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NCAC Trains Data Collectors on Data Collection Of Banjul’s Historic Built Heritage

By Yunus S Saliu

The National Centre for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has Thursday concluded training for a team of selected data collectors for the inventorying of Banjul’s Historic Buildings, sites, and values for an informed policy drive towards urban heritage conservation in the Banjul City Council, The Gambia.

The two-day training held at the National Museum in Banjul increased the knowledge of the data collectors on how to collect data effectively, identify, and classification of urban heritage; data management, storage, and accessibility and was funded by UNESCO in Paris through the Participation Program meant for informed policy towards urban heritage conservation and valorization into UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

During training, different areas were covered by the trainers and trainees among the topics included introduction to urban heritage; significance/importance in preserving urban heritage identification/classification of urban heritage; legal and regulatory framework; the concept of heritage, UNESCO Conventions, intangible cultural heritage, condition assessment, and risk analysis, guide on how to assess the condition of urban heritage sites, structural issues and visual inspection with risk analysis.

They also covered data management, creating a database, best practices for successful data management, documentation, and hierarchy of data.

In his presentation, Hassoum Ceesay, the Director General of the NCAC said urban heritage can be referred to as the list of heritage elements located in urban areas which includes archaeological vestiges, historical buildings, vernacular architecture, historical gardens, social practices, rituals, festive events and among others.

He described further that urban heritage can also refer to the city as heritage – a special type of cultural property that is mainly associated with neighborhoods, urban centers, and historic cities.

On the significance of preserving urban heritage, he explained that it is an essential part of preserving the cities and making them more liveable, also, “It involves the preservation of historic buildings, green spaces, and other natural features to protect a city’s unique character and culture and so on.”

Michael Campbell’s presentation was centered on condition assessment and risk analysis noting that historic structures and monuments are the most important part of the cultural heritage and human civilization and the human imperative to protect those structures for future generations.

He added that historic monumental structures that constitute a big part of historic heritage are made of masonry materials such as bricks, stones, wood, keriting, and so on.

Assessing the condition of urban heritage sites and conducting a risk analysis, he said, is a crucial step in preserving and protecting these valuable assets, while outlining a guide to help the data collector assess the condition of urban heritage sites, identify deterioration, structural issues, environmental threats, and potential risks.

On data Management, William Ronald delivered a nineteen pages PowerPoint presentation touching on the different areas that data collectors for the inventorying of Banjul’s Historic Buildings, sites will need to do the work as expected.

Sana Jarju dilated, in his presentation, on the cultural and social context surrounding urban heritage sites and the intangible cultural heritage associated with the location, while Mamat Sallah presented some photographs of structures, sites, and parks among others in each presentation.

The interactive and educative training was characterized by different group works, while different materials were provided to the trainees to enhance their study, as the trainees described the training as exceptional.

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Yunus S Saliu

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