Arya Burt is Archivist for the OCHS Hindu Archive. Arya gained her Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in psychology and sociology from the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 1991. She then went on to complete a Master of Arts Degree in psychology at the University of Sydney in 1992. Arya completed work on setting up a small archive in Philadelphia, USA in 2001 and established a lending library at the College of Vedic Studies near London in 2002. Arya is enthusiastic to see the history of Hinduism in the United Kingdom preserved and promoted, and is working towards setting up the Hindu Archive and Hindu oral history projects, as a valuable resource which will help meet this goal. She is currently pursuing a DPhil in Religious Studies at the University of Leeds.
Hindu Archive Project
What is the Hindu Archive?
The Hindu Archive is part of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS). The Centre is committed to preserving all aspects of Hindu culture and will establish a number of specialized archives to achieve this goal. The Hindu Archive is a collection of official documents, letters, diaries, memorabilia, newspapers, newsletters, photographs, audio and videotapes, films, CDs, and DVDs, that capture the history of Hindus in Britain and beyond. These materials have been generously donated by individuals who wanted to see their collections become part of an archive that documents the history of their culture and their community.
Why have a Hindu Archive?
The Hindu Archive has been established to preserve the unique history of Hinduism. This material can then be used by scholars and researchers, and it is envisaged that the preservation of this history will help develop the sense of community amongst the Hindu community itself.
Who can use the Archives?
The archives will be accessible to everyone, including scholars, researchers, the media, government agencies, community members and the public in general. However, some items will have restricted access, and donors can request this condition on items of a confidential nature.
How can I take part in the preservation of Hindu culture?
You can play a part in the preservation of the rich culture of Hinduism in the following ways:
Donate materials to the archive
Do you have some personal materials relating to Hinduism that you no longer wish to keep? Or perhaps you do not have enough space to store your collected materials, or cannot store them safely. If so, you may want to consider donating them to the archive. Any materials relating to Hindus and Hinduism may be donated, including letters, photographs, newspapers, newsletters, newspaper cuttings, posters, invitations, books, leaflets, diaries, documents and other papers, slides, films, videos, audiocassettes, minidiscs, CD's and DVD's.
We have established archival standards in order to ensure that materials are well preserved for the future. The materials donated by an individual can be kept as a collection in the archive, and named after the donor.
Keep your own archive
If you have a collection of materials relating to Hinduism, and have enough storage space, you may like to consider keeping your materials as part of a network of archives. We would be able to provide advice and assistance to help you to do this.
Bequeath material to the archive
You may like to consider the option of bequeathing your collected materials to the archive. This means that you name in your will, the OCHS Hindu Archive as the beneficiary of your materials after your passing away. Please contact us if you would like assistance in doing this.
Tell us about possible materials for the archive
Do you know of any materials relating to Hinduism that are not being used or are at risk of being damaged or disposed of? Such materials may be donated to the archive and we would be happy to hear from you about them.
Help develop an archive in your local community
The OCHS archive projects aim at actively involving members of communities in preserving their own history. For this reason, the OCHS is encouraging individuals to become involved in setting up community archives. Community groups who have developed their own archives have found that they promote understanding, tolerance and respect amongst their community members as well as the wider society.
Commanet is a not for profit organisation that promotes, supports and develops community archives. They have developed software that supports fully searchable databases of still and video images, text and oral narratives. This serves as a permanent record of a community's cultural heritage. There is a high success rate for groups applying for funding to cover the costs of setting up a community archive, including Commanet software. The OCHS would be able to provide assistance to groups in applying for grants and setting up a community archive.
Please contact the OCHS if you would like to be involved in any of these ways, or have ideas of your own on how you could take part in the preservation of Hindu culture.