subik Kumar Shrestha, Sangeeta Singh and Kishan Datta Bhatta), published by MSESSD Programme, Department of Architecture & Urban Planning, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
2016 Best Practices in Cultural Heritage Management, co-edited with Julio Grijalba, Alberto Grijalba and P.K.V. Nair; Ahmedabad University and University of Valladolid. ISBN: 9788484488903, 848448890X
2016 Reflections on the Built Environment and Associated practices (Vol. 2), compiled by Neel Kamal Chapagain, with editorial assistance from Subik Kumar Shrestha and Kishan Datta Bhatta; Department of Architecture, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University (Nepal);
2014 Reflections on the Built Environment and Associated Practices: Essays in Honor of Professor Sudarshan Raj Tiwari (compiled by Neel Kamal Chapagain); Department of Architecture, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University (Nepal);
2013 Asian Heritage Management: Contexts, Concerns and Prospects; co-edited with Kapila D. Silva; Routledge, New York and London.
2022 Heritage Tourism and Sustainable Development: Prospects for a Cultural Landscapes Framework (with Jharna Joshi), in Gyan P. Nyaupane and Dallen J. Timothy (eds); Tourism and Sustainable Development in the Himalayas: Social, Environmental, and Economic Encounters, (pp. 286-307). Routledge:
2020 Towards a framework for analysing the Applicability and Adaptability of Traditional Knowledge Systems in Heritage Management: case studies from Nepal; ICCROM Publication on the Asian Heritage Forum on Traditional Knowledge Systems (2015) ISBN 978-92-9077-286-6
2019 A Review of Policies on Preparedness, Response, and Recovery for Pre and Post-2015 Earthquakes in Nepal: Implications for The Built Heritage (in Reflections on the Built Environment and Associated Practices: Revisiting 2015 Nepal Earthquakes: Resilience, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction) (edited by Neel Kamal Chapagain, Subik Kumar Shrestha, Sangeeta Singh and Kishan Datta Bhatta); Department of Architecture, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University (Nepal). Pp 28-44. ISBN: 978-9937-0-5302-0
2018 Chapagain, N.K. and Sudarshan Raj Tiwari; Challenges to the Notion of Authenticity in the Context of Temples in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal; in Revisiting Authenticity in the Asian Context, ICCROM, (ISBN: 9789290772835) pp. 133-139.
2018 Chapagain, N.K.; Embedding ICH and Knowledge Systems in Heritage Management Education: Towards an Integrated Approach; In the Proceedings of International Forum on Tertiary Education for ICH Safeguarding; ICHCAP and UNESCO Bangkok Office.
2018 Chapagain, N.K.; “TBI Nepal Initiative: Personal reflections on a post-earthquake volunteer movement concerning the traditional settlements”; in The Cultural Heritage of Nepal, before, during and after the 2015 Earthquakes – Current and Future Challenges, Oriental Cultural Heritage Sites Protection Alliance, Vajra Books, Kathmandu; pp 64-77 (ISBN: 978-9937-0-3203-2)
2017 Perceptions and Management of Heritage in Buddhist Context: Observations from Nepal; in ‘Asian Buddhist Heritage: Conserving the Sacred’, ICCROM
2016 Blurring boundaries and moving beyond the tangible/intangible and the natural/cultural classifications of heritage: Cases from Nepal; in Amita Sinha and Kapila D. Silva eds – Cultural landscapes of South Asia: Studies in heritage conservation and management; (Routledge, London and New York).
2014 World Heritage in Nepal: Critical Reflections on Lomanthang's Potential Nomination (in Reflections on the Built Environment and Associated Practices: Essays in Honor of Professor Sudarshan Raj Tiwari (compiled by Neel Kamal Chapagain); Department of Architecture, Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University (Nepal);
2013 Introduction – Contexts and concerns in managing Asian heritage, and Chapter 2: Heritage conservation in Buddhist context (in Asian Heritage Management: Contexts, Concerns and Prospects, co-edited with Kapila D. Silva; Routledge, New York and London.)
