An exhibition of photographs and videos by the participants of the
17th ASEF University.

The exhibition Shared Heritage: As We See It showcases photographs and videos on the theme of cultural heritage by the participants of the 17th ASEF University programme. Specifically, the subject of ‘shared’ heritage is explored.

The focus on heritage at the 17th ASEF University is in response to the priorities identified by the Cultural Ministers of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). The need to foster awareness of common cultural heritage as a part of youth education was given special emphasis by the Ministers.

This exhibition revolved around the theme of:

  • Definition of Shared Heritage
  • Importance of Shared Heritage
  • Examples of Shared Heritage
  • Young People and Shared Heritage

41 students and young professionals from 31 ASEM countries have collaborated on this exhhibition, which is envisaged to be presented alongside the 5th ASEM Culture Ministers' Meeting in Indonesia (2012).


Places of Memory


In the mountains of Austria a small cottage is surrounded by serene mountains and fields of snow. The area is enjoyed by re-creationists from around Europe, looking for a small paradise away from their busy working life. The cottage evokes memories of the past, of times spent away from home and of times shared with friends and family.

Town On Water; Venice of the East


Ancient Chinese along the Southeastern coast build their villages and lives around water. This area transcends a great sense of elegance, richness and mystery from the long-standing history of thousands of years. They serve as living museums for both the young generation of Chinese as well as foreigners to peek into the rich and diverse Chinese culture.



The photo represents the reusability of traditions inside a society. This dance is part of a festival which Bulgarians celebrated faithfully until the mid-20th century and after the industrialization the Roma people adopted and reinterpreted it in their own way. The photo invokes a message of festivity, regardless of national, ethnic or religious background.

Re-emergence of culture


Yui Cha Khway is one of the most popular snacks served with hot soy milk as a set of breakfast. It can be found in several overseas Chinese communal markets. With regard to its popularity, it plays significant role in Chinese community as a Chinese ‘wake-up call’.

“I see (cultural heritage) as traditions, customs, artefacts, performing art, food, la cuisine, l’art culinaire!... The incredible race towards modernisation led to the disappearance of entire neighbourhood, and thus the disappearance of traditional neighbourhood life… I think the way a lot of French people eat now is a little bit messy. We should consume seasonal fruits just like our grand-mother did. Heritage gets shared through languages: I have been learning mandarin Chinese for three years now, and I definitely feel like I share a part – even if it is a very small one - of the Chinese cultural Heritage!” - Aurore Marie, France “Heritage can bridge the gap between the heritage of multiple cultures living in the same place. Through understanding, a cultural exchange can take place. Heritage management and discrimination can lead to positive outcomes through shared heritage.” - Nicole McGrath, Australia


Myth and Reality


Most of the people in Myanmar believe Mt Popa as a holy place with a lot of Spirits or Nats. Since the Stone Age or start of civilization, people had long been believed the nature as the God and worshiped on it. With a long passed down stories from our fore fathers, Burmese or Myanmar people consider this place as a holy mountain. Myanmar has lots of cultural heritages and most of the heritages are, nowadays, being demolished or lost through the ignorance or impacts of modernisation.

Rainbow Serpent


The photo captures essential mythical symbols of Australian Aboriginal people: rainbow and snake as the Rainbow Serpent. According to the traditional beliefs he is a creator of all human beings moving through water and rain, shaping landscapes and naming places.



On the cliffs he stands. Alone, still and motionless, like a bird of prey waiting for the perfect catch. Anticipating the sea to rise, the fish to bite. Age old fishing traditions can be found all over the world, each one of them specific to the region, culture and the local environment.

Smile of Korea


This photograph captures the displayed items for tourists/visitors of Korea. Dynamic aspects of Korean are implicitly expressed by multi-dimensional smiles, which look so happy and welcoming. It implies that when we send a smile to a stranger, we mean it wholeheartedly, not merely on the surface.

“Traditional traits and culture are dying as the older generation did not have apprentice. Youth involvement is still very passive drawing a huge gap between the generation.” - Chew Win Chen, Malaysia “Cultural heritage lays a connection between the past, the present and the future, as it was produced in the past, it's consumed in the present and it's preserved for the future. Cultural heritage negotiates between the local and the global, creating a space for the expression of collective memory.” - Henriette Rietveld, The Netherlands “Heritage gets shared via dialogue or a conversation, either verbal (within the family, with friends around the fire etc.) or visual (constructing a building and the place where people can talk about it, etc).” - Petko Karadechev, Bulgaria “Cultures can co-exist and in many cases learn and benefit, this mutual understanding can ease political, religious and economic tensions making societies and communities more harmonious places.” - Charlotte Louis Gregory, United Kingdom “If we preserve heritage sites, increase access to cultural events, workshops and learning spaces, involve the community in presenting their own cultures (working with children, youth, museums etc) we will encourage people to gain knowledge which will eventually lead to intercultural understanding.” - Rajika Seth, India “Heritage can be shared when people of different cultures and nationalities come together and exchange their experiences and ideas; when they meet in order to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding; when they realise that their past, present and future can be crossed.” - Ismini Anemogianni , Greece


Barn Syndrome


This architectural typology is an example of shared heritage between Poland and Germany. From the beginning of the 19th century, a large number of Germans immigrated to Western and Southern Poland as a result of occupation. Since 1945, there has been no dialog between the countries regarding the protection of this region or building a memorial of sorts. Today some of those barns are converted into houses.



