Welsh and Khasi Cultural Dialogues: Mapping Methods of Performance

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    This paper will provide an overview of an intercultural, interdisciplinary project, entitled ‘Welsh and Khasi Cultural Dialogues’, conducted between scholars in Wales and India, investigating the shared cultural history of the Welsh people and Khasi people of north east India and the influence of this history on cultural identities. The context of research is the shared history spanning 170 years, from the arrival of the Welsh missionaries in the Khasi Hills in the 1840s, to the removal of all foreign missionaries from India in 1967, and beyond, resulting in a complex body of intercultural material. The project utilises creative arts practice, namely performance and film, to construct a ‘cultural dialogue’ between Welsh and Indian scholars, one that investigates and responds to their historical relationship.

    The discussion in this paper will concentrate on one specific area within the project, namely the use of performance studies as methodology – an ‘open’ interdisciplinary field – that provides a framework for folding together historical materials with commentary, enabling different voices to converse. The project enables an experiential encounter relating to the Welsh-Khasi intercultural contact, an approach that sits within a growing body of scholarship that uses art making as a research method offering complex and competing cultural epistemologies.

    The chief research question in relation to creative practice investigates the way(s) in which arts practice may be used to further an interdisciplinary understanding of the history of cultural exchange. By engaging in a series of ‘cultural dialogues’, utilising creative practice, the project aims to provide a space to discuss and respond to the way in which both Welsh and Khasi people have chosen to perform their cultural identities in the modern world. Further, it examines whether the convergences between arts forms that offer multifaceted readings of history are able to reflect the nuances and complexities of postcolonial identities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2016
    North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History Conference 2016: International Conference on Welsh Studies
    - Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
    Duration: 20 Jul 201622 Jul 2016


    North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History Conference 2016
    Abbreviated titleNAASWCH Harvard
    Country/TerritoryUnited States

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