First-year students of the Masters in Heritage Management programme at the Centre for Heritage Management completed a heritage field immersion at Ravanasamudram, Tamil Nadu, visiting nearby places like the Dohnavur Fellowship, Agasthyamalai Community Conservation Centre, Brahmadesam, and Kanyakumari. This week-long field immersion programme was an important milestone for the students of the Centre, allowing them to understand the social and economic challenges that may arise in a settlement. The students connected these experiences to the foundation courses they studied in theory. The field immersion was also an opportunity to explore their interests in heritage management and reflect on pursuing them further. Based on the field immersion, the students held a Students' Symposium on the Heritage Field Immersion, which encapsulated the learnings and experiences of their trip to the South of India. The Symposium was a blend of poster presentations, audio-visuals, and curated displays.
The field immersion focused on everyday lives in a rural context in South India, nuances of multicultural societies, local livelihoods, nature-culture linkages through agriculture and conservation activities, and the management challenges of religious institutions. To understand the ecosystem of the village, the students visited local artisans involved in activities like mat-making, tile-making, and beedi-manufacturing in Ravanasamudram. They also had the opportunity to interact with ATREE-ACCC (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & The Environment's Agasthyamalai Community-based Conservation Centre), an environmental organisation working on the conservation and restoration of the Tamiraparani river ecosystem.