Culture, Education and Conflict: The Relevance of Critical Conservation Pedagogies for Post-Conflict Afghanistan

Richard Mulholland*

*Corresponding author for this work

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There has been considerable focus on the widespread destruction of cultural heritage in Afghanistan since the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in 2001 and much concern over the future for heritage in the region on the return of a Taliban regime in 2021, yet comparatively little has been written on the fate of Afghanistan’s national collection of paintings, manuscripts, and works on paper. Through a quasi-experimental study and using a combination of evaluation methodologies, this paper discusses whether the overall impact achieved in conservation capacity-building and training schemes in conflict zones justify the cost and risk of operating in such regions. Using an international collaborative conservation training course carried out in 2020 at the Afghan National Gallery in Kabul as a case study, it discusses the appropriateness and effectiveness of the signature pedagogies in conservation when working in a conflict scenario, and highlights the limitations present in conservation training programmes in post-conflict scenarios and the need for sustainability of such programmes. The results of the study found that common constructivist-focused, Eurocentric conservation pedagogies may not be effective for training museum professionals in regions where this approach is unfamiliar.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberYSIC 2025706
Pages (from-to)283-297
Number of pages15
JournalStudies in Conservation
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2023


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