Where in the World is ELAR? Docip and ELAR Oral History Project Collaboration in Geneva

This past November, ELAR partnered with the Indigenous Peoples’ Centre for Documentation, Research and Information (Docip) to create an online archiving platform using Mukurtu CMS. Senior Archive Assistant, Martha Tsutsui spent four weeks in Geneva, Switzerland, interning at the Docip headquarters as a consultant on the Oral History Project. The materials archived included digital heritage items collected from two symposiums (2013 and 2015) that brought indigenous peoples from all over the world together to share their stories at the United Nations in Geneva. At these symposiums, elders were interviewed and recorded by youth participants. The digital heritage collected from these events is now in the process of being archived on the Mukurtu site: http://bridge-to-the-future.com. The project focused on archiving the materials on a platform which would be useful to the community, user-friendly, and built according the community’s wishes and goals for archiving the materials. The majority of the site’s materials are open to anyone with an internet connection (with access restrictions on sensitive materials per the communities’ wishes).

Youth participants at the symposiums and subsequent workshops have committed to continue to collect digital heritage from their elders, which they can self-upload onto the mukurtu platform.

This video was produced from the 2013 Symposium:

Currently, the platform is still in the early stages and materials are still being uploaded. Docip planning to officially launch its Mukurtu site later this year.

Learn more about the Oral History and Memory Project here: https://www.docip.org/en/oral-history-and-memory/




Where in the World is ELAR: ELDP Yunnan Training

This week on the ELAR blog, Sophie Mu recaps the Endangered Language Documentation Project training in Yunnan, China. 

ELDP regularly runs in-country training courses targeting local scholars and language documenters. This year we had our first in-country training courses in Yuxi, China.

ELDP and our co-host Yuxi Normal University welcomed thirty successful applicants from all over China to participate in a two-week training in Yuxi, Yunnan from October 24th– November 4th. We were pleased to have participants working on documentation on many endangered languages in China, including those which have not been officially recognised by the Chinese government, such as Sadu and Xiandao.  The selected participants came from different backgrounds but with the same passion and devotion to language documentation. The participants were young researchers from universities in major Chinese cities, such as Guoling Chen, who had been working on documenting Miao rituals in Guizhou; teachers from borders like Legun Mu, whose work involves creating teaching materials for children living along the border line between China and Burma; and community members like Zhuoma, a Tibetan language activist who works to document her own language, Jiarong Tibetean, in Sichuan. For many of our participants, this event was their first opportunity to attend a language documentation training.

We were honoured to have six language consultants from Yuanjiang and Mengla whose languages are endangered and under-documented. We were also fortunate to have experts from different parts of the world who had had worked in China for many years, to join the training team. Throughout the training, all of our team members supported the trainees with their vast experience working on language documentation in China and practical knowledge of different linguistic tools.

Our morning seminars and lectures were run by Dr Katia Chirkova (semantics and lexicography, ELAN-FLEx-ELAN workflow); Dr Hilario de Sousa (Morphosyntax, FLEx); Ross Perlin (FLEx, Ethics); Dr Mandana Seyfeddinipur (multimodality of language use, video equipment, recording and theory, ELAN, grant writing); Felix Rau (ELAN, ELAN-FLEx-ELAN workflow, metadata with CMDI Maker); Jeremy Collins (documentation project); and Sophie Mu (language documentation, audio equipment and recording techniques).  Every afternoon, the participants were divided into five groups to work with their language consultant to practice the skills and tools they were taught in the morning, with two instructors’ help. In the evenings, the participants had a two hour slot to work with their team members, discuss their proposals with instructors and share their incredible experiences working in different communities.

During the last two days of the training, ELDP held half-day clinics to answer participants’ remaining questions and concerns. On the last day of the training, each of the five groups presented their mini documentation project.

The training received significant attention on local and national levels in China. Yuxi TV, Yunnan TV and Xinhua News aired interviews conducted with instructors, participants and the language consultants on TV, radio, websites and newspapers.

ELDP would like to express our gratitude to all language consultants, our Yuxi co-hosts, participants and instructors at the training. We are looking forward to seeing the proposed projects and our continued collaboration.


Where in the World is ELAR? Bali & Leiden Summer 2016

‘Where in the World is ELAR?’ is an ELAR blog series which recaps training courses and events in which ELAR staff participate and attend. This summer, ELAR Director Mandana Seyfeddinipur led workshops in Bali, Indonesia and Leiden in the Netherlands.

Bali, Indonesia:                                                                                                            Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Head of ELAR, led a three day training at Udayana University at The Linguistic Society of Indonesia International Conference. The Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) provided scholarships for local students so they could travel to Bali and attend the training and the conference. 28 students from all over Indonesia and Papua New Guinea attended the training. Mandana led workshops in basic language documentation, including audio and video recording techniques and grant writing.




Trainees brainstormed possible future ELDP projects

Leiden, Netherlands:
Mandana led a two day language documentation and video training at The 11th Leiden Summer School in Languages and Linguistics. This training was organized in collaboration with Prof. Maarten Mous of Leiden University. Over 20 students attended from all over the world including an archaeology PhD student who works in Sudan and whose work involved interviewing the local community about their views of the archaeogical site.