2022 Pedagogy for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Pandemic Times: Reflections from an International Workshop during Covid-19 (with Bharvi Chheda). Journal of Heritage Management, 7(2), 133-148.
2020 Intangible Cultural Heritage in Architecture and Urban Planning; in Pravovedenie 64 (1): 35–46. https://doi.org/10.21638/spbu25.2020.103.
2020 Public Archaeology in Nepal: Now and in the next 10 years. AP Online Journal in Public Archaeology 10: pp73-74. March 2021 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.23914/ap.v10i0
2020 Contextual Education: Rethinking education for Nepal in the wake of COVID-19 crisis, Applied Science and Technology Annals. Vol.1, No.1(2020); 98-111 ISSN: 2717-5014 (Print). Available online at www.recast.tu.edu.np (DoI: https://doi.org/10.3126/asta.v1i1.30281)
2019 Contextual Learning: Exploring Multi-Level Pedagogy for ICH Education and ICH-based Education; in the Proceedings of International Seminar on ICH Pedagogy for Higher Education, ICHCAP, pp. 25-37
2019 South Asian approaches to heritage and conservation; Conversaciones... con Ananda Coomaraswamy, Number 6, December 2018. ISSN: 2395-9479 (for the digital version) (pages 197-204).
2017 Bio-Cultural Landscapes: The Case of Kutch; Special edition of Context – Built, Living and Natural (released during the ICOMOS GA); pp 153 - 159.
2017 Upper Mustang: A Cultural Landscape Framework; Special edition of Context – Built, Living and Natural (released during the ICOMOS GA;, pp 37-44.
2017 Inscription of the Old City of Ahmedabad in the World Heritage List: Observations on the 41st Session of World Heritage Committee Meeting; Journal of Heritage Management, Vol 2, Issue 1; pp 89 - 93.
2016 Contextual Approach to the Question of Authenticity in Heritage Management and Tourism, Journal of Heritage Management, Vol 1, Issue 2, pp. 160 - 169
2014 Traditions, materiality and community engagements with heritage: Re-thinking authenticity in living heritage sites in Nepal; in Revisiting Kathmandu: Safeguarding Living Urban Heritage, proceedings of an International Symposium, UNESCO Kathmandu and ICOMOS Nepal
2012 Hindu Temple of Wisconsin: (Re)designing of temple and (re)defining traditions; Journal of the Constructed Environment; Common Ground Publishing
2012 Rethinking participatory process in Heritage Conservation: Situating Professionals in the Process; Journal of Science and Engineering, Bhaktapur, NEPAL
2008 Towards Rethinking Conservation For Traditional And Vernacular Architecture; in Responsibilities & opportunities in architectural conservation: Theory, education, and practice: the fifth International Confernce of the Center for the Study of Architecture in the Arab Region (CSAAR 2008B) edited by Elwazani, S. A., Malhis, S., & Al-Qawasmi, J. (2008). [Amman]: CSAAR Press
2008 Heritage Conservation in Nepal: Stakeholders, Policies and Challenges; Himalayan Journal of Democracy and Development; Vol. 3 No. 1. New Mexico, USA.
