Connections Through Culture 2022-2023 Grant Recipient

Seeking generative tourism through art and architecture set out to contribute towards the formation of Samong Haven, a new transnational hub for culture and learning in Bali, Indonesia.

Key learning from the project process is showcased in Towards a New Model of Tourism - A Manifesto, a text that provides concise ethical guidelines for architects, entrepreneurs and others to follow when developing projects that impact place and community. 


Towards a New Model of Tourism - A Manifesto

Support from the British Council’s Connections Through Culture grant allowed architectural designer Zhe Rui Chen, architectural researcher Siti Nurafaf Ismail, artist and curator Nicholas John Jones, and social entrepreneur Ketut Karya to plan a one-month research-orientated residency in Bali, Indonesia, as well as participate in residency activities with eleven other artists and architects.

The group’s research and learning involved diverse activities, including a variety of local site visits and workshops, interviews with people in the area, group discussions and design work.

In the course of the residency, the group visited, discussed and evaluated existing tourism models in the area. Venues included hotels, villas, a glamping site, guest houses, dive centres, a petting farm, and a yoga retreat. At each venue, they met and talked with staff. They sought to deepen their knowledge of Indonesia’s vernacular architecture, asking how contemporary architecture can draw on vernacular knowledge to reduce energy consumption and create culturally specific architectural expressions, artefacts that would be both welcoming to local residents and exciting for visitors. 

Via meetings with makers of handmade bricks, woodworkers, a weaver and bamboo builders, the group learned in depth about the region’s construction materials and crafts. Workshops and interviews enabled the group to learn more about the issues local people face, while gaining knowledge of local permaculture, waste management, food culture, traditional Indonesian tools and cooking implements.

In addition to scripting the manifesto, further outcomes include working on new designs for building and landscaping at Samong Haven, and setting out a proposed operational forward plan for the centre. The group are currently working to evolve the manifesto into a larger “manual” focusing on design for tourism. This is scheduled for publication by the end of 2024: stay tuned for updates!

The group would like to build a network interested in culture, community and conservation, connecting potential collaborators, contributors and co-conspirators. Feel free to reach out to them at