TODAY -

DigitizeManipur
- Exploring an International Learning Community -
- to Preserve and Promote the Ancient Wisdom of Manipur -

* L Somi Roy

From April 21-27, 2008, archivists and scholars from the University of Kentucky and International Dunhuang Project at The British Library visited Imphal to study Manipur's endangered manuscripts. This fact-finding team represented a consortium that also includes the New York Public Library and the Cambridge University Buddhist Institute.

The DigitizeManipur project and visit were initiated and organized by L. Somi Roy, a media curator based in New York and a native of Manipur.

This visit to assess private Manipuri archives for their preservation and conservation was made possible by a grant from the Shelly and Donald Rubin Foundation. Additional support was extended by The Office of the Chief Minister of Manipur and D.S. Poonia, Principal Secretary (Home), of the Government of Manipur. The visitors were hosted by Manipur University.

The objective of the DigitizeManipur project is to survey, examine and assess ancient and historic manuscripts, and to prepare to undertake their digitization for their preservation, conservation and study. The project is a private undertaking that is in its exploratory stage and will be followed by an examination of possible strategies for its future development.

Assessing the Manipuri Archives


In addition to the specific project goals of the digitization of Manipuri manuscripts, the long-term objective of DigitizeManipur is to build an academic framework to facilitate their study once the manuscripts have been digitized. It is hoped that providing a private mechanism to foster scholarly exchanges with US and British academics will form the foundation for comparative and collaborative study of foothills and mountain culture affinities.

The visiting DigitizeManipur team consisted of:
  • Evelyn Knight, Ph.D., Director, The Appalachian Center, University of Kentucky
  • Mary Molinaro, Director, Preservation and Digital Programs, University of Kentucky Libraries
  • Rachel Roberts, Photographer, International Dunhuang Project, The British Library
  • L. Somi Roy, Project Director, New York based independent media and arts curator
  • Rebecca Ryder, Head of Preservation Services, University of Kentucky Libraries.
DigitizeManipur is an international consortium consisting of:
  • The University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA
  • New York Public Library, USA
  • International Dunhuang Project, The British Library, UK
  • Cambridge University Buddhist Institute, UK
The team visited the Manipur State Archive as well as the private archives of Oja N. Khelchandra, Chanam Hemchandra, the People's Museum in Kakching, and the collection of the late Pundit Achouba Moirangthem Chandra Singh.

Manipur University organized A Colloquium on International Digital Preservation and Conservation & Scholarship In Manipur: An Exploration of an International Learning Community, with Manipuri scholars making presentations on Manipur's language and linguistics; historiography; culture; and environment and economic development.

The visiting team gave presentations on their work and institutions.

The colloquium was organized by
  • Professor Ch Yashawanta Singh,
  • Dr, Nongthongbam Premchand,
  • Dr. N. Aruna Devi and
  • L. Somi Roy.
Manipuri scholars making presentations at the colloquium included
  • Professor Ch. Yashawanta Singh;
  • Dr. Ch. Priyoranjan Singh;
  • Dr. Paonam Gunindro Singh; and
  • Professor Gangmumei Kamei.
See photo Gallery on this visit here.




* This information is sent to e-pao.net by L Somi Roy, a media curator based in New York and the Project Director for DigitizeManipur Project. This was webcasted on May 19th 2008

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