A major aspect of the VIS Program for gap students is Exhibition, an independent project. Long-established VIS connections with people and organizations around Ladakh benefit internships that allow VISpas to delve deeper into local communities, and contribute to the work of organizations and local society. Research is often undertaken jointly with SECMOL students. Final exhibition projects include written as well as audio/visual components, and are presented to students, staff and invited guests at SECMOL, and to various communities back at home. VISpas currently in Ladakh have chosen their exhibition topics, and this week will be devoted to in-field research and project time to culminate in presentations at the SECMOL campus in mid-November. This fall’s group of VISpas have taken some outstanding initiatives in their projects!
Exhibition Projects Fall 2010
Hannah Kay: Flood Relief Efforts. Hannah will stay with a family in a flood relief camp and work with children of these camps using art as a way to gain a better understanding of their coping methods.
Hayden Chichester: Changes in Buddhist Practice. Hayden will stay in a Monastery to follow monks in their everyday lives and rituals to discover their perspectives on change due to modernization in Ladakh.
Keegan Glennon: Tibetan Refugees. Keegan is interested in perspectives on cultural identity from second and third generation refugees. She will live with a Tibetan family within the major Tibetan Refugee Colony and collect stories from school children there.
Ruth McGovern: Geology, Natural History, and mapping of Himalayan Mountains. Ruth will study the geology and topology of SECMOL mountain and surrounding areas, and is interested how the natural landscape can be a source of inspiration for art and poetry. She will lead a hike to teach SECMOL students about the mountain’s flora and fauna, and their medicinal or culinary uses. She will also build a scale model of the SECMOL Mountain, including trails she will map out and name.
Conor Dinan: Housing and Urban Development. To research the effects of urbanization on Ladakh, Conor will interview individuals, and people within organizations such as the Tibet Heritage Fund, to gain a greater understanding of why people choose to leave their villages and move to the city. He will stay in Leh’s major Housing Colony, and create an optimal design for future development colonies in Ladakh.
Ellie Healy: Amchi Medicine. Ellie will live with an amchi (a practitioner of traditional medicine), and also conduct research at the Ladakh Society for Traditional Medicine, to learn about healing techniques, and the changes development has had on traditional medicine.
Emily Goldthwait: Islam v. Buddhism. Emily will interview leaders of both religions to understand conflicts that arise among Buddhists and Muslims in Ladakh. She will create a visual documentary about the Buddhist and Muslim households where she will stay.