The Victorian maritime building at front is a symbol of Dublin’s industrial past, while rising in the background a new unfinished development, symbolizes the movement to present. The clock asks how we view the past and manage our future, while the buildings themselves are tangible representations of culture.



Victory of the 5th B.C., attributed to the sculptor Paionios; a masterpiece of ancient Greek sculpture. Victory acts as a symbol for the desire of liberty, peace, harmony and beauty, values that have been common in all civilizations across history.

Granny Giggles


Late evening along the empty fields, a makeshift stage stands alone. Three actresses readying themselves for a display of graceful acrobatic skill, fan playing and opera, erupt into laughter, sharing a joke before the night’s performance begins. Teochew Opera is hugely popular among the older generation, often played by actors in their 50’s and 60’s with no sight of a successor to take over.

“Today culture and heritage have become powerful means of positioning cities on the global market and are often treated as commodities which can be sold and bought. However, it becomes more and more difficult to fill the traditional sights with new life attracting both residents and visitors.” - Anastasia Baskina, Russia “I think cultural heritage is something which is so unique, has long and interesting history, and can represent culture of one country.” - Sokchannaroath Heng, Cambodia “It would probably be issues regarding priorities, where  the desire to earn money overweighs the wish to preserve cultural heritages. People are more concerned about the future then they are worried about preserving the past.” - Niklas Nordström, Sweden “If heritage is disregarded, a certain sense of disconnectedness with one’s own roots may be formed eventually. When we try to create our future that is disconnected from the past, it is like building our future on a vacuum. That is dangerous.” - Ezra Chen Yongliang, Singapore “I would feel that insufficient attention is being paid to engaging with communities who have undergone huge change within the last generation, and that providing for their basic material needs has in some cases caused a lack of continuity in cultural practices and norms.” - Maggie Kathleen Connolly, Ireland “Heritage can serve as a bridge to connect the people with the past as well as serve as a tool to smoothen the communication of the different people by making them to understand and respect the heritage of each other.” - Myo Kyaw Thu, Myanmar “With increasingly multicultural city there are almost no boundaries anymore, the world is now.” - Yulianto, Indonesia “A castle in France, an aboriginal ritual in Australia, the tea ceremony in Japan, the ways of life in a certain community: these are all part of the cultural heritage and only by looking at both the objects and the stories behind them we can understand the past.” - Ismini Anemogianni , Greece “We are an interconnected world; heritage is also being produced through network exchanges every day and we should benefit from this to get all the knowledge we can from other cultures.” - Carolina Gracia Moreno, Spain


A New Beginning


This photo depicts a contemporary youth community re-appropriating the old hunting lodge, using its spaces for exchange and education. Young people are connecting with their heritage, learning their history, but also by using the lodge they are making it relevant again and ensuring its usage into the future.

Remains of the Day


Formerly, part of a Russian fortress to protect the country in the end of the 19th century, this ruin is now integrated into the city. It can be interpreted is a metaphor of how cultural heritage is re-appropriated by the young locals. The concrete remains whether to conserve, to demolish or use it in a totally different way from how it was intended are there to be interacted

Learnings From Kedah


41 young faces, enlightened with excitement and curiosity, looking beyond the blackboard. Their sky-blue t-shirts are wet to the skin and their colorful shoes covered in a crust of dark grey mud. They have just returned from the other side of the Sungai Merbok River, after planting mangroves for the first time.

Cultural Matchmaker


In her hands, the dolls are locked; cultures match, backgrounds meet. The global village brought together to celebrate cultural partnership.

“'Gulou' area is located in the heart of old Beijing city and perfectly preserved the traditional housing condition and architecture structure of old Beijing. This area is valuable also because that it can be seen as a container of the Beijing spirit and Beijing lifestyle; However the government want to reconstruct this area and turn it into a tourist site. It invites a lot of controversy. Tea is originally from China, and Chinese don’t drink tea with milk. When the British brought tea to Europe, they begin to drink tea with milk. We could say that the national heritage-tea, is reinvented and shared in a global context.” - Qian Sun, China “Despite its (cultural heritage) inherent meaning of intergenerational knowledge and preservation, it demonstrates our capacities to adapt, evolve, and constantly give new meaning to our environment, beliefs and lifestyle. Heritage plays a big role in shaping individuals and the more diverse and open a given multicultural context is, the richer learning environment it
can be.”
- Syed Sharmeen, Pakistan “Knowing own culture creates personal identity, and through this we can live
peacefully together. ”
- Mary Louise Far, Philippines “Cultural Heritage raises awareness, tolerance, and respect for other people's cultures no matter where they are from... be sensitive towards other cultures...and the most important thing is to organise volunteering and community service events where people from all races can participate and learn to respect.” - Nuur Aqilah, Brunei