Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fall-Spring 06-07 Dushanbe Seminars

After an intense summer of field work in Badakhshan the TDI team returned to Dushanbe to begin archiving activities and seminar programs. Seminars in Video Production/Post-Production, English, and Anthropology were planned through March 2007. The activities were arranged with the help of Ms. Munira Chudoba our Tajik consultant in Dushanbe, and TDI’s new Administrative Director Mr. Jahongir Munzim who we welcomed onboard in September 2006. In October 2006 five new Tajik interns were invited to join the team. New members invited to the team for fall ’06 were:
Abdulnazir Turakhonov
Azamat Burkhanov
Gulya Ochilova
Kurbon Bobojonov
Zohidjon Ashurov

Our continuing Tajik team members:
Maruf Noyoft
Nasiba Imamnazarova
Safina Abdurazzakova
Dilrabo Shodmonbekova

TDI also invited members of the Dushanbe dance community to take part in seminars that were of high interest, such as the English and Video components. The TDI English classes were offered at the Padida Theatre facilities and the Anthropology Center at the Academy of Science. Ms. Maryam Gorbaieva, Padida’s principle solo dance artist, coordinated the participation of several of the younger Padida artists to attend English classes.

Mr. Mukhamadali Muzaffar Director of the Anthropology Center collaborated with TDI to create a series of seminars for the team in Cultural Anthropology that took place at the Anthropology Center in Dushanbe.

Independent film production company DomKino/KinoService designed and implemented courses in Video Production Technique and Post Production for TDI participants. During 06-07 Seminar Period Mr. Denis Beketov and DomKino Director Mr. Safar Khakdodov created a program model for teaching many practical skills for field recording, video editing and ethnographic film-making theory. DomKino intends to make use of the course material for future teaching. This highly successful collaboration with DomKino also provided unique opportunities for the TDI team to work on several professional productions and attend international workshops with the DomKino staff.

One of the most popular teachers over the 06-07 Seminar Period was our English professor, Mr. Dana Abizaid. His unique and creative approach directly addressed the needs of our team members for practical, situational specific, conversation and public speaking, while at the same time providing a strong foundation in grammar, and writing skills.

Sonja Hinz and Andrew Rick, two of the TDI international team members remained in Dushanbe through December 2006, taking an active role in the seminar process. The 9 interns formed three groups of three to accomplish work on student films featuring the materials and observations they had gathered during the summer field work in Badakhshan. In March 2007 the teams presented the product of their work in the form of three short videos at the DomKino cinema screening hall. This program included spoken presentations by the interns for an audience of TDI participants and other invited guests from the community.

Although the planned seminar period officially ended in March some of the activities were continued due to popular demand and need. English classes held at the Padida Theatre had a loyal following among many of the young students and artists of the group. Despite the fact that Mr. Abisaid was called back to the US to complete his University degree it was important that the classes continue. Mr. John Hickey took over classes at Padida on a semi-volunteer basis staring in April 2007. Both Maruf Noyoft and Nasiba Imamnazarova have continued to engage with the DomKino center on additional production projects as well.

Archives: 60 hours of videotaped dance, music and interviews are presently archived at the DomKino center in Dushanbe, additionally dubbed copies are archived in the US at the Afsaneh Art & Culture Society offices in San Francisco, California. Written field notes in digital format are also archived in Dushanbe with Mr. Jahongir Munzim TDI administrator and other Tajik team members, in the US with international team members, and at the AACS offices. Additional sites for archiving TDI materials that would be accessible to scholars and other participants are being discussed by the team.

In March 2007 Aliah Najmabadi, who returns this year as a member of the TDI international team, made a three-week visit to Dushanbe for preliminary planning with the Tajik team for the 2007 summer fieldwork. Facilitated by Aliah the Tajik team met to make decisions for participation in the summer sessions. Based on assessments made of the seminar work they had accomplished, degree of engagement, and availability of the various interns, a team was selected to return to Badakhshan for 2007 fieldwork.

Tajik Field Team 2007:
Nasiba Imomnazarova
Maruf Noyoft
Dilrabo Shodmonbekov
Welcome to our newest TDI team member!!:
Abdulnazir Turkhonov

International Field Team 2007:
Aliah Najmabadi
Heather Rastovac (part time participant)
Will (Yasin) Sumit
Sharlyn Sawyer

Robyn Friend, TDI’s assistant project manager arrived in Khorog in early June to set up a residence for the rest of the TDI team and to do some preliminary research in the Bartang valley district with the help of local dance director/choreographer and folklore consultant Ms. Mahingul Nazarshoeva. A lovely house was set up for the team in the small central city of Khorog. Based in this beautiful and peaceful location on the Ghunde river, (directly across from the bazaar in case you want to visit) the team will travel to the outlying districts, continuing the fieldwork begun in summer 2006. Also in the proposed plan for the end of the fieldwork period is an exploratory expedition into the Wakhan district and Afghan Badakhshan, across the Panj River from Ishkoshim. If time and resources permit an exploratory visit to the Yagnob valley in western Tajikistan is also planned, following the return of the team to Dushanbe in late August.