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Talk by Prof. Christiane Brosius in the lecture series ‘Cultural Heritages of Human kind’

On January 27, 2020, Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius, director of the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project presents a talk about ‘Documenting Cultural Heritage: Urbanisation and Natural Disasters in the Case of Nepal” (Kulturerbe dokumentieren: Urbanisierung und Naturkatastrophen am Beispiel Nepal) in the lecture series ‘Cultural Heritages of Human kind’ organised by the Heidelberg Centre for Cultural Heritage.

Ceremonial reopening of the Char Narayan Temple in Patan on 29.01.2020

The Char Narayana temple (built in 1566) is the oldest multi-tiered temple on Patan Darbar Square. It was completely destroyed by the 2015 earthquake. In a remarkable effort, and within weeks after the earthquake, the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust (KVPT) and the Department of Archaeology (Government of Nepal) enabled its reconstruction, preserving and reusing all those historical materials that had been rescued. The 35 month-long rebuilding effort, executed by over 100 craftsmen, workers and professionals, was also facilitated with the support of SAI HELP NEPAL, the post-earthquake fundraising initiative at the South Asia Institute, Heidelberg University. The inauguration will take place in the presence of the Nepalese Minister of Culture and the U.S. Ambassador on 29 January 2020.

NHDP is proud that several of its team members have also been involved in the HelpNepal initiative. A more detailed documentation of the monument can be found in our open access database DANAM.

The Char Narayana temple before the reopening in January 2020. (Photo: KVPT)
The temple after the 2015 earthquakes. (Photo: KVPT)

New Article "Why Cultural Heritage must be Documented" by Christiane Brosius in Ruperto Carola

Ruperto Carola 15 (2019)

NHDP Director Christiane Brosius published an article in the latest volume of Ruperto Carola where she addresses the importance of systematic documentation of cultural heritage for reconstruction after catastrophic events. She highlights the relevance of NHDP in contexts such as Nepal after the earthquakes that hit the country in 2015.

Read more

Nashib Kafle takes part in GIZ workshop Knowledge Sharing for Sustainable Development

From the 6th to the 8th of December, the NHDP team coordinator in Kathmandu, Nashib Kafle, participated in the workshop Nashib Kafle takes part in GIZ workshop Knowledge Sharing for Sustainable Development organized by the Centre for International Migration and Development in cooperation with the GIZ.

Experts from India and Nepal presented their work experience related to the International Cooperation role of returnee experts in accelerating Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in both countries, knowledge sharing for capacity building, methodological tools for knowledge sharing, also in cross-cultural contexts, and the challenges and solutions to apply and achieve them within the projects.

Nashib Kafle was voted as the Best Achiever of the Year for the work developed in NHDP as a community of practice with a team with a diverse professional background working together towards achieving the Sustainable Cities and Communities and Partnerships for the Goals objectives stated in the SDGs.

NHDP presented to the German Ambassador at Nepal Research Bhawan

German ambassador Roland Schäfer (center) and Kulturattachée Paula Werner (2nd from right) at the Nepal Research Bhawan.

On Friday, October 18, German Ambassador Roland Schäfer and Cultural Attachée Paula Werner visited the Kathmandu Branch Office of the South Asia Institute – the Nepal Research Bhawan. In the course of the visit, which was meant to inform the delegation about ongoing projects, Christiane Brosius, the HCTS professor of Visual and Media Anthropology, presented the “Nepal Heritage Documentation Project,” located at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, and acquainted the Ambassador with DANAM, the “Digital Archive of Nepalese Arts and Monuments.” Former Cluster director Prof. Axel Michaels informed the Ambassador about the working procedure and the results “Documents on the History of Religion and Law of pre-modern Nepal,” a project at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Visit of Heidelberg Team Members in Patan

From October 12th – 20th 2019 members of the Heidelberg team came to visit the colleagues in Patan. An intensive week of joint field trips, specialized workshops, in-depth trainings, group meetings, and data entry sessions followed. The collaborative work and exchange were very important for all team members to better understand the different workflows and to implement further improvements.

One of the highlights was the “Photography for Documentation” workshop held by the renowned professional heritage photographer Ashesh Rajbansh. In this one-day workshop, he provided the NHDP photographers and members of the imaging group with a solid theoretical background and later guided the team through a practice shooting and a short excursus on image post production. Since documenting monuments in places like Patan often poses significant challenges to the photographers, this was an excellent opportunity for the team to experiment on location and get detailed feedback on the shots. 

Preparation for field work in Bungamati (Photo: Matthias Arnold)
The team gathered at the Kvaylāchẽ Phalcā, Sunaguṭhī
Photography workshop: Putting theory into practice (Photo: Matthias Arnold)
Photography workshop: Reviewing and discussing results (Photo: Matthias Arnold)

NHDP at CATS Opening

NHDP was represented at the CATS Opening with a table from the Nepal Research Bhavan

NHDP case study presented on Arcadia website

The Arcadia Foundation (funding source of the NHDP) presents a case study of the project's work on their website.

Workshop and Lecture with Bruce McCoy Owens

On May 22 and 23, Bruce McCoy Owens, associate professor of Anthropology at Wheaton College, visited the HCTS to participate in a workshop on DANAM and to give a lecture on “Intangible Heritage and Visual Repatriation”. He was hosted by the NHDP project and the professorship of Visual and Media Anthropology.

