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Dr Diemberger and Research on Tibetan Buddhist Book Culture

Dr Diemberger teaching a printing workshop, Parkside Community CollegeA team from the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit of the Division of Social Anthropology organized workshops on art and religion in primary and secondary schools in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, focusing on Buddhist artistic production, the cultural understanding of books as artifacts and ritual objects and on printing technology.  On 31 January and 5 February 2013, two workshops were organized for Year 7 students at Parkside Community College as part of a lecture series on Art and Religion taught by Mr Ed White (see photograph of children printing prayer flags).  Workshops of this kind were also held in Meldreth Primary School and in Melbourn Community College in October 2011. During the workshops children had the opportunity to see images of beautifully illuminated Buddhist manuscripts and illustrated prints, engage with actual Tibetan books, art objects, printing blocks etc. and print their own prayer flags.

Thanks to a series of projects supported by the Arts and Humanities Research council a research team from the Mongolia and Inner Asia Studies Unit (Division of Social Anthropology) and the British Library has been involved in the re-discovery and reproduction of Tibetan texts in Tibet, Bhutan and the UK. In addition to its academic relevance, this operation has had an immediate impact on the local communities through the preservation of cultural heritage, enhanced access and the reconstitution of lost collections. Tibetan texts that came to the UK in the 19th and early 20th centuries were repatriated in digital form to monasteries and academic institutions in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

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