The tale of two cities: Connecting with our past through site interpretation

The use of site interpretation seeks to sustain the values of heritage landscapes, places and objects both individually and collectively. 

Through site interpretation visitors can further appreciate and gain a deeper “visitor experience” and learn from heritage assets. Interpretation has become a globally accepted practice when revealing the significance of a site and its’ surroundings. The ICOMOS “Ename” Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites, states the following;

 “Interpretation refers to the full range of potential activities intended to heighten public awareness and enhance understanding of cultural heritage site. These can include print and electronic publications, public lectures, on-site and directly related off-site installations, educational programs, community activities, and ongoing research, training, and evaluation of the interpretation process itself.”

Through interpretation the sharing of Maltese history and culture with other communities, ethnicities, new citizens, visitors, and people from overseas may be achieved. This paper will examine and present illustrations of interpretation which have been used within Europe and Australia to assist highlight the various ‘good practice’ approaches which have been undertaken to assist transfer the knowledge and values of history and culture.

 Samantha Fabry

 Heritage Enterprise Ltd.

Orginally from Melbourne, Samantha Fabry moved to Malta in 2003 in which she took the position of Director of Heritage Enterprise Ltd. Heritage Enterprise (H.E.) was created based on a Building Preservation Charity. Formed to identify, rescue, repair, restore and rehabilitate historic or architecturally significant buildings H.E. endeavors to extend the life of these assets through adaptive re-use. Additionally H.E. provides a professional consultancy service for museums, architects, engineers or other professionals working in the field of heritage management adhering to International Charters and Conventions. Samantha holds a B/A Arts (Deakin University), Grad dip Art History (Melbourne University), Grad dip Museum Studies (Deakin University), M.A. Cultural Heritage (Deaking University). She has recently received a Research Scholarship from Leicester University (Museum Studies Dept). She has worked as a Curator for the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales as Curator for Hyde Park Barracks and Susannah Place Museum and has experience in historic site conservation, asset management, cultural tourism (both EU and State funded) and museum management. She is the Chairperson of the International Committee of Museums in Malta (ICOM), DemHist (Member), ICMS (Member). In 2012, she returned to Australia where she is now working within the field of Multiculturalism, Community Development and the Arts.

Dr Malcolm Borg 

Dr Malcolm Borg is a planner by profession and training, and holds a Ph.D. in planning and urbanisation from the University of Leeds, UK. In 2001, he was awarded a scholarship in heritage management, with research undertaken at La Sapienza in Rome and the Istituto Technico in Turin, and for the last 10 years, he has lectured on heritage management and economics of heritage at the Institute for Conservation Management and Cultural Heritage (ICMCH) and Planning and Environment for the University of Malta and coordinated ateliers in conjunction with; MCAST, University of Dundee and Anhalt University.  

Dr Borg worked in the planning sector for over 16 years and is currently a consultant for various Local Councils specialising in regeneration, planning, heritage management and EU funding. He held managerial positions with the Environmental Management Unit of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, and previously held posts of Policy Coordinator and Project Manager with the Ministry for Youth and the Arts, the Ministry for Urban Development and Roads, and the Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communication. He was specifically engaged in the launching, development and monitoring of regeneration projects and the development of national policy related to urban development, planning, regeneration and transit. Specifically he was engaged in the implementation of EU Directives and Charters related to Urban Development and the Leipzig Charter. Dr Borg also compiled Development Briefs and Action Plans for the Dock No. 1 Project in Cottonera (12M Euro) and the Vertical Connection in Valletta (1.5 M Euro) for which he coordinated as Project Leader applications for funding. He was also responsible for the International Competition and Planning Brief for the Haġar Qim and Mnajdra Heritage Park (WHS) and the Tentative List for Malta UNESCO Sites.

 Dr Malcolm Borg has in the past three years compiled three main Action Plans under the URBACT Programme for the regeneration of areas in Valletta, Paola, Santa Luċija and Rural Action Plans for Żejtun and parts of Żurrieq and Kirkop. The REPAIR Action Plan for Paola included node projects with EU funding for 1.2 M Euro as spin off initiatives. The Corradino Military Barraks received a mention and was noted as a best practice example in restoration and adaptive re-use (Liege 2011). The HERO Valletta Action Plan includes a flagship project, a 1.5 M Euro Garden and Interpretation Centre which is being developed as part of the re-launch of the Valletta-Marsamxett site.

 Dr Borg is a recognized URBACT Thematic Expert and has been involved in the compilation and management of ERDF, ESF projects and other EU and International funded programmes. He is also a member of the Malta Chamber of Planners and pursuing post-doctoral research on planning for regeneration and transit at the University of Melbourne.


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