You can find the news item on Prof. Owens visit here.

NHDP launches first set of monuments on DANAM

The Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (NHDP) at the HCTS recently launched DANAM, the Digital Archive of Nepalese Arts and Monuments, with the aim of documenting the endangered cultural heritage of Nepal. Its datasets include monument descriptions, their history and iconography, architectural drawings, site plans and photographic documentation.

You can find more information on the launch here.

You can find DANAM here.

SAI newsletter reports on NHDP

April 3, 2019

The latest newsletter of the South Asia Institute (Heidelberg University) published an executive report on NHDP.

NHDP at E-Science Days in Heidelberg

Mar 25, 2019

From March 27-29, the Heidelberg E-Science Days 2019: "Data to Knowledge" will take place at the Neue Universität. On Thursday, Ina Buchholz-Chebbi and Matthias Arnold will present the Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (NHDP)  during the event’s poster session. NHDP focuses on the documentation of endangered historical monuments and aims at developing and implementing the first comprehensive inventory of endangered monuments. The project is based at the HCTS and in Kathmandu. Take a look at the poster and abstract for the E-Science days

NHDP added to "Kulturerbe digital"

Mar 06, 2019

The "The Nepal Heritage Documentation Project (NHDP)," which is located at the HCTS and led by the professor for Visual and Media Antropology, Prof. Christiane Brosius, was added to KULTURERBE digital.The platform provides information on digitalization projects of culural heritage based in Germany. It not only gives an overview of ongoing and completed projects, but also of digital collections, of institutions and organisations taking part in digitisation projects and of grant programmes.

Opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan in Kathmandu

Feb 28, 2019

The Nepal Heritage Documentation Project, based at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, is one of the cooperation partners that hosted the opening of the Nepal Research Bhavan in Kathmandu. The event comprised a reception, the vernissage of the exhibition "Opposite Dreams" and kicked off a two day conference. Read more...

Intern Charlotte von Waitz supports Nepal Team

FEB 14, 2019

Recently our new intern Charlotte von Waitz started her work with NHDP in Nepal. During her two-month internship at NHDP she is participating in the data gathering about phalcās (public resthouses) and ethnographic research about their usage by the local communities. Charlotte is a B.A. student of Ethnology at Heidelberg University and will support the project in Nepal from February to end of March.

NHDP Film Portrait on Television

JAN 28, 2019

During December 2018, shortly after its launch, the project was getting attention from "Campus TV". The German television station produced a film portrait, that was broadcasted on German TV in December 2018 and is now available with English subtitles. The film portrait features project leader Prof. Christiane Brosius and the project's system administrator Ashish Karmacharya talking about the background and goals of the project. Images of Patan from before and after the 2015 earthquake give a strong impression about the importance of sensitive documentation of cultural heritage for restoration purposes and also a wide variety of other purposes, such as research, tourism and urban development.

Prof. Brosius at SOAS Conference

DEC 28, 2018

NHDP project leader Prof. Christiane Brosius participates at the conference  "Epicentre to Aftermath. Political, Social and Cultural Impacts of Earthquakes in South Asia", hosted by the South Asia Institute of SOAS, University of London on 11-12 January. Besides her talk under the title "Art as participation, gift and resource: Nepalese artist’s engagement in post-earthquake Kathmandu Valley", she will also be chairing a panel "Producing Heritage" and representing the project at the conference.

Conference Schedule

Project Launch and Joint Fieldwork in Patan / Nepal

NOV 7, 2018

From 3rd - 9th October 2018, the Heidelberg team and all staff members in Nepal joined forces to launch the project and begin the process of documentation in Kathmandu / Patan. Architects, draftsmen, photographers, anthropologists, philologists, digital humanities staff and historians conducted field-work together with project leaders Christiane Brosius and Axel Michaels. In addition to this, the team established the infrastructures necessary necessary to facilitate close collaborative work across international borders.

Architect Padma Sundar Maharjan presents ways of documenting architectural measurements together with Sabina Tandukar (left), Axel Michaels (center) and Thomas Schrom (right). Photograph: C. Brosius, courtesy of NHDP.
Project leader and anthropologist Dr. Christiane Brosius with architect Sabina Tandukar. Photograph: M. Arnold, courtesy of NHDP.
Architect Thomas Schrom and project coordinator Axel Michaels. Photograph: C. Brosius, courtesy of NHDP.
Heritage architects Sabina Tandukar and Padma Sundar Maharjan taking measurements. Photograph: C. Brosius, courtesy of NHDP.
Weekly NHDP staff roundtable at the Nepal office with members of the Heidelberg team. Photograph: C. Brosius, courtesy of NHDP.
The documentation includes ethnographical data, such as local narratives and information about important rituals and community activities related to heritage sites. Photograph: M. Arnold, courtesy of NHDP.
Prof. Axel Michaels (r.) and photographer Yogesh Budathoki (l.). Detailed photographic documentation of all monuments is an important feature of the survey, and will be a central aspect of the database. Photograph: J. Alisch, courtesy of NHDP.

Funding Source