A team of researchers has initiated the ‘Digital Shillong Project’ as a community-based pilot project aimed at safeguarding the vibrant history of Shillong. Under the ‘Sdad’ initiative, this ongoing collaboration involves scholars from the University of Melbourne, as well as practitioners in Meghalaya and beyond.
According to a report, the project, supported by the Unnati Research Collaboration Grant from the Australia India Institute and the Australian Government Department of Education, is a joint venture between researchers in Shillong and Australia, with key partners including the University of Melbourne, INTACH Meghalaya, and The Northeast India AV Archive.
The ‘Digital Shillong’ project envisions an online urban encyclopedia featuring a map of Shillong, curated collections of stories, and memories contributing to a collaborative digital heritage database.
Report suggests, ‘Digital Shillong’ aims to develop an interactive online gateway to the history of Shillong by utilising innovative digital humanities tools. The publicly accessible website will integrate historical maps, geo-located cultural heritage sites, annotated cultural summaries, links to datasets, and historical and contemporary images. Moreover, it will have the capacity for crowd-sourced data, emphasising the importance of impressions and nuanced details of the city.
The project’s overarching goal is to expand the potential of digital platforms to inform and impact our understanding of sustainable tourism, community, heritage, urban planning, and place-making. Key figures within the project team include NEHU faculty, Professor Desmond Kharmawphlang, Meghalaya Chapter of INTACH convener, Dr. Madeline Tham, Nathaniel Majaw from Northeast India Audio-Visual Archive, Prof J May, Dr. Mitchell Harrop, and Dr. Henry Reese—all from the University of Melbourne.