|Exploring Cultural Diversity Through Film: The UBC South Asian Film Archives
Against the backdrop of recent world events which has galvanized our attention on Central and South Asia, it is all the more incumbent on us as educators to promote understanding and appreciation of cultural difference and diversity. The medium of film has an immediacy and engagement which makes it a potentially compelling pedagogical tool in this enterprise.
The objective of this proposed project is to establish a South Asia film archive comprised of films (from mainstream, alternative and documentary genres) made in South Asia to enhance teaching and research in innovative ways. In addition to the obvious enrichment to the curriculum with interesting new course developments, this project has three related objectives: the first is to develop a Web based database and Web page to facilitate resource sharing amongst various departments within the University community. The second is to give graduate students in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory hands-on experience through research (compiling and researching films for the archive) as well as gaining valuable IT training through the development of the web based database. The indisputable status of film as a primary driving force in the globalization of cultural expression needs to be reflected within the resources devoted to its study within the academic community. Our department has seen a marked increase in the number of graduate students whose MA theses focus on cross cultural cinema. The interest in film studies, within an interdisciplinary and cross cultural framework, demonstrates the cutting edge of scholarship and the development of a South Asian film resource center would be the first of its kind in Canada. A third and longer-range objective would be to develop the Archive into outreach for the greater community and for universities across Canada.
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Katherine Hacker, Art History, Visual Art and Theory, Faculty of Arts