SPAFA SESH (Seminars-Events-Shows-HowTos) is a series of online activities aimed at practitioners and professionals interested in Southeast Asia’s archaeology, heritage and arts. They are scheduled to take place through virtual platforms, such as Facebook Live (on SPAFA’s Facebook page) and Zoom. SPAFA SESH will be led by resource persons sharing their experience and knowledge in their fields of activity, and will include moderated audience participation.

Museum Move

Date: 18 August 2020

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. (Bangkok time), 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Kuala Lumpur and Manila time)

Online Platform: Facebook Live and Zoom *(Register at:

Every once in a while, there are occurrences affecting our planet earth, whether natural or human-induced, and leaving indelible marks on our ways of life. Currently, there are a wide range of contemporary concerns, such as climate change, political issues, discourses on race, and recently the pandemic situation.

Museums, as institutions for society and the people living in it, are in constant search of how these phenomena change our society in order to reassess how to fulfill their role in serving the public. Thus the definition of the museum has to always be re-adjusted to strengthen its role in meeting every new situation.

During this pandemic period, museums have had to close their doors to the public. Some may have already reopened, with many adjustments having to be made to meet the safety requirements needed for their visitors. In these new circumstances, how have museum professionals (directors, curators and other practitioners) been re-thinking the museum’s new move in response to the contemporary context, whether physically or conceptually?


  • Ms. Nitaya Kanokmongkol, Director of Office of National Museums, The Fine Arts Department, Thailand
  • Mr Jeremy R. Barns, Director General, National Museum of the Philippines
  • Datuk Kamarul Baharin bin A. Kasim, Director General, Department of Museums Malaysia
  • Mr Kenji Saotome, Curator at Suita City Museum, Japan; Board Member at International Committee for Regional Museums, International Council of Museums (ICOM); Board Member at The Museological Society of Japan and The Japan Society for Exhibition Studies


Mrs Somlak Charoenpot, SEAMEO SPAFA Centre Director

[Discussion will be conducted in English]

*Registration at

No. Title/Topic Date and Time of SESH
1 “House that Speak to Us” | When SPAFA Meets Phrae, Together We Preserve Houses that Speak to Us  29 June 2020

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Bangkok time

2 Older is not Necessarily Better: The Short History of the Ifugao Rice Terraces  8 July 2020

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Manila time

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Bangkok time

3 Recent Discoveries from Angkor Wat and Srah Srang  20 July 2020
10:00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. (Phnom Penh/Bangkok time), 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Singapore Time)



Museum Move

18 August 2020

10:00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. (Bangkok time), 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Kuala Lumpur/ Manila time)

Stay tuned for details on other SPAFA SESHes to come soon.

Recent Discoveries from Angkor Wat and Srah Srang

Date: 20 July 2020

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. (Phnom Penh/Bangkok time), 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Singapore Time)

Online Platform: Facebook Live and Zoom *(Register at:

Earlier this year, several spectacular discoveries were made by research teams working at the Angkor Archaeological Park. Early in April 2020, archaeologists from the APSARA Authority accidentally discovered many hundreds of fragments from damaged Buddha statues in Angkor Wat. They were found during ground clearing around the third enclosures of the temple, near the foot of Mahabharata gallery, firstly two Buddha torsos. A research team investigated the site and excavated for an area of 15 square meters over 50 days, unearthing nearly 300 fragments of damaged Buddha statues dating from the 12th to 19th centuries. Additionally, the restoration team from the APSARA Authority has been working on a project to restore a stone structure in the middle of Srah Srang, the Royal Pool. During routine excavations to understand the extent of the structure to be repaired, APSARA archaeologists found extraordinary artefacts: more than ten thousand of colourless crystal quartz; thousands of fragments of stone carvings; metal objects; wooden structure remains on base of stone structure; and a pair of stone turtles.


Im Sokrithy, Director, Department of Conservation Monuments and Archaeology, APSARA Authority


Dr Noel H. Tan, SEAMEO SPAFA Senior Specialist in Archaeology.

[Discussion will be conducted in English]

*Registration at

Older is not Necessarily Better: The Short History of the Ifugao Rice Terraces

Date: 8 July 2020

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. (Manila time), 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. (Bangkok Time)

Online Platform: Facebook Live and Zoom *(Register at:

The long-held belief in the age of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, pegged at ca. 2000 years, as proposed by pioneer anthropologists of the Philippines Henry Otley Beyer and Roy F. Barton has become a sort of received wisdom among Filipinos. It has been taken as a gospel truth, that even the UNESCO enlistment of the agricultural wonders highlights its long history narrative. It is no wonder then, that recent archaeological and ethnohistorical discoveries that suggest a short history origin of the terraces have become an anathema to nationalist sentiments about age of the terraces. In this presentation, we provide the scientific bases for the later dating of the terraces. By doing so, we argue that the shift to wet-rice cultivation (and the inception of rice terracing traditions) in Ifugao, Philippines was a conscious decision by the Ifugao to counter the Spanish conquest. This contention empowers Ifugao communities and forces us to rethink dominant Philippine historical narratives.


Marlon Martin is an Ifugao who heads a non-profit heritage conservation organization in his home province in Ifugao, Philippines. He actively works with various academic and conservation organizations both locally and internationally in the pursuit of indigenous studies integration and inclusion in the formal school curricula. Along with Acabado, he established the first community-led Ifugao Indigenous Peoples Education Center, the first in the region.

Stephen Acabado is associate professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His archaeological investigations in Ifugao, northern Philippines, have established the recent origins of the Cordillera Rice Terraces, which were once known to be at least 2,000 years old. Dr. Acabado directs the Bicol and Ifugao Archaeological Projects and co-directs the Taiwan Indigenous Landscape and History Project.  He is a strong advocate of an engaged archaeology where descendant communities are involved in the research process.


Dr Noel H. Tan, SEAMEO SPAFA Senior Specialist in Archaeology.

[Discussion will be conducted in English]

*Registration at

“House that Speak to Us” | When SPAFA Meets Phrae, Together We Preserve Houses that Speak to Us

Date: 29 June 2020

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. (Bangkok Time)

Online Platform: Facebook Live

Starting from a community-based conservation project using a Living Heritage Approach, SEAMEO SPAFA and Luk Lan Muang Phrae Network collaborated on a series of activities, including researches, street fairs, bicycle tours, historic house conservation and a publication, between 2004 and 2010. On the occasion of the 10 year anniversary since the project’s completion, SEAMEO SPAFA is going to bring together individuals involved in said activities, particularly in the conservation of historic houses to share their experiences, their passion and their dreams about the houses that were documented in the SEAMEO SPAFA book “Community-Based Architectural Heritage Preservation in Phrae, Thailand.”

Guest speakers:

  • Dr Pornthum Thumwimol, Landscape Architect, Fine Arts Department
  • Mr Shinnaworn Chompupan, Architect, Phrae Architectural Heritage Preservation Club
  • Dr Patcharawee Tunprawat, Head, Arts and Creative Industries, British Council
  • Mrs Somlak Charoenpot, Centre Director, SEAMEO SPAFA


Ms Hatthaya Siriphatthanakun, Specialist in Cultural Heritage Conservation, SEAMEO SPAFA

[Discussion will be conducted in Thai]

Registration at