This year we worked with the British Council and the Meridian Society to develop a touring exhibition called ‘Urban Heritage Conservation in China’ about the Ruan Yisan Heritage Foundation’s work in and around Shanghai, and a series of visits to UK heritage institutions for their delegation of Chinese local government officers. The programme also included a number of lectures by Professor Ruan, including one at RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects in London, called ‘Shanghai: Impossible City’ which helped raise the organisation’s profile and spread the word about RYHF’s aims.
A year later, after much consultation and discussion, REMPART and RYHF (who had met at the Dublin Conference) organised the first volunteer conservation workcamp in China! The French team, which also included an English student, worked alongside Chinese counterparts on the restoration of a temple site in the village of Liangcun, near the World Heritage City of Pingyao in central Shanxi province, around 500 miles southwest of Beijing. It was a huge success and the INTO team were proud to have played a small part in helping this to happen.
In 2012, with support from the British Council, Catherine Leonard and Julie Thompson from the INTO Secretariat had the good fortune to spend time with the RYHF and REMPART in China to see at first hand the progress that had been made at Liangcun and to check out other working holiday locations. They also participated in the UK Now Festival at the Shanghai Water Towns. (Catherine’s report can be downloaded here.)
Later that year, we were delighted to launch our own, INTO workcamp with funding from the British Council, based on the REMPART principles and hosted by the RYHF in the ancient Water Town of Tongli. It was super that a National Trust apprentice joiner, Callum McCaffrey, was able to be part of the team which consisted of 8 British and 8 Chinese volunteers. (Read his blog here.)