2008 Louis Kahn’s Forgotten Project in Kathmandu: A Comparative Study of the context for Family Planning Center Project in Kathmandu with other two projects in South Asia; VAASTU, vol. 10, Kathmandu, Nepal
2007 Revisiting Conservation Charters in context of Lomanthang, Nepal: need to acknowledge local inhabitants and changing contexts; City and Time, 3 5. http://www.ceci-br.org/novo/revista/docs2008/CT-2008-107.pdf
2002 Lomanthang Town Wall: A Living Monument Awaiting Conservation; Ancient Nepal – Journal of the Department of Archaeology, Nepal Government; No. 149; Kathmandu, March 2002; 1-6
2002 A five storied cave system at Chhosar, Upper Mustang; Nepalese Designers’ Building Plans’ Vol. 4, Kantipur Consult Pvt. Ltd
2001 Architectural Regionalism: A Case of Lo (Upper Mustang); Vaastu – journal of the Association of Students of Architecture, Nepal; Vol. 3; Kathmandu, 41-43
2019 Book review: From Archaeology to Heritage Studies: Reflections from the American Experience. Journal of Heritage Management, 4(1), 103–109. https://doi.org/10.1177/2455929619852862
2010 The Venice Charter (1964/65) Revisited: INTBAU Venice Declaration (2006/07), Monument Conservation in Nepal: Saphalya Amatya’s Experience with the World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu Valley in Conservation South Asia, a newsletter of South Asian Network of Young Conservation Professionals (SANEYOCOP) (available at https://www.scribd.com/document/30720700/Conservation-South-Asia-SANEYOCOP-Newsletter-April-2010)
Ahmedabad University Regular Teaching
Current Courses in Masters in Heritage Management:
HRT 511: Heritage Discourses and Frameworks
HRT 571: Indigenous Knowledge Systems Management (with Sushma Iyengar)
HRT 612: Ethics and Professional Practice in Heritage Management
Previously offered courses (not offering now):
Introduction to Heritage Management (Undegraduate elective course: ran two years for BBA and B.Com students)
HRT624: Global Heritage Frameworks
HRTG 512: Heritage Management Seminar (For Masters students)
HRTG 521: Monuments and Heritage Sites Management
HRG 501: Practicum Seminar
HRTG 503: Heritage Management Workshop
HRTG 601: Heritage Management Thesis Seminar
HRTG 611: Heritage Management Advanced Studies
Beyond Ahmedabad University
2021: Global Instructor, UNESCO MOOC course on Living Heritage (UNESCO HQ, Paris)
2020-21: Sustainable Heritage Management Foundation Course (UNESCO Bangkok office, online module collaborated with four other universities in the region)
2020-Present: Doctoral Committee Member (Pandit Dindayal Petroleum University)
2017-2021: Doctoral Committee Member (Faculty of Architecture, CEPT University)
2016-17: Thesis Guide (Masters in Architecture, Specialization in Conservation), CEPT University
2015: Thesis Guide (Masters in Monumental Heritage), University of Anhalt, Germany
2015: Visiting Faculty, CEPT University, Department of Architecture & Urban Planning (offered an Independent Studies Course for a Doctoral Student)
2013: Faculty for International Course on Asian Architectural Heritage, Nara, Japan. 1 month course organized by ACCU (Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan) and ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of Preservation of Cultural Property).
2022 - Present: Head or Lead Person for the Secretariat for the Asia Pacific Higher Education Network for Intangible Cultural Heritage (APHEN-ICH)
2022 - Present: Advisor, ICH Courier (a periodic publication of Intangible Cultural Heritage published by ICHCAP): https://ichcourier.unesco-ichcap.org/
2019 - Present: Executive Board Member, Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM)
2020 - 2022: Executive Board Member; Association of Critical Heitage Studies (ACHS)
2018 - 2022: Bureau Member, Asia Pacific Higher Education Network for Intangible Cultural Heritage (APHEN-ICH)
2017: ICOMOS International General Assembly, Coordinator for the South Asian Symposium
2016: World Archaeological Congress: International Scientific Committee Member for WAC – 8 in Japan
2016: Co-chair (with Prof. Claire Smith), the theme of ‘(Heritage/Archaeology) Education: Learning and Unlearning
2016: Ongoing Journal of Heritage Management, Editorial Board Member, Centre for Heritage Management, Ahmedabad University & SAGE Publications
2016: International Symposium on Heritage and Tourism: Exploring Issues and Opportunities for Post-Disaster Rehabilitation, Kathmandu, April 2016, organized by ICOMOS Nepal in collaboration with UNESCO Kathmandu Office; Chair of the Scientific Committee, and key facilitator for the technical sessions and concluding discussions.
