Academy for Democracy

    LVS 2016

    Rehabilitating Landscapes

    Economic constraints and pursuits; increased tourism and the subsequent transformation of local environment,
    nature and culture have contributed to the degradation of the natural landscape of Naran and Kaghan Valley in Northern Pakistan. Prevalent issues are deforestation, sanitation, and a growing culture of irresponsible tourism, which is destroying the living landscape of these valleys. Laajverd Visiting School will investigate how local culture and environment is embedded within the landscape and how can this co-existence flourish rather than fail. It will further investigate the potential of natural and cultural landscapes to contribute to a sustainable economic model for locals i.e. through the presence of precious stones, local craft skills and local practices and patterns. Natural and cultural heritage sites will be explored as the LVS participants work alongside the local population with the aim of generating knowledge and proposing alternate and effective possibilities of understanding landscape as a resort for rehabilitation.

     

    Projects

    During the Visiting School, participants are encouraged to work on individual inquiries, which may lead to a project. Thorough collective crit sessions and individual tutorials with LVS core team directed participants to develop their projects. Following are some projects proposed by the participants,

    Mapping Earthquake Narratives

    By Saba Mehmood

    Responding to an assignment given by the LVS core-team on collecting Earthquake 2005 narratives. Sabah responded in a creative way- she illustrated oral narratives of the Earthquake that were recorded over the course of the visiting school. Her drawings of the narratives presented details of the valley all the way from Ghari Habibullah to Battakundi. Through these narratives she also mapped architectural details of the houses from before the earthquake to the reformed ones post-disaster.

    Eco-lore; Story of a Deodar Tree

    By Sabeen Mehmood

    Sabeen used existing folklores of the area and improvised them keeping in mind the environmental threat that the landscape of Kaghan/Naran valley faces. She developed a detailed story touching all aspects of degradation of the natural habitat and by creating children as her primary audience. Her project proposes performative storytelling for ecotourism and to also spread awareness amongst the locals.

     

    Drawing the Imagined

    Maheera Ali and Usman Malik

    Maheerah and Usman mapped how art was being taught to the school children in the valley and how their understanding was being developed through the curriculum that was being taught. By conducting drawing workshops with children they tried to assess to what extent their imagination was
    being used in the drawings and they developed activities that involved listening to a folklore and drawing the characters out through imagination. Maheerah and Usman were interested in getting the children to draw what they have never seen before.

     

    Revolutionizing Teaching Methods

    Fahad Awan

    Fahad looked at the way government sanctioned education and teaching methodology played a role in the receding knowledge of the immediate surrounding in school children. Through workshops with the children by engaging them in creative activities, Fahad’s project proposes interactive teaching methodologies for teacher incorporating indigenous knowledge, fostering a healthy dialogue that can potentially inculcate interest for education in both local girls and boys.

     

    Writing Landscapes

    Anum Khattak

    Anum’s performative writings about the valley proposed documentation of the area in a creative manner. Her
    experiential writings evoke sensations of the landscape, the built environment, practices and memory. These writings will potentially be used as theater performances or published as booklet for environmental and cultural awareness of Kaghan Valley.

     

    Conservation of craft, identity and landscape

    Danial Khan

    Shari-making’, a hand-spun and hand-woven local shawl is the oldest and one of the few skilled craft available today in the valley. However this traditional skill is at the risk of dying out due to lack of attention from locals and monetary support from government. During our Crafts workshop field research we discovered that ‘Muhammad Mustaq Khan’ is the only living artisan practicing this craft, owning a dilapidated workshop in a small town at Ja’ared. We consider this as a serious threat to the identity of the Naran landscape and aim to develop an outreach project under which we can design, plan and improvise a micro business strategy, in order to preserve, sustain and expand ‘shari-making & maker’; creating a link with the local and international buyer as well as making it a tourist attraction activity.