2.0 SUMMARY OF PROJECT METHODOLOGY & PROGRESS
Phase 1 (Research – broad survey):
Outline: systematic investigation into Hampi region crafts. Field based research to survey and document crafts within a defined boundary, backed by expert interviews and literature review.
First craft was defined through primary and secondary sources. Primary sources included interviews with other principal investigators, field experts and craftspeople. Secondary sources included literature review.
The team then defined the survey boundary. Starting with Hampi urban core, it was extended to Hampi capital area, then to the boundary of the World Heritage Site (including core and buffer zones). This boundary is based on the extent of the Vijayanagara capital region, about 236 sq. km that includes Hampi and 29 revenue villages around it including 19 ‘camps’ and a further 6 towns/villages outside the boundary. The questionnaire which was initially planned to be a household socio-cultural-economic data gathering exercise was altered to craft cluster data gathering.
Before commencing the survey, two approaches were considered, object or site based and systematic field survey. The former approach was to choose a significant structure, like the Virupaksha temple, bazaar or royal enclosure and identify and document all possible crafts associated with this structure. The latter was finally selected as it would provide a comprehensive list of still living crafts and their practitioners in the region which would serve larger research interest and simultaneously an area would have been documented thoroughly. This would also be more useful to the Crafts Council.
The team undertook a horizontal study i.e. survey and listing crafts of the region through primary and secondary sources including interviews with NGOs and groups active in the area and a systematic village by village survey. The first point of contact was the Gram Panchayat, then the taluk bill collectors (craftspeople are exempt from certain taxes), the craftspeople themselves and finally village residents (esp. those assembled at the local ‘kirana’ shop). The results were indicated as both spreadsheet and map data. Besides geographically locating craft clusters the survey also listed crafts still practiced, the practitioners, community groups, tools and materials used.
As the study progressed the team considered different systems of crafts classification and finally Stone and Wood carving were shortlisted for Phase II.
Phase 2 (Research- in depth survey):
Outline: Indepth documentation of two shortlisted crafts. Shortlisting was on the basis of findings of Phase 1.
Stone and wood carving were documented in detail. Based on different systems of classification the team decided to document their three different aspects namely common man, elitist and religious. For carpentry this encompasses agricultural tool making, building craft (structural systems like columns, beams including doors, windows…) and temple chariot making plus processional idols. Similarly stone carving in its aspects of sculpture making and structural systems for houses and temples were documented.
Phase 3 (Data collation):
Outline: Craft data is being collated in different forms – text, video, audio, map-based, sketches and drawings including 3d and photo to enable rich digital media interpretation. Here we hope to collaborate with Technology Researches associated with IDH to create a usable digital archival as well as image-mapping and recognition model that enable research scholars as well as designers engaged in crafts easy access to the information.
Phase 4 (Wiki development):
Outline: A wiki based digital platform that can incorporate rich interactive elements will be built.
This phase of the project needs access to a high-level technology resource person for a long duration of time. Given the budgetary constraint, and a desire to collaborate four of the cultural projects headed by Dr. Vijay Chandru of IIACD, Prof. Cheluvaraju of Kannada University, and Dr. Annapurna Garimella, A.R.T. Trust and ours decided to come together to pool monetary resources of one lakh per project to hire the technology resource person. This person will work between all four of the projects to create a common and a specialized platform which functions as:
1. A common repository that accommodates for specific and specialized forms of data that are gathered by each project
2. A kit of tools will be developed to allow viewers various way to access and engage the data
3. This shared platform will be developed in such a fashion as to be able to customize open source software like but not limited to MediaWiki, Omeka, etc.
We have set up a website from our end which contains all project data. Currently only shared within the team as we figure out the best way to open it to public and ease of using the data in the proposed common repository.
Phase 5 (Project outreach):
Outline: This phase will concentrate on reaching our research to the public at large by creating a creative and innovative Hampi crafts-centric online end-user experience.
Status: Ongoing – conceptualization stage – we have discussed the nature of the end user experience, materials and systems of construction.
Phase 6 (User engagement):
Outline: This phase enables Digital Hampi experts and public to engage with our work. We would user test our work, and monitor how users engage with our prototype. Through monitoring usage patterns we would pin-point the problems of our prototype and what would be required to make it robust.