Luk Laan Muang Phrae: Community-Led Heritage Preservation in Phrae
Luk Laan Muang Phrae
Luk Lan Muang Phrae (LLMP) was founded in 2001 as a voluntary civic network to raise local awareness of cultural heritage preservation and promote active citizenship. The network is led by core members who work with local communities and government agencies, as well as academics, NGOs and IGOs, on various tangible and intangible heritage preservation projects. It promotes built heritage preservation, local history, local craftsmanship and the local craft sector while working with social business entrepreneurs in Old Town Phrae to seek funding and opportunities to organize activities at the local and provincial levels.
In the last 15 years, LLMP has carried out numerous projects, such as: working with local networks on the Phrae Creative District project initiated by the Thailand Creative Economy Agency, raising awareness of Phrae Old Town through public activities, enabling Phrae to be officially registered as an Old Town of Thailand, the annual Phrae Craft Festival – a gathering of local artisans to celebrate and raise awareness about the craftsmanship of Phrae, and the Na Tong Community Archaeology Project and Museum. Working with SEAMEO SPAFA and the Thai Fine Arts Department, the Na Tong project consisted of excavating a 4 500-year-old prehistoric cave site in Phrae, site interpretation and creating a museum, involving the community in all phases of the project. Together with SEAMEO SPAFA, LLMP also carried out the Community-Based Architectural Heritage Preservation project, funded by the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, which formed a foundation for subsequent historic preservation projects in Phrae Old Town and engaged Laotian architects and archaeologists in a training on architectural preservation. LLMP has also supported and co-organized various international capacity-building activities with ICCROM, SEAMEO SPAFA and the British Council. It also founded the Old Town Market to provide social and business spaces for Phrae’s older population to support their well-being. The market later became a major tourist attraction and commercial space that has generated regular income for local vendors.