Niche Areas
BORC focuses on 10 major research niches that cover a wide array of issues related to Borneo, which include:

History is an important element in identifying Borneo Regionalism identity and characteristics. History is also essential in conservation, as conservation elements are reflections of past history and socio-culture of a society. There are historical accounts of Borneo at macro perspectives but lack the availability of historical documentations at micro level and if any, are mainly disseminated orally and not scientifically documented. It is therefore the objective of this niche group to scientifically document and examine the empirical evidence of local history in relation to conservation.

With globalisation and internationalisation, local identity has been gradually eroded, whether in terms of tangible and intangible culture. Regionalism brings back identity and addresses local context and specificity in the aspects of ecology, socio-economy and socio-culture of Borneo. This niche group focuses on fundamental questions by developing theoretical framework of “Borneo Regionalism” through interpretations and concepts that are accepted by the locals to what is perceived as “Borneo”.

The main asset of Borneo is in its rich and unique socio-culture due to the large number and diversity of ethnic groups in Borneo. Socio-culture is embedded in the culture and traditions of its communities and also reflected in the built environment settings, food, languages, communication styles, arts, music, clothing, world view and belief systems. These are all expressed in local customs and social taboos. This niche is extensive and with respect to Borneo, is a potentially exciting and inquisitive parts of Borneo Regionalism.

Buildings reflect the history, economy, social and culture of a society. It is important to document buildings, especially historical building and monuments, which have significant value and impact to the society. Advancement on building technology and services allow us to properly document and conserve historical buildings. Therefore, this niche group focuses on the technical processes, procedures, methods, and application of technology in building and monument conservation.

Building forensic is a crucial process to investigate historical building and monument. Current technologies, together with the scientific method, will be applied for analysis to evaluate the conditions of buildings and monuments to detect failure and fault of materials and structure. A forensic investigation allows the conservator to identify and locate defects so that preventive measures and appropriate conservation process can be recommended.

Best conservation practice will help to protect and preserve the cultural authenticity of tangible and intangible heritage in Borneo. A good set of standards, guidelines and protocols need to be established for conservation works in Borneo. Cultural and natural significance of Borneo are exceptional and need to be preserved for present and future generations of all humanity.

Heritage management is a practice of preserving, protecting and promoting tangible and intangible heritage in the public interest. It is to protect heritage against increasing threats like tourism, climate change, human conflict and resource constraints. The practice includes planning for financial, disaster and management of heritage sites.

Preserving national historical building and monuments is essential to Borneo, due to the cultural and heritage values of the building and monument and their potential for tourism and socio-cultural sustainability. A team of multidisciplinary professionals are needed to manage and monitor the conservation process, allowing only adequate and appropriate intervention to ensure that buildings and monuments will last longer. It is also crucial to maintain the architectural values of the buildings and monuments to preserve authenticity.

Science and technology play a vital role in transforming Borneo into a modern and industrialized society. Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0), shaped by the integration of technical advances such as the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and big data analytics, is developing rapidly and influencing economic development globally. Borneo, which is the world’s third largest island, offers many world-class venues such as heritage sites, natural environment of lush rainforests, winding rivers, intricate cave systems, and rich wildlife. Such gifts provide an excellent diversity for an array of research, development and innovation by leveraging IR 4.0.

The building performance and operation require constant monitoring, physical measurement and on-site diagnosis. It involves empirical field work, inspecting and assessing the actual buildings as well as understanding its occupants. The knowledge acquired would assist the designers and building managers to derive more informed decisions for conservation, refurbishment as well as to upkeep the condition of heritage buildings.