Workshop zur Feldforschung in Südindien
Workshop at the Regional Resources Centre, Udupi, Feb. 18th to March 15th 2008
During the fieldwork portion of the modular learning sets we began with a week-long discussion of the scope and reach of future archives, the contents of technologically enhanced archives, and the nature of collecting for archives, maintaining and organizing archives, and issues related to broad, global access to archives through the internet for educational purposes.
We followed this lecture-based Introduction with two weeks of field research on Koti-Chennaya (in collaboration with a community group of devotees) and on the Siri women's rituals and song traditions. During this period we continued to hold morning classes on fieldwork methodology at the RRC, but this was mainly a period of all-day (and often all-night) fieldwork experience in the villages.
During the second half of the course we turned our attention increasingly toward teaching students how to accession their fieldwork documentation collections into an archive. Besides the technical aspects of identifying, labeling and transferring the collections from recording devices into the archive's databases, we considered how scholars and the public might use collections in an archive. This entailed an understanding of the responsibilities collectors, archives and the public (media personnel in particular) has toward the folk communities when they are represented through their folklore collected and housed in archives.
Toward the end of the month-long course much of our time was spent guiding the students to do archival research while the students developed presentations of their collection and documentation research projects. These presentations took place in a mini-conference setting bringing together local communities and local scholars. The presentations will be put online and will be incorporated into the two modular course sets. Efforts have also begun to develop a global online community of interested people who might become a source of support and encouragement for the local communities whose folklore we researched.