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IIT-Madras researchers lend a new narrative to AngloIndian

IIT-Madras researchers lend a new narrative to AngloIndian

  • 19th Jan 2023
  • The Times of India

CHENNAI: The Centre for Memory Studies (CMS) at IIT Madras celebrated two years on Tuesday. The Ministry of Human Resource Development funded lab inside the institute pioneers a process of learning called 'Memory Studies', an academic tool that uses memory as a lens to remember and understand past events, and discern the way that understanding shapes the future. Researchers study a range of things
such as history and cognitive studies.

Following years of research on the Anglo-Indians, Avishek Parui and Merin Simi Raj - associate professors in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, and faculty coordinators at the Centre for Memory Studies - have put together a 'phy-gital' exhibition on the community whose place and contribution continue to be significant to current day Indian society. "The Anglo Indians aren't just part of a
nostalgic past, but a living community," says Dr Merin Simi Raj. "The material curated for the exhibition is largely from personal collections from community members. We have also drawn from a range of sources and narratives that aren't accessible in official documents."

The exhibition 'Memory Bytes' is on at Varija Gallery, Dakshinachitra, till January 31. It explores the community's origins, their migration, their indisputable contribution to Indian education and industry, their art, music, food and rituals that remain unique and alive even today.

What is perhaps most dynamic about how you learn about the community in this exhibition is the way it is interlinked with extended reality (ER), which brings together virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) as tools to consume their stories. "We launched the AR-based app MemoryBytes along with the exhibits in September last year," says Dr Avishek Parui. "As the extension of the work we do, we use memory as a lens to examine heritage, histories, and lived experiences."