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Ruhr University Bochum announces postdoctoral job for Gandharan art digitization project

Our colleagues at CERES (Centre for Religious Studies) at the Ruhr Universität Bochum, are launching a proof-of-concept project for the digitization of Gandharan sculptures in Pakistan and have advertised the following postdoctoral position. The project is co-directed by Dr Jessie Pons, a member of the Gandhara Connections Advisory Committee:-

Digitalisation Concept of Gandharan Artefacts (DiGA)


From 01.02.2017, a new project, DiGA, will be hosted by the Centre for Religious Studies (CERES) at the Ruhr University Bochum. DiGA is financed by the German Ministry of Education (funding line: “eHeritage I: Development of Concepts”) and is run by Jun. Prof. Jessie Pons (South Asian Religious Studies) and Dr. Frederik Elwert (Coordinator Digital Humanities). It includes one position for a postdoctoral researcher (75%) and two positions for student assistants (50%).


During nine months, DiGA will develop a concept for the digitalisation of a corpus of Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara (present-day Pakistan/Afghanistan) preserved in museums in Pakistan. Situated at the cross-roads of Art History, Religious Studies and Digital Humanities, the project sets itself two main objectives. Firstly, it seeks to prepare a repository of Gandharan Buddhist artefacts, thus testifying to the willingness to preserve the cultural heritage of Gandhara. Secondly, it aims at meeting desiderata in the study of both Gandharan art and Gandharan Buddhism. In this respect, it will evaluate software and metadata standards in order to develop a technical platform that will enhance the analysis of Buddhist images, particularly of their formal and iconographic features, and facilitate their comparison with corpora of Buddhist texts. The project thus strives to refine the perception of the Gandharan School, notably regarding the recognition, characterisation and classification of Gandharan styles, and to shed light on issues central to the study of Buddhism in the region such as the formation of Buddhist narrative traditions and the emergence of Mahayana trends.


DiGA starts small but thinks big! While the platform will be conceptualised on the basis of items in Pakistani collections, the long-term goal is to create a comprehensive archive of Gandharan art which includes also objects currently held in other collections. Using Linked Open Data techniques will allow to cross-link independent collections and analyse them jointly. Furthermore, similar techniques will be developed for linking databases on Buddhist textual material. DiGA endeavours to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration between Archaeologist, Art Historians, Historians, and Philologists. The project will come to a close on the 31.10.2017. Its results will form the basis for a follow-up application for the actual digitalisation of the artefacts.



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