The Hutton Lectures, a program of The Highland Institute aims to enable distinguished international scholars to gather, debate and contribute to the enhancement of cultural studies in and among the indigenous peoples of the Eastern Himalayan region. For the inaugural session held on 3 December, 2013 at The Heritage, Kohima, scholars from primarily the social sciences and humanities contributed new and ongoing research in an environment conducive to intellectual debate, constructive critique, and in which junior and senior scholars interacted effectively and shared ideas regarding current and future research, and towards greater collaboration.
The inaugural Hutton Lectures was scheduled in conjunction with the annual Hornbill Literature Fest, coinciding as it does with significant cultural events associated with the larger Hornbill Festival during the first week of December and the large influx of local, regional and international scholars that such events attract. Several collaborative programmes were planned between the Institute and the Art & Culture Department, including the Hornbill Literature Prize competition for Best Short Story and Best Poetry; as well as the film screening of the winning entry in the J. H. Hutton Prize in Ethnography contest organised by the Highland Institute in conjunction with the Hutton Lectures.
The seminar is intended, fundamentally, as a year-end event for the purpose of reflecting on a years’ cumulative contribution to cultural research and knowledge, the aim being a thorough critique, as well as a summons to scholars for a concerted research focus in the coming year. For the inaugural event scholars presented papers guided by the broad theme (and primary purpose statement of the Hutton Lectures): To promote and diffuse the study of culture and society toward the enrichment of scholarly knowledge of, and benefiting indigenous communities in the greater Eastern Himalayan region.
Lectures, though presented to an audience of scholars, post-graduates, and guests, were recorded (video and audio) and will be posted online at the Highland Institute website www. highlandinstitute.org with the consent of author/presenters.
2013 Hutton Lectures Programme
The First Annual Hutton Lectures event was held from 9:30AM to 5:00PM on 3rd December 2013 at The Heritage in Kohima, Nagaland. Regrettably, one paper [“Something like wind, unusual thing came after that whoever got that Holy Spirit, they became different from other people’: the Great Christian Revival of the 1970s in the memories of the Sumi Naga” by Iliyana Angelova (University of Oxford)] was not presented, though prepared specifically for presentation in the author’s absence. The decision was made by the Convenor, particularly given the late addition of a local scholar’s presentation to the schedule (C. P. Anto). D.S. Teron was also added early to the AFTERNOON SESSION given travel concerns related to an NPCC bandh in Dimapur, and his need to return to Diphu, Karbi Anglong following the lectures.
2013 J. H. Hutton Prize
On 15th October 2013 the Highland Institute announced the opening of the J. H. Hutton Prize competition in ethnography in the categories of ethnographic writing, short ethnography, and ethnographic film. Given the limited window for submissions afforded contestants, the 2013 contest was ultimately cancelled with only two ethnographic film entries and one short ethnographic writing entries received by the deadline. The Highland Institute plans to make the Hutton Prize an annual competition, with judges chosen from among a large pool of highly qualified scholars specialising in varying ethnographic mediums and methods. Prizes will be publicly announced during events surrounding the Hutton Lectures held in December, with contest winners presenting excerpts of their winning entries among participants of the Hutton Lectures.
2013 Hornbill Literature Fest Prize
On 1st November 2013 the Highland Institute in conjunction with the Department of Art & Culture, Government of Nagaland, announced the Hornbill Literature Fest Prize competition in the categories of best short story and best poetry. Though the deadline for submissions was set for 20th November, over 70 submissions were received. A small team recruited by the Highland Institute, namely Asanuo Heneise, Neithonuo Tungoe and Rita Krocha managed the competition, set contest rules and guidelines, selected six judges (three per category), and communicated regularly with contestants and judges regarding submission requirements, guidelines and deadlines. First, second and third-prize winners for both poetry and short story were invited to the opening ceremony of the Hornbill Literature Fest and first-prize winners were invited to read excerpts from the winning entries.
THE JUDGES FOR THE BEST SHORT STORY WERE:
- Padmashri Dr Temsula Ao – She has authored several books of poems and short stories including the famous Penguin published Laburnum for My Head. A recipient of Nagaland Governor’s Award for Literature 2009, her book The Ao Naga Oral Tradition has been featured as one among the Hundred Most Influential Books of the century compiled by Bhasha Publication. She is currently working as chairperson of Nagaland State Women Commission.
- Avinuo Kire – She is a research scholar in English Literature and will shortly publish a collection of short stories by Zubaan-Penguin. She is currently working as assistant state coordinator at the State Resource Centre for Women under the Department of Social Welfare, Nagaland..
- Dr Seyiekhrielie Whiso – He is an associate Professor in the English Department at Kohima Science College, Jotsoma.
THE JUDGES FOR THE BEST POETRY WERE:
- Agnes Krocha Tepa – She is a recipient of Governor’s Gold Medal and the first recipient of Mayangnokcha Award Trust North-East Sun Running Trophy. She co-authored Echoes of Spring, a collection of poems. She is currently serving as lecturer at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET).
- Dr A. J. Sebastian – He has authored 19 books of which 12 were single authored and 7 were edited with others. He is a professor in the English Department at Nagaland University.
- Dr Sentinaro Tsuren – She is a lecturer of English Department at Baptist College, Kohima. She is pursuing post-doctorate research in Hyderabad University on Naga Writings, and is a regular contributor to Eclectic Magazine.
WINNERS IN THE CATEGORY FOR BEST SHORT STORY WERE
- First Place: “Grandfather” by Sentilong Ozukum
- Second Place: “I am My Mother’s Daughter” by Neikehenuo Mephuo.
- Third Place: “Into The Rabbit Hole” by Emisenla Jamir.
WINNERS IN THE CATEGORY FOR BEST POETRY WERE
- First Place: “The Art of Living” by Kenilo Kent.
An excerpt from the winning story “Grandfather” by Sentilong Ozukum was read out by one of the organisers, as Ozokum could not attend.
- Second Place: “The Bleeding City” by Bendangrenla Longkumer
- Third Place: “Death’s Mystery, Life’s Mystery” by Chenonlo Wagh
As the writing contest was organised as a cooperative program between the Highland Institute and the Department of Art & Culture of the Government of Nagaland, the Highland Institute funded the management of the competition, and the Art & Culture Department presented 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize certificates, and 5000 INR, 3000 INR and 2000 INR respectively to each winning contestant in each of the categories for a total of 20,000 INR in prize monies. Prizes were awarded at the 2nd December Hornbill Literature Fest launch at Kisama Heritage Village, Nagaland.
Ethnographic Film Screening
As part of Highland Institute’s collaboration with the Art & Culture Department, the First Prize winner of the Hutton Prize in Ethnography in the category of Best Ethnographic Film would have an opportunity to present his/her winning entry and conduct a special screening at the conclusion of the Hornbill Literature Fest launch event. As this year’s contest was cancelled, it was decided that the recent film Kungyee, a debut documentary film produced by Pamreiso Shimray and directed by Chaoba Thiyam, be screened instead. Set in Ningthi village under Kamjong Sub-division, Ukhrul district in Manipur, it documents the dying rituals of rain invocation among the Tangkhul Nagas. It was selected for the World Premiere at Aperture Festival in Melbourne, Australia last month, and was selected among 13 films for the Experiential Ethnographic Films Program and among 17 films for the Cinematic Program by the organisers of the 2013 Asia Pacific International Ethnographic Documentary Festival. The film was produced with the support of Tribal Research Institute Manipur, with Chaoba Thiyam and Saikhom Ratan as cinematographers, Sunil Loitongbam as sound recordist and is edited and directed by Chaoba Thiyam.