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“MAHE Deakin Jana - Pada” a virtual folklore festival and symposium curated by Dr Vikrant Kishore

“MAHE Deakin Jana - Pada” a virtual folklore festival and symposium was organized by Manipal Institute of Communication, MAHE and Asian Media and Culture’s Network, Deakin University.

‘MAHE Deakin Jana-Pada’ was a collaborative festival to celebrate, educate, investigate and create an awareness regarding the processes of cultural preservation and cultural change. This virtual festival was supported by Indian Council of Cultural Relations, Regional Office Benlaguru, Consulate General of India, Melbourne, Australia, Association Nationale Cultures Du Monde (ANCM) Gannat, France, International Dance Council, UNESCO, Zorenka Dance Association, Pensa, Russia, Mythic Society, Begaluru, India, Karnataka Chalanachitra Academy, Bengaluru, India, La Danza Integradora de Culturas, Bolivia.

The term jana-pada, often used in south Indian languages, refers to folklore, a rich aspect of any culture. An international festival of this nature is one of the best means to safeguard, promote and also diffuse the intangible cultural heritage. The cultural expressions through music, dance and performance contributes significantly to the enhancement of Karnataka’s cultural identity and diversity and such a virtual folklore festival provides an appropriate platform.

With over ten countries participating, the event represents opportunities of formal and informal contacts for exchange of ideas, for learning from other experiences and for international cooperation. Even though physical participation is not a possibility given the circumstances brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, this festival brought to the audience a near live experience. The festival showcased folk performers and cultural heritage films in the digital space, showcasing a curated collective. It was put together in an innovative and fresh manner in order to connect different parts of the word through this initiative.

Organised on the occasion of India’s 75th Independence year celebration titled ‘Azadi ka amrit mahotsav’. This unique and evolutionary international cultural folklore festival supported exchange of the folk traditions, dance, music, stories, and culture. The virtual festival turned into a meeting place of cultures; the participants provided insights to their folk traditions promoting a culture of peace, which was the primary objective of the partnering universities.

The MAHE Deakin ‘Jana-Pada’ consisted of two segments. The first one, being the Virtual folk festival spread over four weekends on Saturdays, from the 27th of November to 18th December 2021 for two hours each day.

The virtual folklore festival showcased dance, music and traditional storytelling presentations from more than 10 countries. The panel discussions focused on the cultural aspect of the dance forms, tradition, challenges, and its future. The discussion topics included themes relating to Nature-Culture, Rites, Rituals, Folk tales and Oral Histories and Cultural Heritage in Teaching and Learning.

As an academic output to the event, an issue of Global Media Journal Indian Edition will be dedicated to folklore research. Also an e-book with graphic representation of the performances and event write up will be published.

This event was curated by festival directors, Dr. Vikrant Kishore, Deakin University, Dr. Shubha H.S, Associate Professor and the Head, Department of Media Studies, Manipal Institute of Communication, and Mr. Shreeraj Gudi, Assistant Professor – Senior Scale, Manipal Institute of Communication.

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