Call For Research Proposals – Research Grant on Intangible Cultural Heritage for Food Storage in the SAARC Region

1. Background

SAARC Research Project Grants on Intangible Cultural Heritage for Food Storage in the SAARC Region was approved by the Thirteenth Meeting of the Governing Board of the SAARC Cultural Centre held from 28th to 29th November 2023 and at the Fifty-Ninth Session of the Programming Committee Meeting held in Kathmandu from 6th to 7th March 2024.

The Research Grants provide an opportunity for scholars, and researchers to conduct in-depth studies on traditional food storage/preservation practices used by different cultures within the SAARC Region. By studying these practices, we hope to better understand their effectiveness and potential for modern-day applications and environmentally friendly and chemical-free food.

The Research Grants will provide an opportunity for the Member States to explore new research areas along the intangible cultural heritage for food storage/preservation practices in the SAARC Region. Research findings can help the integration of these traditional practices into modern-day food storage/preservation systems for a more sustainable future.

Research and documentation of these traditional storage/preservation practices as intangible cultural heritage can contribute to the preservation of cultural diversity, promote sustainability, enhance food security and potential economic benefits for the local communities. This will help in preserving the cultural identity of traditional food storage and preservation, and promote diversity and understanding within the SAARC Region.

2. Research Questions

The Research Grant aims to address the following research questions:

2.1. What are the benefits of preserving traditional food storage/preservation and intangible cultural heritage for future generations?
2.2. How can traditional knowledge and modern technology be integrated to develop more efficient and sustainable food storage/preservation practices in the SAARC Region?
2.3. How can the traditional food storage/preservation methods contribute towards sustainable environments?
2.4. What are the key challenges regarding traditional food storage/preservation in the SAARC Region and how can these challenges be addressed to prevent food waste and improve food security?
2.5. How can the impact of modernization and globalization on traditional food storage/ preservation practices be changed?

3. Objectives

Through the Research Grants, the SAARC Cultural Centre aims to:

3.1. Encourage new research in the field of traditional food storage/preservation practices in the SAARC Region;
3.2. Facilitate new approaches to study traditional food storage/ preservation practices and explore ways to revive and preserve endangered food storage/ preservation practices;
3.3. Present innovative measures for the conservation and preservation of traditional food storage/preservation practices;
3.4. Identify the challenges and threats communities face in preserving the traditional food storage/preservation practices and how can they overcome them.;
3.5. To bring out the publication of the Research Final Reports and to be uploaded to the SAARC Website for free global access.

4. Research Grant Overview

The SAARC Cultural Centre invites academics and researchers from Member States to submit detailed Research project proposals (along with a detailed budget breakdown for US$ 3,000) for new and innovative short-term research projects on the ICH and Traditional Food Storage in the SAARC Region.

The selection of research project proposals will be carried out by a Team of Experts selected by the SAARC Cultural Centre. The first instalment of the grant (US$ 1500) will be made at the commencement of the Research Project. The final payment is subject to the review of the final presentation made to a team of experts via video conferencing and submission of the final research paper. Any suggestions/recommendations made by the SCC Team of Experts at this stage are to be included in the research process by the respective researchers.

Each researcher will be required to submit a Research Report on Academic Research quality to be published in the “ICH and Traditional Food Storage Practices in SAARC Region” publication series of the SAARC Cultural Centre.

5. Research Proposal Themes

5.1.Traditional Techniques and Knowledge of Food Storage/Preservation
The traditional techniques of food storage/preservation have been developed over centuries to preserve food for a longer period. These techniques vary from region to region like smoking, drying, pickling, fermenting etc. This session seeks contributions that explore the different methods of food storage/preservation practised in the SAARC Region.

5.2.Intersections of Food Storage/Preservation Practices with Cultural Identity and Heritage
Food storage/preservation practices are deeply intertwined with cultural identity and heritage preservation. This session encourages papers that reflect the values, beliefs and traditions of a community, making them an integral part of cultural heritage.

5.3.Oral Traditions Related to Food Storage/Preservation Methods
Oral traditions related to food storage/preservation methods are an integral part of cultural heritage. This session welcomes papers exploring the oral traditions that give insight into the cultural significance of food storage/preservation practices and their role in the community.

5.4.Sustainability and Resilience of Traditional Food Storage/Preservation Practices in the Modern World
Traditional food storage/preservation practices have stood the test of time and have proven to be sustainable and resilient in the modern world. This session seeks contributions that highlight these aspects of traditional food storage/preservation practices.

5.5. Gender Roles and Traditional Food Storage/Preservation
Gender roles have a significant impact on traditional food storage/preservation practices. In many cultures, women are responsible for processing and storing food. In this session, we seek contributions that address the division of labour that has resulted in different techniques and methods of food storage/preservation.

5.6. Revival and Preservation of Endangered Food Storage/Preservation Practices
There is a recent trend of revival of these practices due to their cultural significance and sustainability. Efforts are being made to preserve and promote endangered food storage/preservation practices to keep their cultural heritage alive. In this session, we welcome papers that examine the role played by various organizations and communities to preserve and promote endangered food storage/preservation practices.

5.7. Community-based Approaches to Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage Related to Food Storage/Preservation
The community-based approach to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage related to food storage/preservation is crucial for preserving these practices. Organisations and communities are coming together to document and promote traditional food storage/preservation practices. This session welcomes papers that explore active community participation in knowledge sharing.

6. Eligibility

6.1. Academics, Scholars and Researchers of the SAARC Member States.
6.2. Academics, Scholars and Researchers who have received Research Grants from the SAARC Cultural Centre previously within the last 5 years will not be eligible.

7. Application Process

7.1. Format for the Application is attached herewith as Annexure-1 (to be filled for both Seminar and Research Grant and Annexure-3 (to be filled only for the Research Grant) and available at the SAARC Cultural Centre website. (www.saarcculture.org).

7.2. All sections of the application are to be completed (Part- A, B and C). Incomplete applications will not be considered.

7.3. Each Member State can forward any number of Research Proposals for consideration.

7.4. Research Proposals should be for innovative and new research based on the themes mentioned above or on a new theme related to Intangible Cultural Heritage for Food Storage in the SAARC Region.

7.5. Application forms must be channelled through the respective Ministry of Foreign/External Affairs of the Member States and the SAARC Secretariat to SCC.

7.6. An advance copy can be emailed to the SAARC Cultural Centre- sccpublications@gmail.com or dd-research@saarcculture.org

7.7. All Research Proposals should reach the SAARC Cultural Centre by 20th June 2024.

7.8. The Research Grant will be distributed in 2 instalments – The first instalment (US$ 1500) at the commencement of the project and the final instalment (US$ 1500) after the submission of the Final Report.

7.9. The final payment is subject to the review of the final presentation made to a Team of Experts via Video Conferencing and submission of the final research paper. Any suggestions/recommendations made by the SCC Team of Experts at this stage should be included in the research process by the respective researchers.

7.10. At the end of the Research Project each researcher will be required to submit a research report of academic research quality.

8. Time Schedule

Deadline for Accepting Research Proposals – 20th June 2024
Selection of Research Proposals – 30th June 2024
Commencement of the Project – 10th July 2024
Mid-Term Review of the Research to the Team of Experts – (TBA) October 2024
Final Report – 20th December 2024

9. Focal Person at the SAARC Cultural Centre

Dr. Bina Gandhi Deori, Deputy Director (Research)
Email: dd-research@saarcculture.org/sccpublications@gmail.com

Annexure-1 & Annexure-3