A Partnership between UBC and Punjabi University Patiala (PUP)
Theme: How do we know and experience the past? Heritage, Memory, & the Punjabi Landscape
Dates: 15 February -22 February 2019
Dr. Anne Murphy, Dr. Jaspaul Kaur Dhanju, and Dr. Parneet Kaur Dhillon
This undergraduate/graduate research conference explored the meaning and practice of “Heritage” in the Indian state of Punjab, in the context of its global configurations. The program commenced with three days of lectures and group experiences at Punjabi University Patiala (PUP) with a group of students from the University of British Columbia and PUP. We made visits to local historical sites in and around Patiala. After these days of reading, listening, discussion, and sharing at PUP, the group relocated to the city of Amritsar, where students visited local heritage sites; engaged in heritage-related interactive activities with local artists and heritage specialists; and visited the “Preet Nagar Mela,” an arts exhibition on view in the village of Preet Nagar, an artists’ community founded in the 1930s that now lies near the India/Pakistan border. Contemporary art works on view at the Preet Nagar Mela engaged with the legacy of Partition, the division of the cultural and linguistic region of Punjab into the post-colonial states of India and Pakistan in 1947. The works were developed through a series of artists’ residencies in October and November 2018 through a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the UK, “Creative Interruptions.” Students engaged with the people and places of Amritsar, Preet Nagar, and nearby localities to reflect on Heritage practice, and present their work along these lines on the fifth and final day of the program, at a half-day conference. Back in Vancouver, students were invited to present the results of their work at UBC and beyond in the Museum of Anthropology Visual and Material Culture Seminar.