Lecture Series

One of the most crucial components of Taragaon Next forms our annual series of lectures – beginning in 2014 – which anchor the pedagogical programming of this cultural space.

Over the years, the Taragaon Lecture Series has become a platform for dialogues between scholars, intellectuals, and the public.

This annual lecture series marked the opening of the Taragaon Museum; every year, a selected group of scholars from across the globe are invited to participate in the Taragaon Lecture Series, which honors their contributions to the growing fields of research on history, architecture, ecology, and material culture.

Lecture Series #1

Towers in Stone: Sikhara Temples in Bhaktapur – Vatsala and Siddhilaksmi

By Neils Gutschow

[Book Launch; 14 November 2014]

Formally inaugurating the Taragaon Lecture Series, Niels Gutschow launched his book, Towers in Stone,co-authored with Bijay Basukala and Kishor Kayastha, with a thoughtful lecture and discussion. Our founder, Arun Saraf, spoke on the importance of this book and the role of the Saraf Foundation in preserving the built heritage of Nepal, along with Advisory Council Member, Kanik Mani Dixit.

Lecture Series #2

Bungmati 1968 – A Survey

By Jørgen Rahbek Thomsen & Jens Wærum

[Lecture and Exhibition; 15 November 2015]

In this lecture, Danish architects Jørgen Rahbek Thomsen and Jens Wærum shared their research experience on the Bungmati Project; they first came to Nepal in 1967, and documented this tremendous research survey with a subsequent catalogue titled Bungmati 1968. Alongside this lecture, they also installed and exhibited a selection of drawings of Bungmati, with the support of the Centre for Culture and Development (CKU), Danish Embassy in Nepal.

Lecture Series #3

The Urban Landscape of Kathmandu Valley

By Klaus Kunzman

[Lecture and Exhibition; 28 October 2016]

Our third lecture featured Klaus Kunzman, who shared personal insights alongside a careful overview and critique of urbanization in Kathmandu. Recalling his first visit here in 1982, Kunzman compared his earlier experience to the current precarious terrain, wherein concrete structures now subsume traditional heritage sites. The exhibition included around 40 drawings from 1982, 1994, and 2016 at the Taragaon Museum.

Lecture Series #4

Disappearing Tibetan Architecture

By Peter Harrle

[Lecture, Book Launch, Exhibition; 10 November 2017]

With an architectural survey of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, Peter Harrle spoke of his concerns on the disappearing local architecture through his analysis of specific locations, climate, construction materials, and details on vernacular built forms. He subsequently introduced and launched his book, Tibetan Houses, alongside an exhibition with 25 works by himself and Anna Wozniak.

Lecture Series #5

The life of a Newar Sanskritist & Art Historian

By Gautama Vajra Vajracharya

[Lecture; 29 August 2018]

In this lecture, Gautama Vajra Vajracharya explored the perspectives and influences of art and iconography found in the Indian subcontinent. Here, he placed a strong emphasis on the symbolism within the context of Nepal’s art and culture, alongside a parallel narrative exploring his own experience as a Newar Sanskritist and Art Historian.

Lecture Series #6

Monasteries in Mustang

By John Harrison

[Lecture, Book Launch, Exhibition; 1 November 2018]

In our sixth lecture, John Harrison shared the findings of his research at Mustang, introducing a series of monasteries along the way, concluding with his own experience and insights on their histories. This lecture also launched the catalogue, Chimang Village Survey, by John Harrison and Mohan Pant, alongside an exhibition with drawings by Harrison and photographs by Kevin Bubriski.

Lecture Series #7

Transnational Perspectives into Nepal

By Klaus Kette

Franz Fei, Ulrich Burtscher, Thomas Turtscher, and Raimund Wulz

[Lecture and Exhibition: October 2019]

As a first of its kind, we invited academics from three different countries to share their unique perspectives on Nepal: Klaus Kette, an architect from Breman, Germany; Franz Fei, a filmmaker from Bale, Switzerland; and architects Ulrich Burtscher, Thomas Turtscher, and Raimund Wulz from Austria.

Kette reached Nepal first in 1989 to explore the villages of Rai, returning often for various projects in 1992, and as part of a Garman student research team in 1998. Architects Ulrich Burtscher, Thomas Turtscher, and Raimund Wulz arrived at Nepal in 1989, in order to document the Ghyaru village in Manang. In 1976, Franz Fei reached Nepal, whilst working for the Swiss Association for Technical Assistance on the Integral Hill Development Project in Danda Pakha, near Charikot.

Each scholar brought their original project drawings and related documents for this lecture and discussion. An exhibition of their combined research projects accompanied this lecture – showcasing architectural drawings, maps, materials, sketches, and photographs. The metal canister, custom designed to carry Frei’s original drawings from the Danda Pakha project’s adult literacy class, was the key highlight of this exhibition.

Lecture Series #8

The Legacy of Robert Powell

By Neils Gutschow

[Lecture and Exhibition; 16 December 2020]

Dedicated to the late Robert Powell, Neils Gutschow gave a talk on his work and the importance of his meticulous drawings and surveys. A retrospective exhibition on Powell’s work accompanied this lecture, which included 13 original artworks sourced from the Gotz Hagmuller collection, alongside drawings by Bijaya Basukala, a student of Powell.

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