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UK-India researchers team up to study cultural heritage, migration and Indian Diaspora

Date: 19/12/2019

UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in partnership with the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) have announced five UK-India research projects.

The joint projects, funded through the Newton Fund and facilitated by UKRI’s India office, focuses on Cultural Heritage, Migration and Indian Diaspora. These awards will help build UK-India research partnerships and develop stronger long-term collaboration between the two countries.

Rebecca Fairbairn, Director UKRI India, said: “Diaspora, along with cultural heritage and migration, are living bridges. I am delighted that five projects, through the AHRC-ICHR partnership are understanding the value and importance of diaspora and strengthening our research communities and networks.” 

Gary Grubb, Associate Director of Programmes at the AHRC, said “I am delighted to see the outcomes of this latest phase of AHRC’s highly successful partnership with the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR). This new cohort of collaborative research projects, bringing together arts and humanities research strengths in cultural heritage and diaspora in both the UK and India and working closely with a wide range of cultural, heritage, creative and community partner organisations, demonstrates how international collaboration can stimulate research innovation and generate significant economic, social and cultural value”

The Five Joint Projects:

Project title – Holy Lands: Scoping the nexus between heritage, pilgrimage and diaspora in India.

This project will focus on the cultural significance of pilgrimages, one of the growing motivations for travel. Pilgrimages are threatened by rapid urbanisation and agricultural intensification in some areas of India; this project will evaluate the social and economic impacts of the modern world on pilgrimages and identify how to balance the preservation of heritage and the needs of religious communities.

  • UK lead principal investigator:  Professor Robin Coningham, Durham University
  • Indian lead principal investigator: Professor Krishnan Krishnan Nampoothiri, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

Project title: Gender and Intersectionality on India and its Diaspora's (GRID) Heritage

This project aims to develop a UK-India network of academics, researchers, curators and other professionals that will work to improve how we analyse and recognise the value of heritage within communities that feel discriminated and marginalised from current evaluative methods.

  • UK lead principal investigator:  Professor Raminder Kaur Kahlon, University of Sussex
  • Indian lead principal investigator: Professor Parul Dave Mukherji, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Project title: Cultural Heritage Transformations of Weddings and Marriage among Women in the Tamil and Parsi diaspora communities in India and the UK

The network will examine the effects of migration and diaspora on cultural heritage in diaspora communities in India and the UK. The project will bring together international scholars and academics in India and the UK from disciplines including archaeology, history, cultural studies, performance and ritual studies, social anthropology, and gender studies to share research and create a universal approach to sharing information when measuring social and economic impact.

  • UK lead principal investigator:  Professor Jerri Daboo, University of Exeter
  • Indian lead principal investigator: Dr Smriti Haricharan, National Institute of Advanced Studies

Project title: Digital urbanism & diasporas: walking the cultural heritage of Calcutta's riverfront

This project focuses on the relationships between cultural heritage and urban development agendas in India. It aims to contribute to improved, inclusive city planning which values and conserves the heritage assets of migrant communities. 

  • UK lead principal investigator:  Professor Michele Clarke, University of Nottingham
  • Indian lead principal investigator: Professor Sumana Bandyopadhyay, University of Calcutta             

Project title: Cultural Heritage and Representation: (Mis)readings between India and the Indian Diaspora

This proposed multi-disciplinary network will focus on the nexus between Indian Diasporas, identity formation, cultural heritage and performance, with special attention paid to questions of representation in an increasingly globalised visual culture. This project will aim to create a sustainable network between India and the Indian diasporic community in the UK.

  • UK lead principal investigator:  Professor Jane Collins, University of the Arts London 
  • Indian lead principal investigator: Professor Anandhakrishnan Balakrishna Pillai, University of Hyderabad
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