June 2009


Table of Contents

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Give to NFSC

You can donate online to strengthen the National Folklore Support Centre.

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Events Calendar

We are glad to announce that we have acquired several films from the Magic Lantern Foundation for screening at the NFSC. We begin with ‘Bushman’s Secret’ (English(sub-titled)/ 2006/ South Africa/ 65 mins) on Tuesday, June 9, at 6 p.m.

NFSC will screen ‘Volume Zero’, a documentary on the life and works of Charles Correa, towards the end of June. The screening will be followed by a brief interactive session with Mr. Correa. Invitations to the event will be mailed as soon as the date is confirmed.

NFSC and Tamilnadu Thiraippada Iyakkam jointly present the films: Kontroll ‘Kontroll’ (Nirmrod Antal/ Hungary/ 2005/ Col/ 108 mins) on Wednesday, June 24, at 6 p.m. Half Moon ‘Half Moon’ (Bahman Ghobadi/ Iran/ Col/ 108 mins) on Thursday, June 25, at 6 p.m.

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NFSC Portal for Journals

Indian FolklifeA new issue of Indian Folklife on Multi-lingual Education for indigenous communities is up on our wiki as a pdf file and at our portal.

Indian Folklore Research JournalFull archives of the Indian Folklore Research Journal are available on the portal.

New issues of Namma Janapadaru and Mukt-Saad are also up on our portal.

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Volunteer at NFSC

We invite volunteers who can contribute online or at the Centre. Online volunteers can help with our website and wiki as contributors or editors. Volunteering at the Centre would involve helping organise programmes or workshops in colleges, schools or corporate houses. Those interested in volunteering can register online here or send in profile, bio-data, letter of interest, areas of work and experience and commitment of time to the address provided below.

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The Living Archive

Dear Friends,

In our last newsletter I asked you to follow me on an exploration of the big, booming world of social media. So how is social media organised? Twitter, for instance, has generated its own ways of classifying the information put on the site. Users can create and mark their updates with phrases or words called hashtags. Other users can then search for all information listed with or publish fresh information on specific hashtags. Information is classified through categories that users create, not the site-owners.

This is the same philosophy that animates our Digital Community Archives. Archives are living, breathing entities when communities build them, rather than institutions. Archives can organise, network and move out in surprising directions then. They can even dance. As part of our attempts to connect higher education and grassroots fieldwork through our archives, we are glad to announce that we are among the organisers of a workshop titled ‘Towards a Higher Education of Inclusion, Collaboration, and Community Engagement’ from July 2 to July 9, 2009. Applications are welcome. The Dancing Archive

Living Archives

The living archives of communities and cultures are growing in many ways. Above is a snapshot of the World Gypsy Music concert with Oliver Rajamani at the Narikuravar Archive in Villupuram. Oliver has worked with several nomadic communities and is investigating the origins of their music in India. You can find videos on YouTube and pictures taken by Manikandan, a Narikuravar boy, here.

More pictures have been posted online here. You can read the field report of the visit to Kerala earlier this year, that resulted in the production of ‘Nila Paranjathu’ or ‘What Nila Said’.

Our intern at the Kerala Archive, Abraham N. James, is researching the legend of the Paraya woman who mothered 12 clans. He has created our very first pages in Malayalam here and here! He has also uploaded an article that has appeared in the Matrubhumi about the community meeting that NFSC and, our collaborator for the River Nila Archive, the Vayali Folk Group organised with artistes and scholars on the directions the archive could take. Making masks for Seraikella Chhau

In Seraikella, NFSC fieldworkers were joined by photographer Ashesh Shah, during a recent field visit. You can find some of his photographs here – one photograph of the making of masks for the Chhau dance is displayed here on the right. You can read a poignant interview with a former Chhau artiste on our wiki.

You can follow the links from www.wiki.indianfolklore.org for regular updates on the archives.

Bringing Culture to Ecology

As part of our pioneering project to collate the ways in which environment produces and is produced by culture, we are in the process of collecting and animating 300 folk tales and narratives. You can seem some of the folktales here. All of them relate to animals, birds or plants that we will be describing at length in the Encyclopaedia Indica Kids: Culture and Ecology. The stories themselves are an amazing commentary on our relationships with or perceptions of the natural world.

Artistes Bhaiar Chitrakar and Sahajan Chitrakar from West Bengal were at NFSC to illustrate their stories with Patua paintings for the Encyclopaedia. The stories they have given us include fascinating examples of contemporary folklore – one tells of a displeased goddess and a tsunami she unleashed, another deplores the export of frog legs and the cruel manner in which frogs are left to die.


The Tata Fellowship selection interviews of applicants has been scheduled for June 15. The selection committee will also evaluate the presentations of the awardees of the year 2008-2009 on June 16. The awardees will be presenting to the students and faculty of University of Mizoram and the committee on the day. The NFSC Board Meeting was organised at Kerala, near the River Nila Archive, between May 28 and 30. Reports of the meeting will be available on our wiki shortly.

NFSC Fieldwork Officer Rayson K. Alex attended a conference on ‘Documentation and archiving the performing arts : Issues of Intellectual Property Rights’.

You can find his presentation titled ‘Civil Contract between the documented, documenter, the user of the document and technology’ as a pdf file here.

- Malarvizhi. J Programme Officer (Publications and Communication) NFSC

National Folklore Support Centre (NFSC) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, registered in Chennai, dedicated to the promotion of Indian folklore research, education, training, networking, and publications. The aim of the Centre is to integrate scholarship with activism, aesthetic appreciation with community development, comparative folklore studies with cultural diversities and identities, dissemination of information with multi-disciplinary dialogues, folklore fieldwork with developmental issues and folklore advocacy with public programming events. Folklore is a tradition based on any expressive behaviour that brings a group together, creates a convention and commits it to cultural memory. NFSC aims to achieve its goals through cooperative and experimental activities at various levels. NFSC is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation and the Tata Education Trust.

The NFSC is a member of the Credibility Alliance. For information on the NFSC Board of Trustees, Staff, Annual Audit Reports and details of programme development, click here. To unsubscribe from this newsletter, mail info@indianfolklore.org. You can also give feedback, suggestions or criticism at info@indianfolklore.org NFSC, 508, Fifth Floor, ‘Kaveri Complex’, 96, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai- 600034, Tamilnadu, India Ph.:044-28229192, 044- 42138410, 044-28212706 www.indianfolklore.org

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