After our holiday break in August the Periodical bounces back with issues 11 and 12. I am really proud to present two books made as part of a pilot project I took part in last year in Papua New Guinea:
An Experiment in the Recording, Presentation and Circulation of Traditional Ecological Knowledge by Giles Lane and James Leach
Reite and Sarangama: Bodies and Healing by Boston Porer, Pinbin Sisau, Kambuing Pulumaming, Gayap Makon & Maria Teteti
I was invited by anthropologist James Leach to work with villagers from Reite and Sarangama on PNG’s Rai Coast to test our Diffusion eBook format (using waterproof paper) to devise a simple method for recording and sharing local knowledge in the rainforest. One book is a collection of scanned notebooks made by the villagers, with additional English translations; the other is an overview of the experiment in both Tok Pisin (PNG’s pidgeon lingua franca) and English. Two other books of scanned notebooks by villagers are also available online and to download in the TEK Notebooks Collection
As the overview book explains, our project is to devise a cheap and easy to use toolkit that village people can use to record and share (where desired) not just their Traditional Ecological Knowledge, but their Cultural Knowledge too. A toolkit designed to accommodate the exigencies of the jungle and the rainforest and that, as far as possible, is technology agnostic. These books demonstrate how sheets of widely available waterproof paper can be made into simple booklets that can be written or drawn on as well as having pictures or photos stuck on and can then be scanned and shared online via a platform like bookleteer. Where the hand of a local person is often lost in the recording and transcribing of traditional knowledge, these books show an alternative strategy that can be used to assist people document and share knowledge in their own style and way – not requiring complex technologies on the ground that can fail or get broken because of environment conditions.
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