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Launch of Archive of Languages and Cultures of Ethnic Groups of Thailand (LangArchive-TH)

Recently, ELDP Archive Support and Development Officer Vera Ferreira has been working on finding ways to make catalogues multilingual and inclusive. In particular, she and the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia at Mahidol University, supported through the Newton Fund – Institutional Links by the British Council, have been working on a new archive, Archive of Languages and Cultures of Ethnic Groups of Thailand (LangArchive-TH), which is structured and displayed entirely in Thai. All the interface, descriptions and metadata are linguistically available and specifically aimed for speakers of Thai, making it a leading example on linguistically inclusive archiving.

The Thai Archive was launched on December 17th 2019, at Mahidol University. The launch was integrated in the international conference on Language Diversity and Preservation of Cultural Heritage which took place on December 17th and 18th 2019 at Mahidol University and represented the closing up of the Newton Fund project.

Speakers at the archive launch were Dr. Mandana Seyfeddinipur and Dr. Vera Ferreira (representing the UK partner – ELAR, SOAS University of London), as well as Dr. Siripen Ungsitipoonporn and Ms. Buachut Watyam (representing the Thai partners – Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University). As part of the launch ceremony, there was also a talk by Prof. Gary Holton from the University of Hawaii at Manoa on “Documentary Linguistics, Digital Return, and Community-Based Archiving”.

During the Newton Fund project, which strengthened the collaboration between SOAS and Mahidol University and ended with the conference and the launch of the archive, 15 collections of 15 different ethnic groups in Thailand (Hakka, Tak Bai, Gong, Pattani Malay, Chung, SaekChongUrak Lawoc, Northern Khmer, KasongNyah KurKuyMokenAkha and Bisu) have been prepared and made available through the newly created archive. When it was launched, the archive contained  around 5 hrs of video, 7 hrs of audio, 88 texts and 138 pictures.

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