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Type: Conference paper
Title: Institutionalising the profession in post-colonial Malaysia: the role of Australian trained architects in the establishment of PAM (Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia)
Author: Scriver, P.
Srivastava, A.
Citation: Architecture Institutions and Change, 2015 / Hogben, P., O'Callaghan, J. (ed./s), vol.32, pp.582-591
Publisher: SAHANZ
Issue Date: 2015
ISBN: 9780646942988
Conference Name: 32nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) (7 Jul 2015 - 10 Jul 2015 : Sydney, NSW)
Editor: Hogben, P.
O'Callaghan, J.
Statement of
Peter Scriver and Amit Srivastava
Abstract: Intersections between professional and political agendas in processes of transnational social and economic exchange are difficult to pin down because professionals aspire, by definition, to act autonomously. Yet, in the context of Cold War anxieties about the fragility of democracy in the Southeast Asian region, strategic investment in the training of Asian architectural professionals was one of the more instrumental and constructive ways in which Australia became engaged in the modern nation building of its Asian neighbourhood. Under the Colombo Plan the British Commonwealth scheme (c. 1950-80) for bilateral aid to developing countries in South and Southeast Asia, Australia took the unusual step in funding a major scholarships program that aimed to train Asian professionals rather than export its own experts to the region. By the early 1980s as many as 40,000 future professionals from participating Asian countries had been sponsored to study in Australian universities. These graduates were to go on to build new networks of transnational exchange that, as the Plan had intended, would help to integrate a region in which the unravelling of the previous colonial empires and the on-going geopolitical struggle for competing capitalist and socialist models of modernity had placed Australia in an unprecedented position of insecurity, but potential new opportunity as well. Focusing on the agency of Malaysian architects who trained in Australia in the Colombo Plan era, the proposed paper will examine their efforts to establish and consolidate the institutional framework and pedagogical foundations of a modern architectural profession in post-colonial Malaysia. In the context of the racial and cultural conflicts that were redefining the region in this period, the paper will also illuminate the importance that the autonomous institutional standing of the profession was perceived to provide for these young Australia-returned modernists in their substantive efforts to develop and build the modernising nation in their subsequent careers.
Rights: Copyright of this volume belongs to SAHANZ. Copyright of the content of individual contributions remains the property of the named author or authors.
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