The Heritage Arts Initiative (HAI) of the Centre for Cultural Heritage and Tourism Studies (CHATS) is led by a multidisciplinary team comprising of a cultural anthropologist, designer, art historian, folklorists, artists, technologists, conservation and tourism experts. Its aim is to research, document, digitize, generate awareness and help conserve South Indian murals and other heritage arts. HAI also encourages and enables indigenous artists and other culture bearers to preserve their tangible and intangible heritage and benefit from it. It seeks to create greater respect and value for heritage arts, crafts, other living cultural expressions and wisdoms of folk artists, craftspeople, traditional healers and other culture bearers.

Given the goal of cultural democracy for all and the aim of facilitating fair and equitable access to art and culture spaces in urban and rural areas and generating greater awareness, respect and value for their community’s art and cultural heritage among the village youth and adults, the centre launched the following under its Heritage Arts Initiative:

Concerned about the increasing loss of murals and other heritage arts, HAI art and cultural scholars have been researching and collaborating with designers, technologists, conservation and tourism experts in digitizing and creating awareness of the value of South Indian murals in the following Indian Digital Heritage (IDH) projects:

  • IDH Vijayanagara Murals project (2011-2015): Research and digital archival of the tangible and intangible heritage of Vijayanagara and post Vijayanagara mural paintings in South India.
  • IDH knowledge Bank (2014-2016): This collaborative project with National Institute for Advanced Studies which compiles, curates and archives 20+ digital heritage projects that are part of the cross disciplinary multi-institutional Indian Digital Heritage initiative supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India is being executed by the multidisciplinary HAI team at IIACD.

The representation, organization and investigation of knowledge-bearing artifacts documented, annotated, narrated and digitized in both these IDH projects are enabled by multi-disciplinary methodologies of Digital Humanities.