Tamil Heritage Month at the UTSC Library - January 2023

The UTSC Library is proud to celebrate Tamil Heritage, not just in January, but year-round through our physical and digital collections, as well as unique opportunities for students. A few Tamil initiatives in the library are celebrated below!  

Kongu Nadu Collection 

Social Anthropologist Prof. Brenda Beck has dedicated her career to researching the folklore of TamilNadu. She has donated the digital versions of her research archive to the UTSC Library. The archive consists of photographs, audio, animations, comics, field notes, and  research publications.  

Between 1964 and 1966, she lived in the village of Olappalayam (ஓலப்பாளையம்), 6 miles East of the town of Kangayam in Tamil Nadu. During this time, Dr. Beck collected a wealth of primary research materials with the assistance of K. Sundaram.  

This collection, curated and described in collaboration with a postdoctoral Fellow at UTSC (Shanmugapriya) makes available images, documents, and digitized recordings describing festivals, ceremonies, and rituals. In particular, the collection of folksongs and folk tales  are distinctive to the Kongu Nadu region. Together, this collection provides a window into the cultural landscape of Kongu Nadu in the mid 1960s.

Explore the collection

Tamil Digital Symposium Event 

Hosted by the UTSC Digital Scholarship Unit, the Digital Tamil Studies Virtual Symposium on January 21, 2023, was open to the public and attended by individuals from across the globe!  

Digital Tamil Studies is a wide-ranging field of digital scholarship that engages interdisciplinary scholars, computing experts, and the public in the production of open research and resources in Tamil. 

This virtual event brought together our research and collections development community to promote projects and discuss the intersection of Tamil language collections and digital research.  

Presented in both Tamil and English, the symposium featured a series of speakers, as well as a workshop on Historical/Counter-Mapping QGIS.  

The recorded sessions will be made available online soon!  

Sophia Hilton Storytelling Fellowship 

The UTSC Library Storytelling Fellowship provides up to three students the opportunity to spend eight months immersed in the art and practice of storytelling. 

Our 2022-2023 Fellows, Senthujan Senkaiahliyan and Bhargavi Arora are currently planning this year’s story, to be released late-spring 2023.  

Senthujan Senkaiahliyan is a graduate student at the University of Toronto currently enrolled in the Masters of Health Administration program at the Dalla School of Public Health. He is also pursuing a masters specialization in South Asian Studies at the Asian Institute within the Munk School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. He previously completed an undergrad in human biology and socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Toronto. He works in the field of using artificial intelligence for health systems improvement and increasing access to quality and efficient health care. Furthermore he is passionate about Tamil studies exploring topics related to oral histories, generational migration patterns, and kinship relations. He hopes to promote storytelling methods to inspire Tamils in the diaspora to reconnect and preserve narratives within their own families. 

Bhargavi Arora is a psychology specialist co-op student currently in her second year. Even though she is from North India, she has always had a sense of admiration for the traditional Tamil culture which led her to learn Bharatanatyam professionally. She is a voracious reader and likes to explore classical literature from different parts of the world. Interacting with people from different cultures and learning about them is one of her favourite things to do. Bhargavi shared, “I am very grateful to UTSC library for providing this opportunity to learn from esteemed anthropologist Dr. Beck and for giving me a chance to exhibit my passion for storytelling and script-writing". 

Are you interested in storytelling? Applications are now open for the 2023-2024 Fellowship!  

Apply for the UTSC Library Storytelling Fellowship 2023-24

Interested in more Tamil collections? Check out our digital Tamil collections