Richmond KPU collaborates with the History Department in a 3D project

KPU’s History Department challenges stereotypes surrounding remote locations and encourages cross-faculty collaboration

Not all remote areas are disconnected from the rest of the world, according to a professor from Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

It’s a stereotype that Kyle Jackson, who teaches world history at KPU, and history student Lucas Akai set out to solve through a 3D printed map project with students from the Wilson School. of Design in Richmond.

Jackson explained that Mizoram, a northeastern Indian state he has studied for 15 years, is “often seen as isolated by mainstream Indian society.”

“In Mizoram…one of the most persistent stereotypes is that the inhabitants of this mountain in the eastern Himalayan highlands are somehow removed, isolated or cut off from the dynamic processes taking place elsewhere, in South Asia and the rest of the world,” Jackson said.

“We wanted to explain that was not necessarily the case.”

Jackson collected and obtained copies of Mizoram’s regional newspaper, Mizo leh Vai Chanchin, covering three decades from the early 1900s to the 1930s, which were then digitized into software for the project.

He told the Richmond News that the software sorted more than 1.6 million words of English and Mizo text and calculated the number of times each country was mentioned in the newspaper during that time.

The data was then transformed into a 3D-printed map and sculpture with help from Wilson School of Design product design student Birk Zukowsky and lab coordinator Melanie Bland.

“We were able to quantify the geographic coverage of the newspaper and come up with a shape of the world it presented to its readership,” Jackson said, adding that the sculpture map revealed that the people of that region of India were “ very interested in reading and writing about parts of the wider world.

“Using the region’s first newspaper, we are able to show how local people a hundred years ago were not ‘remote’ or cut off from the rest of the world, but rather connected and very concerned about other peoples in the world. world. over.”

When asked why this project was so important, Jackson said the project’s results visually challenge “long-held stereotypes” about the history of connections.

He also showed how history and art can work together “to represent the past.”

“This project has shown us how digital history methods can empower students to go beyond the traditional 2D research essay and how starting conversations with people beyond the history department can help change, enrich and be more creative in how we make history.”

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