Centre for Community Knowledge
Ambedkar University Delhi
CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE (CCK)
Community engagement and recording of oral narratives at Shadipur.
Audio-visual documentation of events (related to the University) and people's narratives; and maintenance of a digital repository of recorded events and interviews.
Digitization of physical holdings from archival collections; digital record-keeping.
Research Series - Material Culture, Creation and Use: Perspectives from Inside the Community.
Fortnightly centre meetings held with staff and project personnel.
The Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK) is an interdisciplinary research centre, housed in the Kashmere Gate campus of Ambedkar University Delhi. It aimed at studying different living communities in India, their cultural knowledge heritage and their interrelations.
Academically, the centre collaborates in implementing a variety of field programs ranging from oral history to aspects of traditional knowledge. Beginning with the setting up of a North East Forum and Field Fellowships in Mon, Nagaland and Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh (2012-2013), the centre forayed into field based research that contributes to bridging the gap between formal (codified) and oral (uncodified) knowledge. The North East Forum team went on to participate in a community-led annotation workshop of Naga material heritage at Indian Museum, Kolkata (May 2012).
The centre adds to the corpus of academic knowledge from a socio-cultural and lived histories' perspective, with regard to oral and local community knowledge and learning. One of the earliest initiatives was the setting up of a Neighbourhood Museum at Shadi-Khampur (Jan - Feb 2013). The excitement it generated has been carried forward under the umbrella of Delhi Citizens Memory Project by housing more such neighbourhood museums over the years, instituting Delhi oralities and photographic collections and using oral narratives, research and documentation as a primary method of sourcing community held material.
Working in partnership with local individuals and organisations, the Centre hopes to foster a reciprocal dialogue between knowledge from the margins and the mainstream, in the absence of which local community knowledge and cultural identity will continue to lose out. It has held several conferences and seminars that promote such an understanding, especially through the Time Space Direction (Feb 2014) exhibition and seminar on cartographic traditions of the Indian Ocean region. The seminar of 'Interrogating Manuscript Traditions (March 2015) looked at the geographical contours as described in folk literatures across the county.
The archiving initiatives began in the second year of its running, 2013, and began by housing the Institutional Memory Archives aiming to document the University's growth, setbacks and expansion. This, alongside with the ethnographic archives of maritime and textile traditions from the research collection of Dr. Lotika Varadarajan, carried forward the centre's agenda of developing documentation and archiving skills, and eventually housing a digital repository that would be publicly accessible online. The Centre's activities aim to create access to cultural and intellectual resources that enlarge the vision of historicity, entangle power relations between information sources of lived cultures, offer local wisdom and insight into elements of histories that remain overshadowed by established meta-narratives.