Urban Heritage Mining

Initiation of Dapha tour in Kirtipur, Urban Heritage Mining Summer School, 2022

Our team engaged actively in the international summer school ‘Urban Heritage Mining’ in Kathmandu in September 2022. The 8-day-long event was mainly organized by Dr. Stefanie Lotter (SOAS University of London) and Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius (HCTS), both PIs in the international research project “Heritage as Placemaking. The Politics of Solidarity and Erasure in South Asia. ” It was supported by funding from Heidelberg University’s Flagship Initiative ‘Transforming Cultural Heritage,’ and conducted in collaboration with the DAAD-funded partnership ‘Urban Transformation and Placemaking: Learning from South Asia and Germany’. The goal of the summer school was to offer on-site training in the critical practice of ‘urban heritage mining’, a dynamic, multidisciplinary approach to collecting, interpreting, and working with intangible and built heritage. ‘Urban mining’ is the process of recovering rare materials through treatment, upcycling, or extracting what has been termed waste material. In an analogy to ‘urban mining’, the summer school ‘Urban Heritage Mining’ is concerned with rare materials engaging with various forms of heritage in the Kathmandu Valley. The summer school was attended by over 20 graduate students in social sciences and other fields of study (including heritage studies, archival and museum studies, sociology and anthropology, urban design, art and curatorial studies, and history), as well as heritage professionals and activists. The international and local teaching teams worked closely with participants to identify their requirements to train individual academic or professional skills. The intensive, week-long program was partly research-based, with field visits to heritage sites and archives and opportunities to learn how to trace intangible heritage to create a legacy. Participants were introduced to a wide range of heritage activities in the Kathmandu Valley. They explored layers of history at the Patan Museum, attended workshops in the Taragaon Museum and Nepal Architecture Archive, studied heritage activism in Sunaguthi, and were introduced in Kirtipur to the Dāphā music tradition, organized by Folk Lok and featuring musical groups such as Tahnani Dāphā Khalah.

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