Kalasha Kaleidoscope

Location : On The Web

Laajverd’s approach to the digitization of cultural assets is based upon recognizing and addressing the cultural landscape. Cultural landscapes and the assets within it are formed through alliance of community culture (Habjanič and Perko, 2018) and seen as places of traces and collective memory (Wylie, 2009) endowing objects and artefacts with certain attachments and value for the inhabitants. Cultural landscapes are formed through relations between social, material, tangible and intangible practices and act as ‘a socio-cultural repository unlocks a dialogue between our time and traces of the past. These traces are present as ‘live sensors’ not only in the land form, stones, water ways, vegetation and soil layers but also in the cultural practices and living patterns of the inhabitants of the landscape; (Hussain, 2016). Following Hussain’s (2019) approach to assessing objects and artefacts in relation to their environment, the design of the Kalasha assets for the website has been carefully planned to highlight Kalasha cultural assets in relation to their histories, networks, associated practices, materials and meanings rather than identifying them in silos. Narrating cultural assets through host communities’ by addressing Sustainable Development Goal 11.4 on cultural heritage, as well as paving way for 8.9 which calls upon nations to “by 2030 devise and implement sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products”. In remote mountain areas like Kalash valley where there is limited infrastructure, lack of training in service sector and limitations in regional mobility as well as lack of awareness and mechanisms for safeguarding cultural heritage, the tourism sector has yet to reach a desired level. The digitization of cultural assets of Kalash Valley ensures awareness and knowledge transfer to educate tourists as well as academia, policy and third sector. This project was funded by the UNESCO in Pakistan and led by Zahra Hussain and Fatima Hussain. Visit the website http://kalashakaleidoscope.org/

Etho-Ecologies; Building shared futures

Location : Laspur Valley, KPK, Pakistan

Laajverd Visiting School in 2018. Natural/Social entities and the environments they inhabit must be engaged with equally – if a shared future is to be considered for human and non humans. In times when disaster events are escalating beyond human’s governable capacities, and when debates on climate change, risk and resilience are intensifying, there is a felt urgency that actions must be taken towards building sustainable futures. A greater importance is being afforded to natural entities that are governed by human societies but upon which they also depend. To begin thinking about a shared future, in LVS 2018, we seek to understand the composition of environment and the social, cultural and natural landscapes; what do these consist of and how can we think collectively with nature and culture. Engaging with the concept of etho-ecologies, we will focus on natural environment, culture, architecture and natural landscapes to identify correlations, interdependencies and potential synergies upon which we might speculate a shared future. Laajverd Visiting School under the Academy for democracy project is led by Zahra Hussain since 2013.

Cultural Heritage Management

Location : Laspur Valley, KPK, Pakistan

A series of consultative workshops on cultural heritage management were conducted with local communities in Laspur which resulted in a Museum learning pack for local school children developed by Yumna Sadiq, and a guidelines document on local tourism management developed by Abdullah Aslam. Session 1: Learning in Museums Hosted by Batool Ali and Amirullah Yaftali This is an outreach workshop for local school teachers and elders hosted by Laajverd, led by Batool Ali and Mr Amirullah Yaftali and Co-convened by Fatima Hussain and Zahra Hussain. The workshop is designed to create an awareness of ‘learning’ from museums especially for children. It will address questions such as how can museums become a learning experience for children, how can the space and objects facilitate a learning environment and how can the local community make effective links with its historic cultural landscape? The workshop will develop learning exercises for school children. Session 2: Local Music, Cuisine and Crafts Hosted by Laajverd and Local community This session will introduce participants to the local musical culture, instruments and local tunes by the musicians in the community. The session will be followed by a musical performance. Likewise, the local cuisine session will introduce participants to the local food recipies followed by a tasting event. The locals will also exhibit their crafts and introduce the participants to local techniques of crafting. Session 3: SME and Tourism Hosted by Abdullah Aslam and Asif Yaftali This is a two-part session which includes a briefing from Mr Aftab Rana and a follow-up session with local community to understand how they are experimenting and envisioning economies attached to their cultural respository; skills, knowlege and landscapes. The session is aimed to envision a sustainable Cultural Heritage Management Plan in the face of development in Laspoor Valley.