With an aim to widen the network of professionals exploring India's cultural heritage, UNESCO along with Sahapedia, an open online resource on Indian arts, has launched a fellowship programme for students as well as scholars. The Sahapedia - UNESCO Fellowships seek to provide an opportunity for young people to expand their knowledge and encourage documentation of both tangible and intangible heritage. Through the initiative, UNESCO aims to create a community where professionals will engage people in discussions to generate critically researched, engaging content in multimedia formats that will be hosted on the Sahapedia website. "The documentation and dissemination of content on heritage are important to create wider public awareness and interest in heritage issues. "Through this partnership, we hope to encourage young researchers to generate new and critical content on tangible and intangible cultural heritage while highlighting issues in these areas that require attention or rethinking," Moe Chiba, section chief and programme specialist for Culture at UNESCO, said. The fellowships will be open to scholars, post-graduates, and graduates. "As the researchers are expected to look critically into the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of India, it will offer new perspectives with regard to the representation of cultural diversity of India," Chiba said. Interested candidates can apply for two different variants - the Sahapedia Project Fellowship (SPF) and the Sahapedia Research Fellowship (SRF), that give applicants the option of participating either at the level of primary documentation or in the content curation process. The applications for the programme open today and will close on July 15 for 100 available fellowships -- 80 SRF and 20 SPF. Sudha Gopalakrishnan, the executive director of Sahapedia said she hoped the research produced by candidates would significantly expand both the volume and quality of resources on the website. "It is a privilege to have the support of an organisation like UNESCO for our documentation and conservation efforts.
The aim of Sahapedia is to ensure that we are able to preserve in digital form and make freely accessible as much of the vast and diverse body of cultural knowledge in India as possible, especially about the lesser known practices and traditions in India," she said. The selected applicants will be given a scholarship of Rs 40,000, and Sahapedia Research Fellows will be offered Rs 15,000. The SPF project is expected to be completed in 12 weeks, whereas SRF assignment will be covered in eight weeks. "The fellowship provides a good opportunity to young researchers from different regions in India and smaller towns to engage with issues concerning cultural heritage," Vaibhav Chauhan, director at Sahapedia said.