Following our visit to KCL, we were had an inspiring chat with Sally Daultrey who serves as director of research services for the newLadakh International Centre, The centre is providing a neutral and impartial forum for exchange of research and evidence-based debate about key social and environmental issues across High Asia. Crucially, the centre provides access to international research services to support scholars across the region and support their research, particularly among young scholars and in local languages. (the newly constructed centre building pictured below)
Sally shared with us some perspectives about the active and dynamic engagement through social media by young people in Leh, on local and global issues and opportunities – equality, unemployment, entrepreneurship and innovation – and internal identity, for example uploading historic family photographs to facebook. Forums such as Ladakh in the media provide a space for all voices and ages, challenging the homogenised portrayal by touristic media outlets of mountains being places inhabited by simple, nomadic people.We spoke about our intentions to make our findings as useful to the local community as possible, and resolved to produce a condensed version of our research that might be of practical use for example to planners (particularly on villages that have not yet been formally studied) and most importantly, translated into Zanskari.
Sally’s real passion for and belief in an ambitious future for this region came across strongly and gave us some crucial food for thought about the cultural context of our project in particular.
For more on how technology is allowing new voices to emerge in Ladakh, have a read of this interesting essay from the IPCS, assessing the role of social media in creating social change in the Kargil region