Network Members

Mike Crang

University of Durham / UK

Mike has worked on mobility and heritage, looking at China, Taiwan and Europe. He has looked at how cultures of preservation have moved and developed as well as the cultures they say they are preserving. He has also then looked at decay and destruction and the trade in discarded items. Within that he has worked on the unregulated, informal and illegal trades in goods and commodities. This is part of an interest in globalisation from below - a globalisation of small scale actors rather than large corporations.

Connie Yim Ming Kwong

ZMT / Germany

Connie is a human geographer who has worked on tourism, development, and geographies of responsibility particularly in Asia. Her research interests lie in three interdisciplinary areas: 1) cultures, identities and practices; 2) moral geographies, responsibility, tourism and development; 3) host-guest relationship and community building for sustainable development. She believes in co-development by working with local and non-academic partners with a participatory and deliberative approach. Currently, she is a postdoctoral researcher of a five-year BMBF-funded (German Federal Ministry for Education and Science) project TransTourism - Transdisciplinary Science for Sustainable Tourism in the working group Deliberation, Valuation and Sustainability in the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT).

Abdullah Aslam

Ara Praxis, Pakistan

Abdullah is an architect and designer working primarily in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. His interests lie in utilizing established vernacular principles and materials despite modern constraints. Alongside this, he is also involved in adventure sport tourism.

Zahra Hussain

Laajverd / UK, Pakistan

an Architect and Cultural Geographer who has worked on post-conflict and post-disaster landscapes. Her research focuses on cultural landscapes, architecture and development challenges particularly in mountain communities of Northern Pakistan. Her DPhil work from 2015-2018 specifically explored post-disaster landscapes and offered re-conceptualization of resilience, displacement and resettlement through ethnographic work carried out with displaced communities of the Attabad landslide disaster. She leads Laajverd’s ‘Academy for Democracy’ project that explores forms of engagement with changing landscapes. Through this she has developed cutting-edge creative mapping strategies for analysing multi-faceted challenges in regional landscapes, initiate mediation between state and non-state actors and channel advocacy through audio-visual aids, particularly exhibitions, community-based museums and creative publications. Hussain is currently a postdoctoral fellow (South Asia) on the five-year UKRI GCRF Gender Justice and Security Hub where her research explores the value of cultural landscapes in post-conflict rehabilitation in Sri Lanka, Indian Kashmir, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Didar Ali

Bulbulik Heritage Centre / GB, Pakistan

a native of Gulmit village of Gojal valley Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan. For several years, He dedicated himself to the preservation and promotion of Wakhi culture and language. After completing an MBA in Pakistan and a degree in Tourism Management in Austria, He returned to Gulmit and initiated a panoply of projects ranging from documentation of traditional Wakhi cuisines, designing of Wakhi language primer for schoolchildren as well as documentation of Wakhi folklores. As a Founder of the non-profit Mountains & People, He has been a leader in community tourism development, environmental protection, and development of modern employment opportunities for Wakhi youth through training in computer science and Internet marketing. He has also received wide praise for his work with the Bulbulik Heritage Centre, which conserves and promotes traditional Wakhi music and dance, offering a safe place (despite strong taboos) for instruction of girls as well as boys. He is a Fellow of Firebird Foundation for Anthropological Research USA and Acumen Pakistan. Wakhi advocate and cultural preservationist Didar has received the prestigious 2019 Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal, ICIMOD Mountain Prize 2019 for remarkable service in the conservation of culture and nature in mountainous regions.

Kai Weise


Kai Weise has been working in various capacities as a UNESCO consultant and advisor to the UNESCO office in Kathmandu since 2004. He has facilitated the establishment of management systems for World Heritage properties such as Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini in Nepal, Samarkand in Uzbekistan, Mountain Railways of India and recently for Bagan in Myanmar. The approach of establishing these management systems has been acclaimed as being exemplary by UNESCO and ICOMOS. Furthermore he has been involved in establishing Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) in Nepal, promoting disaster risk management for cultural heritage sites and organizing workshops to address issues on management of cultural heritage. 

Altyn Kapalova

UCA / Kyrgyztan

Altyn Kapalova is Bishkek based researcher and writer, who conducts anthropological research of informal communications in Kyrgyz society. One of her recent studies was on financial support obligations in Kyrgyz kinship networks. She also has been creating experimental art products, combining science, art and politics. Altyn converts the results of her anthropological research into works of art\curated art projects that aim to make the voices of vulnerable communities louder for influencing political decisions and the work of political structures. Her curatorial expertise covers visual arts, theater and creative writing.

Ariell Ahearn

University of Oxford / UK

Ariell is a departmental lecturer in the School of Geography and the Environment and course director for the MSc/MPhil in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance. Ariell's research focuses on contemporary pastoralist livelihoods and forms of work in Mongolia, with particular attention to understanding how pastoralists negotiate their rights to practise mobility and engage as political actors on multiple scales. Recently her work in Mongolia has become increasingly focused on herder-mine interactions, transformations in the rural economy (including land, livestock and infrastructure), and social aspirations related to formal education.

Elmira Köchümkulova 

UCA / Kyrgyztan

Head of Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit/ Associate Professor of School of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Elmira Köchümkulova coordinates the Cultural Heritage & Humanities Unit at the University of Central Asia (UCA) and is an Associate Professor of the School of Arts and Sciences. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees with the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington and is one of the leading cultural anthropologists in the region.



© 2020
GCRF Resilient Silk Route Heritage Network