2016: Workshop Series on Post-Earthquake Recovery of Cultural Heritage in Nepal, Organized jointly by ICCROM, Department of Archaeology (Nepal Government), Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment, Retsumeikan University Institute of Disaster Mitigation of Cultural Heritage, UNESCO Kathmandu Office, ICOMOS Nepal
Interlinking the tangible and intangible including memories in Heritage Interpretation, a part of 2022 webinar series on ‘Bridging the Gap: 50 years of World Heritage Convention’, organized by UNESCO Category 2 Centre for the World Heritage Interpretation and Presentation (WHIPIC), available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tgqEQpevIE
Competence Competence-based Academic Learning Outcomes and Assessment; in Annual Symposium of the Asian Academy of Heritage Management (AAHM, supported by UNESCO and ICCROM), 3 July 2022, online.
Relevance of Cultural Landscapes and Historic Urban Landscapes Approaches to the Walled Settlement of Lomanthang, Nepal; in International Symposium on Historic Cities and Architectural Heritage in the Trans-Himalayan Region; organised by Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou, China; 4 June 2022 (online)
Thinking through nuances in decolonizing heritage, opening lecture for the ‘Heritage as Placemaking: The Politics of Solidarity and Erasure in South Asia,’ a trans-regional research project between Social Science Baha, South Asian University (Delhi), SOAS University of London, and University of Heidelberg (Germany), December 13, 2021
Heritage Discourses and Challenges/Responsibilities; opening lecture for the Faculty Development Programme on “Protection and Management of Indian Heritage Assets: Key Aspects and Challenges”, Organized by Mizoram University, 8-12 November 2021
Tangible ‘Intangibles’ and Intangible ‘Tangibles: Understanding the nuances of heritage in managing historic towns; keynote address for an e-symposium on INTANGIBLE CULTURAL HERITAGE for sustainable management of HISTORIC TOWNS in South Asia: Theory to Practice; organized by ICOMOS India; 19 June 2021
Principles of Heritage and Nature Interpretation: Implications for Architectural Design’; Invited talk at ZOOTOPIA 2021: a national-level open design competition for designing a zoo interpretation centre in India; organized by the Central Zoo Authority, 22 May 2021. (online)
Competence based learning, curriculum development and way forward; in an online symposium on UNESCO Heritage Awards: towards new competencies in cultural heritage management, organized by the Hongkong Institute of Conservation Architects and UNESCO Bangkok, 12 April 2021
Working Towards Heritage Sensitive Marketing and IP Protection; in an online symposium on Community Heritage, Marketeing and Intellectual Property Protection – Heritage Sensitive Marketing and IP Protection Approahces for Traditional Artists, organized by the Banglanatak dot com, Conventry University, and the British Academy, 1 February 2021
Intersections between the discourses of Conservation and Development: Pedagogical Implications for Heritage Management Education; Seminar on Conservation and Local Development, Aga Khan Trust for Culture and CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India (12 October 2019)
Invited Guest Lectures/Resource Person
Inaugural Lecture: Architecture and Sustainable Development; Inaugural session for new programme ‘Bachelors in Architecture’ at Madan Bhandari Memorial Academy Nepal, 28 April 2021
Guest Lecture: Nature of Cultural Heritage and Culture of Natural Heritage: Reflections on Nature-Culture Linkages; for Bachelors of Tourism and Heritage Management, Institute of Tourism Studies (IFT), Macao; 4 March 2021
Dec 2022 Ruptures and Disruptions as Innovative Turns: Interpreting Changes
and Anticipating Possibilities in Built Environment in and around the Walled Settlement of Lomanthang, Nepal'; at the 2022 Conference of the International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE 2022), National University of Singapore, 14-17 December 2022
July 2022 Social Responsibility in Heritage Management Education: A Case from South Asia, in the 9th World Archaeological Congress, Prague, (presented online in the session Politics and Ethics of the Heritage Archaeology, congress dates 3-8 July 2022)
August 2020 Future of Heritage Education: An Exploration into Possible Pedagogical Strategies, in the ACHS Heritage Futures: 5th Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, University College London, held virtually.
