What-Why-How-What If


When I was applying this major as my postgraduate programme last year, I presented my concerns about the conservation of Chinese ethnic group cultures in my study proposal. And after the study of unit 1 by this course, I learnt if I want to do a great research for my master or long-term project, the first step is I need to narrow down my interest into a more specific question as a good start. Considering the cultural heritage area I’m interested about is involved enormous objects, I would like to pick up textile art area first and address the question as ‘HOW ZHA RAN(A traditional tie-dye textile art form) CAN EARN MORE POPULARITY AMOUNG YOUNG GENERATION IN MODERN AGE ’


Along with the industrialization of textile production and fast urbanization development around the world, the old traditional skills are facing the worst threat or even started disappearing in our daily life. Besides, the cultural preservation is increasingly a topic of the international issue which governments, organizations and individuals paid more attention to. And personally, from the 6 years’ experience as a journalist, I noticed many precious cultural traditional heritages we have for generations are facing tremendous difficulties to survive.  Therefore, I would like to devote myself for this research project and see if I could make any progress for the sustainable development of traditional textile art.


I had done the mind map and I’m planning to use secondary research as the key to open the world about Zha Ran and approach the information base such as what’s the situation of the inheritance in Zha Ran skill, what’s the possibility of traditional Zha Ran development, how traditional textile art embrace the modern world attention and etc. Then I will use interviews based on my secondary research to reach out potential stakeholders to talk about potential chances of Zha Ran popularity development. Based on this process and feedbacks, I would like to organize some possible modules to present some ideas and make further testify and progress. In addition, the field research will also play an important role along with this project to receive real outcomes and improvements.  

What if

I’m planning to use this project to arouse people’s attention to rethink about the traditional textile art which we are neglecting these days. I would like to build up a platform to present the beauty of Zha Ran in a modern way and gain more popularity of this traditional textile art around the world. And I see this project as a long-term and sustainable project which I will keep making efforts to make progress. At the end of the course, I hope I can gather some certain number of stakeholders on board as a team to work on this project continuously after and bring positive changes for the traditional textile art forms.

A Proposed Reading List

1.Securing the past : conservation in art, architecture and literature /

Eggert, Paul

2.Digital applications for cultural and heritage institutions /

3.The future of the past: how the information age threatens to destroy our cultural heritage / Stille, Alexander

4. Heritage: critical approaches / Harrison, Rodney,

5. Made to Stick / Chip and Dan Heath

6. Comparing Research about the Beauty in Form between Fractal and Traditional Textile Patterns / Tang Ying

7. The Inheritance and Development of Ethnic Traditional Craftsmanship of Decorative Arts in Modern Garment Design / Yang Xiao Bing

8. Exploring textile arts: the ultimate guide to manipulating, coloring, and embellishing fabrics.

9. Sustainability and the social fabric Europe’s new textile industries / Clio Padovani, Paul Whittaker.

The change I want to see

Since I started to be a journalist, I was always fascinated by the diversity of Chinese cultural heritage. But from my interviews experience, I noticed that many traditional heritages had become obsolescence and disappearing in our lives. So it bring me a question, can we make a better change for cultural heritage conservation?

Nowadays, cultural heritage is affected by numerous degradation processes, caused by environmental factors, anthropic actions (pollution, wrong conservation practice), and microorganisms. Even local and national government’s made efforts to preserve ‘heritage’ most deals are exclusively with physical assets, such as historical sites and buildings – Palaces, temples, churches, mosques, tombs, and similar sites. This is particularly true in countries and regions that have a long history and many historical public buildings. But heritage is more than that. 

But heritage is in fact more than just physical buildings. The true heritage of an area is to comprehensively look at not only the tangible assets, and intangible ones as well. This includes public assets, and private ‘domestic’ assets such as dance, music, art, festivals, dresses, food, and more form part of the area’s heritage.

Based on such understanding of cultural heritage, I would like to put more attention on intangible cultural heritage, such as oral traditionsperforming artssocial practices, rituals, festive eventsknowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts. To narrow down in more specific area, I will make further research about traditional artefact inheritance and conservation.


1.Heritage Critical Approaches, Rodney harrison

2.Securing The Past, Conservation in Art, Architecture and Literature, Paul Eggert

, Harriet Deacon, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 2004

4. Heritage Conservation & Regeneration ,FP9 2021-2027 POSITION PAPER,Contribution from ECHOES Cluster


Few thoughts about Public interest in heritage

•Various late-modern accelerations and shifts in people’s relationship with the past—-a growth in the perception of vulnerability and uncertainty

•Shifting economic and demographic process of deindustrialisation leading to widespread redundancy of many forms of building and sites

•The development of ‘experience’ as a marketable commodity

•The growth of domestic and international leisure travel and the accompanying restructuring of the tourist gaze

•The diversification and segmentation of heritage to make it marketable to more varied audiences

•The widespread commercialisation of the past


Heritage Critical Approaches, Rodney Harrison

Heritage Cycle

The Heritage Cycle diagram gives us an idea how we can make the past part of our future (Simon Thurley, 2005). In a clockwise direction the wedges and arrows read:

  •  By understanding (cultural heritage)
    •     people value it 
  • By valuing it
    •     people want to care for it
  • By caring for it
    •     it will help people enjoy it
  • From enjoying it
    •     comes a thirst to understand 
  • By understanding it………..etc


  • Simon Thurley, Into the future. Our stategy for 2005-2010. In: Conservation Bulletin [English Heritage], 2005 (49).
  • ICOMOS, International Cultural Tourism Charter. Principles And Guidelines For Managing Tourism At Places Of Cultural And Heritage Significance. ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Committee. 2002.

What is heritage

Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural Heritage is often expressed as either Intangible or Tangible Cultural Heritage (ICOMOS, 2002).

•Heritage is a distinctly modern concern, in the sense in which the question of what is ‘old’ and what is ‘new’ belongs to a peculiarly modern sensibility. This sensibility arises from the experience of modernity and its relationship to time, ordering and uncertainty(or ’risks’) (Reference: Heritage Critical Approaches, Rodney Harrison )