The upcoming project of EUNIC in Bangladesh, Learning from Puran Dhaka, is a heritage-focused initiative by the EUNIC cluster in Bangladesh comprising Alliance Française, Goethe Institut, British Council, the Spanish and Belgian embassies and the EU Delegation in Bangladesh. Over 80 architectural students from BUET in Dhaka, Mumbai, Trivandrum, and Paris National School of Architecture will work on the project.
Introducing EUNIC and its objectives, director of Alliance Française de Dhaka, M Francois Grosjean spoke about the efforts to promote cultural diversity and mutual understanding between cultures.
Charles Whiteley, EU Ambassador to Bangladesh, said that this project would serve to strengthen cultural relations, advocate international collaboration and enhance the capacity to function as a network.
Tom Miscioscia, director, British Council Bangladesh, said, "Dhaka is a remarkable city, rapidly growing. But this was also a threat to the earlier traditions, history and culture."
He further said the tangible heritage was at risk with the shiny new buildings and new-fangled technology. Also at risk was intangible heritage like folk lore, handicrafts and even local languages.
Kamalika Bose, architect from Mumbai, shared her experience with a similar project in Kolkata saying that they could use their learning from Kolkata in Dhaka in certain areas.
Professor Shayer Ghafur, head of the department of architecture at BUET, said, "Puran Dhaka is deep in our hearts." He said Old Dhaka was paying the price for the rapid growth of the city.
Ashfika Rahman, visual artist and teacher at Pathshala, presented her ideas involving the project aimed at inspiring thought and curiousity about Puran Dhaka's tangible and intangible heritage. This included filmmaking, folk lore, storytelling, music concerts, photography and art exhibitions.