#CultureForAll Conference on Cultural Mapping

Register here:

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding the #CultureForAll Conference on Cultural Mapping on 28 and 29 September 2021. Sahapedia’s collaborators for the conference include the Centre for Social Studies (CES) at the University of Coimbra, Azim Premji University, the Centre for Internet and Society, and the Re-Centring AfroAsia project at the University of Cape Town.

Cultural mapping is a set of activities and processes for exploring, discovering, documenting, examining, analysing, interpreting, presenting, and sharing information related to people, communities, societies, places, and the material products and practices associated with those people and places. It was recognised by UNESCO more than a decade ago as a crucial tool in sustaining the tangible, intangible, and natural heritage of the world.

In early 2021, we issued an open call and invited papers from interested researchers, academicians, and practitioners across three themes: (a) Cultural mapping—theory & practice, (b) Technology for cultural mapping, and (c) Mapping Matters. Over 60 papers were submitted and some in each category were shortlisted, and one paper in each category was given a monetary award. The conference will feature select papers from these submissions and the papers will subsequently be published by Sahapedia and the Centro de Estudos Sociais (CES) at the University of Coimbra.

Featuring 15 papers across 4 sessions, the conference will present research primarily from South Asia with some papers discussing experimental mapping techniques in Africa and Europe. Sessions will be chaired by academicians from among our collaborators and promise to interrogate, discuss, and reflect upon the complex questions of who, what, how, and for whom to map culture. Speakers at the conference will present work ranging from literature in Nagaland and food in Goa to music in South Africa and architecture in Delhi. They include researchers in history, literature, and music, as well as architects and educators. The conference will be hosted digitally, on Zoom, and all those interested in attending are welcome to register here and join us.

The Cultural Mapping Conference is part of the ongoing #CultureForAll (CFA) festival by Sahapedia, and we hope you can join us for other CFA events as well.


28 Sept - Tuesday
2:30-3 pm Opening remarks & Presentation by Sahapedia
3-4:15 pm Session 1 : Mapping Technologies, Tools and Approaches
Chair: Uthara Suvrathan, Azim Premji University
  Application of GIS technology for cultural mapping: the case of havelis in Shahjahanabad
Gianluca D’Agostino and Shubham Mishra
  Indian Community Cookbooks: Cultural Mapping of India's Culinary History
Ananya Pujary, Khushi Gupta and Muskaan Pal
  ICH Discovery: tools to integrate and share ICH archives with QueryLab
Artese Maria Teresa
  Mapping Indigenous Robben Island, the Khoekhoe and the Discovery of the Tip of Africa: GIS as Method for Cultural Preservation, Dissemination, Decolonization and Sustainability
Janie Cole
4:15-4:30 pm Break
4:30-5:30 pm Session 2 : Mapping Matters: Possibilities and Impact
Chair: Cláudia Pato de Carvalho, CES, University of Coimbra
  Cultural Mapping and Experiential Learning: Redefining Holistic Education
Sachika Ghosh
  The Poet's City: Mapping Kala Ghoda Poems and Uneven Development in Bombay
Saranya Subramanian
  Mapping of material memory by keeping individuals as stakeholders and its social, educational and personal impact
Veena Choudhary
29 Sept - Wednesday
2:30-2:45 pm Presentation by Nancy Duxbury (CES, University of Coimbra) on the Cultural Mapping Conversations series
2:45-4 pm Session 3 : Cultural Mapping: Theory and Practice
Chair: Puthiya Purayil Sneha, Center for Internet & Society
  Ground Tests: Using Cultural Mapping as an Interdisciplinary Approach for Jhabua
Shafali Jain
  Approaches to Cultural Mapping: A case of heritage markets in Bangalore, Karnataka and World War I memorials in England
Roshini Muralidhara
  The Goan pão: A cultural identity
Natasha Maria Gomes and Ajita Deshmukh
  The E-turn of the Naga English Literature: Easterine Kire and Culture Production
Nilanjana Chatterjee
4-4:15 pm Break
4:15-5:30 pm Session 4 : Historic Cities and Regions: Built Heritage and Beyond
Chair: Sidh Losa Mendiratta, CES, University of Coimbra
  Cultural mapping and evaluation of cultural resources for sustainable historic cities in India
Smita Babar
  Locating Khwajasaras (eunuchs) on the Map of Indian Built Heritage
Lubna Irfan
  Cultural Heritage Mapping as Pillar of Development: Case of Braj Region
Ridhima Bajaj, Archana Sharma, Nupur Bhatnaga
  Building Communities through Art & Culture - A Case of Bandra
Minaz Ansari
5:30-5:45 pm Presentation by Puthiya Purayil Sneha (The Centre for Internet and Society) on the Access to Knowledge Programme, and a 'Report on the State of the Internet's Languages'? (in collaboration with Whose Knowledge? and Oxford Internet Institute)
5:45-6 pm Closing remarks


