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Our Projects

Learn more about our projects, collaborating with partners around the world/

Language and Nature in Southern and Eastern Arabia

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this interdisciplinary project examines the symbiotic relationship between local languages and nature in Southern and Eastern Arabia.

Modern South Arabian Languages

This three-year community-based project funded by the Leverhulme Trust is documenting the Modern South Arabian languages spoken in Oman and mainland Yemen.

Asian Vernacular Heritage Network

An international network of scholars interested in vernacular cultures from across Asia, and particularly in the highland areas at the confluence of South, Central, and East Asia.

Gradients of marine biodiversity and linkages with eDNA across the Wallacea

Dr Maria J Beger leads a NERC-funded project examining marine diversity in the Wallacea region. Learn more on the project's twitter feed: @WallaceaReefs

Moving Mountains

Focusing primarily on Latin America, this project explores towns and cities that have been destroyed, and created, by earthquakes, floods, and landslides. It charts the disappearance of landmarks that have been buried, and traces their transformation into new sites and spaces. It documents the evolution of communities that have come through catastrophe.

Phonetics and Phonology of Modern South Arabian

This project will produce a data-rich monograph for publication in the OUP Endangered Languages Series on the sound systems of Mehri and Shehret, two endangered Modern South Arabian languages (MSAL) spoken in Southern Arabia, with reference to other MSAL. Within the field of MSAL, the novelty of the project lies in the inclusion of data from male and female speakers with different geographical and tribal affiliations, and in the collection and analysis of audio, audio-visual and instrumental phonetic data.

Tibetan Sustainable Heritage Network

In recent decades, globalization and digital technologies have drastically altered the lives of communities around the world, whilst simultaneously threatening the existence of marginalized languages, traditions, and ecosystems. In response to these changes, grassroots activists, scholars, and national and international organizations have sought new ways to "safeguard" and "preserve" languages and traditions. More recently, "cultural sustainability"-based in equity, collaboration, and supporting continued practice and transmission of traditional practices-has shown promise for working collaboratively with communities to find ways to document and revitalize endangered expressive practices. However, while much research has been done with indigenous populations in the democratic West, marginalized communities in authoritarian contexts have largely been overlooked. This tendency to exclude the experience of marginal and indigenous communities in authoritarian contexts risks misrepresenting the nuanced concerns of indigenous communities at a moment of rising authoritarianism around the globe. It also risks misunderstanding how these communities, and how individual cultural brokers are actively working to keep endangered traditions alive in the face of both economic and institutional pressures.

Building on my established record researching expressive cultures and developing collaborative cultural programming in Tibetan areas of China, I will lead a diverse team of stakeholders including academics, and grassroots cultural documentarians, to advance scholarship on cultural sustainability through examining how everyday digital technologies can be deployed not merely as a threat to traditions, but also to sustain traditional knowledge. In developing and deploying new applications and content management systems we will create ways for Tibetans to document their own traditions. In then working alongside educators and tradition bearers to co-create methods that use social media and other everyday tools to support the transmission and continued vitality of traditions in Tibetan classrooms. I will use the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for the Tibetan Sustainable Heritage Initiative (TaSHI, the Tibetan word for auspiciousness), to conduct the first such large-scale investigation of cultural sustainability in an authoritarian context.