May 2020 COVID19: Rethinking intangible cultural heritage in the context of architecture and urban planning, in the virtual Conference on ‘UNESCO and Cultural Heritage, organized by Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education “Saint-Petersburg State University”; 18 May 2020
Dec 2017 ICOMOS GA 2017 Scientific Symposium: Engaging Diverse Professionals into Heritage Management: An Approach of Diversifying Community of Professionals through an Academic Programme; New Delhi, India
Sep 2016 International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development: ESD for transforming education for children and youth; Centre for Environmental Education, Ahmedabad, India; Heritage Management Education for Sustainable Development: Reflections on the pedagogy of the Masters Degree Programme in Heritage Management at Ahmedabad University
May 2014 Heritage and Healthy Societies International Conference, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA
May 2014 Heritage Discourses And The Aspirations For A Better Everyday Life: Observations On 'missed Opportunities' And 'Promising Initiatives' in Upper Mustang, Nepal
Nov 2013 Revisiting Kathmandu: Safeguarding Living Urban Heritage, an International Symposium organized by ICOMOS Nepal, UNESCO Kathmandu, Department of Archaeology of Nepal Government along with World Heritage Sites Management Offices of the Municipalities in Kathmandu valley;
Coordinated and presented in the session on 'Authenticity'
'Rethinking authenticity in living heritage contexts of Nepal'.
Jan 2013 7th World Archaeological Congress (WAC7), Dead Sea, Jordan
“The past is living in the present: Towards a living heritage approach”
“Continuing traditions, decaying material form: challenging the material authenticity in religious sites in Nepal”
“Revisiting the notion of participation in heritage conservation: towards re-situating the professionals in the participatory process”
Sept 2012 “Himalayan heritage conservation: Need of a holistic approach incorporating natural and cultural heritage”; 2nd Annual Conference of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
May 2012 “Emerging Dynamics of Heritage Appreciation and Conservation in the Digital Age: Some Observations in Context of Upper Mustang, Nepal”; International Conference: High Tech Heritage: How Are Digital Technologies Changing Our Views of the Past?; University of Massachusetts-Amherst, USA
Oct 2011 “Hindu Temple of Wisconsin: (Re)designing of temple and (re)defining traditions”; Second International Conference on Constructed Environment, Chicago ,USA
May 2011 “Contexts for Intangible Cultural Heritage”, Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) 42nd Annual Conference; Chicago, USA
Oct 2010 “The road to Lomanthang: Opportunities for Conservation of historic settlement”, 39th Annual South Asia Conference, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Dec 2009 “The question of authenticity in heritage conservation and tourism”, the 2nd Asian Academy for Heritage Management Conference, Macao, China S.A.R
Feb 2009 “Examining the notion of participation in Urban Conservation: Implications for (South) Asian Cities”, the 7th Modern Asian Architecture Network International Conference, New Delhi, India
Oct 2008 “Heritage Conservation in Nepal: Policies, Stakeholders and Challenges”, the 3rd Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Nov 2007 “Revisiting Conservation Charters in context of Lomanthang, Nepal: Need to Acknowledge Local Inhabitants and Changing Contexts”, the 5th International Seminar on Urban Conservation, Centre for Advanced Studies in Integrated Conservation, Federal University of Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil
Jun 2005 “Asian Mega Projects: Context for Historic Preservation Movement”, Asian Mega Projects: International Seminar on Asia Pacific Architecture, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
May 2005 “Issues of Conservation of Earthen Architecture in the Himalayas”, International Conference on the Conservation of Earthen Structures in Seismic Region,Catholic University of Peru, Lima, Peru
Oct 2004 “Community Participation in Heritage Preservation: A Case Study from Nepal”, Conference on South Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Oct 2002 “Walled Settlement of Lomanthang: Challenges and Opportunities of Conservation and Tourism”, Heritage Conservation and Architecture of Tourism: First South Asian Architects’ Regional Conference; South Asian Architects’ Regional Council, Kathmandu, Nepal