Past Conferences

Background: Sahapedia in collaboration with the Azim Premji University, The Centre for Internet and Society and the University of Cape Town is inviting papers in cultural mapping for the Culture For All conference scheduled to be held in March 2021. 

Cultural mapping is a set of activities and processes for exploring, discovering, documenting, examining, analysing, interpreting, presenting, and sharing information related to people, communities, societies, places, and the material products and practices associated with those people and places. It was recognised by UNESCO more than a decade ago as a crucial tool in sustaining the tangible, intangible, and natural heritage of the world.

However, the exercise is either used inadequately or rarely highlighted in the Indian context thereby limiting accessibility to peer-reviewed work in this area. As part of the #CultureForAll festival and conference, an open call for research papers and action projects in cultural mapping is being made to consolidate knowledge created till date in India and regions with similar cultural history like Asia and Africa. Cultural mapping and documentation are intricate processes that attempt to solve complex questions of who, what, how, and for whom to map. We hope these papers will carve out a space to interrogate, discuss, and reflect upon the same.

Another central objective of reviewing work in this area is to develop a mapping toolkit/guide that can help make cultural documentation accessible to anyone interested. Without being prescriptive or lending itself to a homogenous practise, the toolkit/guide would be a way to bring together varied approaches, contexts, and innovations in the field. In a sector like culture where financial and non-financial resources are insubstantial, we believe this toolkit/guide will give organisations and individuals a clear roadmap for future mapping projects.

Themes: All interested academicians, researchers, PhD students, and practitioners are invited to submit their papers under any one of the following themes. All papers will be evaluated by a review committee and select papers in each theme will be awarded INR 10,000 and presented in the #CultureForAll conference. Papers will also get an opportunity to be published in respected peer-reviewed journals and Sahapedia's web platform.

  1. Cultural Mapping—Theory & Practise: There is no fixed way to map cultural resources and the approach can be multi-fold. Efforts can also vary in terms of community involvement and collaborative processes. Papers submitted under this topic should explore and elucidate the theoretical and methodological frameworks used in mapping, with an emphasis on issues and challenges faced, the extent of community engagement, and the impact of such projects in policymaking and society, if any.

  2. Technology for cultural mapping: Technology and digitisation have shifted approaches to culture and heritage and the recent pandemic has made it indispensable to the society at large. Papers are invited on issues related to techniques and technologies for preservation, management and dissemination of cultural heritage with a focus on innovation and social equity specifically for the Indian context.  

  3. Mapping Matters: Evaluating impact of cultural mapping applications: Cultural mapping provides rich cultural data by creating resource inventories that helps address varied issues like sustainability, intergenerational conflict, alienation of youth, and the role of women in society. It can create opportunities for communities to affirm identity and pursue land rights. Cultural mapping can be an informative classroom activity for children, and a valuable methodology for academic research. As a policymaking tool, it can be used to enhance and conserve heritage sites while promoting new tourism development approaches. Papers submitted under this topic should illustrate how cultural mapping has been used in areas like education, tourism, placemaking, conservation, and skilling, the issues and challenges faced, how impacts are measured, and the metrics associated with such measurement.


Important dates:  

  • Call for papers: November 16, 2020
  • Last date for submission: February 15, 2021
  • Announcement of final selection: By the second week of May
  • Presentation of select papers: During the Culture For All Fest

 If you have any questions, please contact us at

Eligibility & Selection: All interested academicians, researchers, PhD students, and practitioners are invited to participate in the call for papers. Papers should be submitted in English and will be reviewed for their originality, relevance, and clarity. Works that have been published earlier or are found to be plagiarised will not be accepted. The submission should include a paper of not more than 3,500 words along with a presentation for the same. Please email submissions to with the subject ‘Paper Submission: <Theme> <Applicant’s Full Name>’.

