Centre for Community Knowledge
Ambedkar University Delhi
CENTRE FOR COMMUNITY KNOWLEDGE (CCK)
The release of the first book at AUD, published by the North East Forum and CCK. Seen here are the Vice Chacellor (Shyam Menon), NEF Convenor (Dharitri Chakravarty), CCK Coordinator (Surajit Sarkar)
The first NEF Meeting in 2011
The first project of the North East Forum (NEF) at AUD, 'Material Culture Creation and Use: Perspectives from Inside the Community', was conceptualized soon after the formation of the Forum in 2011. The study was initially spread across four states - Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland; field work for the same commenced in July 2011.
The project was a reflection of the diverse origins of researchers from the region. The most significant aspects of this project were firstly that there was a sense of researching one's own community, and second that it was rooted in an interdisciplinary approach, owing to the contributing faculty that came from diverse disciplines. A large extent of the literature available on the North-East reflects mostly outsider perspectives and represents this region as a homogeneous one. There was a consensus on highlighting the intra-regional similarities and dissimilarities found in the cultures of communities in the North East.
On 22nd March 2012, the forum organised a half day workshop on 'Material Culture: Contemporary Creation and Use', with an objective to share and invite comments on the ongoing research
The workshop explored themes in accordance with the research undertaken:
I. Handloom and Identities: Changing patterns - contemporary creation and use in selected communities.
2. Pride and Protection - Community Preservation Of Traditional Practices
3. Tradition and Status: Significance of Shawls as Ritual Objects
This project and the field research undertaken for it was conducted between 2011 and 2014. Additionally, the forum members were a part of a unique discussion on 'Cultural Heritage of the Nagas', between community members and scholars, to identify and annotate rare historical objects from the Nagaland region, held at Indian Museum, Kolkata in November 2012.
Of the many outcomes of this continuing initiative, there was the creation of a University publication, 'Object Identities Meanings: Insider Perspectives from North East India' , released in 2016.
The Forum has been active during many other occasions within the University. The first open session with students, staff and faculty was held in 2014, to chart out the scope and possibilities for the North East Forum in consultation with the AUD community in the future. In Aud@City 2016, the annual University fest, a themed exhibition on 'Words' from the North East was set up to depict the linguistic diversity and plurality from the North East in AUD.
The Centre and North East Forum also held the 'International Conference on Oral Traditions: Continuity and Transformations', co-organized by AUD and INTACH, held from 1-4 February 2016 in Shillong. It was supported locally by the Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Culture, International Institute for the Inclusive Museum and Lady Keane College. The Conference saw presentations by 35 scholars from diverse disciplinary background from different states of north east India, Thailand, Malaysia and Leiden University.The four days Conference was accompanied by an exhibition of exclusive photographs taken by Verrier Elwin in the northeast, courtesy his son.
A 75 year old ka jainspong khor (ceremonial headress for Khasi men) showing unique motifs.
Akha Mao, faculty at AUD, during a field visit to Mon, Nagaland in 2012.
The North East Forum (NEF) has been formed to create a platform for scholars and researchers working on the Northeast region of India to share their ideas.
The region remains at the margins of academic study, despite its socio-cultural diversity, and there is great potential to explore the possibility of establishing collaborative research understandings with institutions, communities and organisations within the region.