Asia Scotland Trust 2014 –

The Asia Scotland Trust was established in 2014 with the aim of nurturing the long-standing links between Scotland and Asia.  Its primary concern was the restoration of key historic buildings in Asia and developing the appropriate skills locally to preserve and maintain them. The Commonwealth Heritage Forum now continues that aim.

The Asia Scotland Trust was re-constituted and re-launched in 2019.  While continuing the fundamental aim of promoting the joint heritage enjoyed by Scotland and Asia, AST is equally committed to building a shared future. Our mission is to engage with creative projects that leave a social, environmental and economic impact and enable people to improve their quality of life.

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First Project

Regeneration of the Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Kolkata

The AJC Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Kolkata, is one of the earliest Botanic Gardens in the world. It was founded by Robert Kyd, and from the later 18th century his fellow Scot William Roxburgh, considered the father of Indian Botany, worked there for thirty years.  Situated along the banks of the Hoogly river the 273 acres have a diversity of majestic trees and exotic plants including the renowned Great Banyan Tree, and 24 lakes. Over the past decades this once great garden has fallen into neglect and has become increasingly inaccessible as a result of urban congestion.

The aim is to regenerate the garden as a major resource for the people of Kolkata and to reinstate it as an international centre for the Botanical Sciences in Asia and the study of the environment

The Calcutta Tercentenary Trust 1990 –

Projects - Victoria Memorial Hall 1902-21 - North Facade

Victoria Memorial Hall 1902-21 – North Facade

The Calcutta Tercentenary Trust was founded in 1989 to further the conservation and understanding of India’s European heritage. The first project involved collaboration with the Victoria Memorial Hall to conserve and restore some of their finest oil paintings and works of art on paper by European artists. Since its inception over one million dollars and almost 10 laks rupees have been raised to fund a visiting team of international restorers and conservators from the UK, Europe and USA, and to fund study visits to UK museums for VMH personnel as part of the training programme.

Throughout this project it has been an equally important objective of the Calcutta Tercentenary Trust (CTT) team to share their specialist knowledge and experience, not only with a selected group of Trainee Restorers within the Victoria Memorial Hall but also with a wider audience in Calcutta.

The team has worked with the restoration and conservation staff of the Victoria Memorial to overcome the multitude of deterioration problems to which art objects are subjected, for conservation of cultural heritage cannot be taken for granted. Since 1990 eighty two oil paintings have been fully restored including treatments of cleaning, structural repair and aesthetic restoration together with many of the frames. At the same time conservators have been advising and working on the complementary collection of works of art on paper which are particularly vulnerable to degradation.

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Centre for Arts and Learning: CAL at the Victoria Memorial 2003 –

Projects - CAL sketchThe second major project of the Calcutta Tercentenary Trust (CTT) planned in collaboration with the Victoria Memorial Hall was a Centre for Arts and Learning (CAL) to be constructed beneath the tree canopy in the grounds of the VMH.

The CAL would provide facilities integral to a museum in the 21st century, such as temporary exhibition space built to international specification to receive international travelling exhibitions; a library with IT linked to appropriate international museum libraries; lecture hall; seminar rooms; bookshop; cafeteria and visitors facilities.

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Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi: Revitalisation of the Gardens 1998 – 2002

Projects - Humayun’s Tomb, DelhiConsultant to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India Participation as the art historian for this multi-disciplinary project undertaken by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture together with the Archaeological Survey of India.

My role was to assist with the excavations of the garden and hydraulic systems and provide the historical evidence available as guidance to the original form of the gardens for reinstatement.

The work was implemented by a project manager working with a garden designer

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Traditions of Respect: Britain and Islamic Cultures 1997

Projects - Traditions of RespectCurator of the flagship exhibition commissioned by the British Council for the Golden Jubilee of Pakistan opened by HM The Queen in Islamabad. Thereafter it was shown in Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi, before travelling to other capitals in the Islamic world including Bangladesh, Brunei, Yemen, Ankara.

The format was a high-tec presentation of images of works of art, back-lit on large perspex panels which could be reconfigured to suit the space available at each venue. The brochure was an abstract of the exhibition.

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Wah Gardens, Hasan Abdal, Pakistan, 1993-4

Projects - Wah Gardens

Wah Gardens, Hasan Abdal

Consultant to the British Council as advisor on the conservation of the Gardens following excavations with the Archaeological Survey of Pakistan.

The Mughal gardens at Hasan Abdal can be dated to the 1580s. Situated in a large oasis with orchards and springs whose sweet waters could supply an army of 50,000, it was a major halting-place on the route to Kashmir and the Grand Trunk Road to Peshawar, Kabul and Qandahar.

The gardens were first laid out by Raja Man Singh, with additions by Jahangir and Shah Jahan. The various phases of construction were identified, the principal tanks excavated and the contemporary plaster channels supplying the fountains by natural gravity were reinstated

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