Annexure 1 - Submission Requirements

A two-day inter-disciplinary conference organized by the Department of Liberal Arts, IIT-Hyderabad and Sahapedia

November 28 & 29, 2019

Concept Note

As technology has transformed the relation between information and everyday life in the Indian subcontinent, scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities are exploring how digital content is reconfiguring the nature of knowledge, its production and representation, and the effect digital ways of knowing have upon historiography, aesthetics, language, culture and heritage, and human life, contemporaneity and thought. This conference is conceived as a dialogue between different disciplines, towards integrating emerging strategies into the production of digital content and its information architecture.

Sessions are devoted toassessing the affordances and the limitations of digital media and online platforms in making knowledge production a reflexive and collaborative enterprise, archiving contemporary art, and a more inclusive social history of knowledge. Bringing together experts in conservation, community building, environmental sustainability and education, the conference is envisioned as a platform to facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices based on region-specific case studies. 


The full programme of the conference is available here.

In January 2019, Sahapedia collaborated with India International Center and the Centre for Escalation of Peace to organize a 2 day conference and a 5 day exhibition on Guru Padmasambhava.

Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche (Precious Master) or the Sage of Himalayas, is believed to have lived in the 8th century BCE and spread the message of Gautam Buddha across the Himalayan belt, including Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in India, and Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet further north. One of the foremost figures of Vajrayana Buddhism and considered by many to the Second Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava is revered for spreading the message of Dharma and for the rich legacy of monuments, relics, myths and folklores associated with his spiritual and religious work.

With speakers from Nepal, Bhutan, India and Thailand, the conference papers highlighted practices associated with Padmasambhava’s teachings and the academic work of tracing the history of legacy of the figure venerated as Guru Rinpoche. Session themes included Buddhism and its Local Contexts, Texts and Commentaries and Iconographies of Guru Rinpoche. Dasho Karma Ura gave the keynote address and opened the conference—which also marked the 50th year of Indo-Bhutan relations. The event was open to all and over 300 people attended sessions over the two days of the conference. The conference came to a close with a valedictory session by the most venerable Samten Dorji.

The conference was accompanied by an exhibition of thangka paintings, sculptures and photographs associated with the sage. Exhibits were generously loaned by both private individuals and collections, including the Tibet House, the Palpung Sherabling Monastery, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, Tsurphu Labrang and His Majesty’s Secretariat, Bhutan. The exhibition, mounted at the IIC art gallery, was on display between January 29 and February 3, 2019.


The full program of the conference is available here.


Between October and December 2018, Sahapedia collaborated with Uru Art Harbour and Sri Sankaracharya Sanskrit University (Kalady) to organize a conference exploring traditions of aesthetic thought in Malayalam. The conference was curated by Dr. C Venkiteswaran. The event, open to all, was held over four days and over fifty college students participated. The first round of the Conference was held on October 20-21, 2018 and the second round was held on November 10-11, 2018, at Uru Art Harbour, Mattancherry, Kochi. The Conference covered a wide range of topics related to aesthetic thought in Malayalam and its roots in both ancient Indian aesthetic philosophy and western thought. 

Speakers in the first round of the conference, in October, included eminent scholars from Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University such as Dr P.V. Narayanan on Indian Aesthetic Thought, Dr N. Ajaykumar on Art Forms of Kerala and Indian Aesthetic Traditions and Dr. Sunil P. Elayidam on Art and ‘the new world’.  Dr P.S. Radhakrishnan from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, delivered a talk on Kuttikrishna Marar and Literary Criticism in Malayalam. 

During the second round in November 2018, Dr C. Rajendran delivered a lecture about the Contributions of M.P. Shankunni Nayar Towards Aesthetic Thinking. Other speakers and talks included Dr T.T. Sreekumar on M. Govindan and Dialogue on Malayali Modernity, Dr K.G. Poulose on Performance Arts in Kerala and Dr T.V. Madhu on the Leftist Journeys in Aesthetic Thinking in Malayalam.

The full program of the conference is available here.