Since inception, North-Eastern Hill University has been concerned with the art and cultural needs of the State. Thus, the Centre for Creative Arts was set up in 1977, to provide incentive to promote art appreciation and art education in the field of visual arts and performing arts. The Centre for Literary and Cultural Studies was started in 1984 to promote cultural studies, with special emphasis on folklore in the North-Eastern Region. In 1997, the above two Centre were re-structured and amalgamated into one Centre called the Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies. The establishment of the Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies reflects the University’s commitment to the artistic and cultural aspirations of the people of this region and charged with this task, the Centre has, during all these years, been organizing various programmes such as art and music workshops, art camps, workshops on folklore research, series of seminars and conferences on art, music and folkloristics, regular art exhibitions, performances, artist in residence programmes, practicing school in fine arts, casual art and music classes, training courses in folkloristics and traditional folk music.
The Centre is also running regular P.G. Diploma Courses in visual arts (painting), music and folkloristics. Since inception, the Centre regularly received financial support for organizing above mention programmes from various important organization namely, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendra, Kolkata, Sahitya Akademi and Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangralaya, Bhopal, North East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur, East Zone Cultural Centre, Kolkata, Government of Meghalaya, North Eastern Council and University Grants Commission.
The Centre also received major Research Projects on Arts and Crafts of the Hill Areas of North East India funded by University Grants Commission and the Programme of Folklore Research and Archive funded by the Ford Foundation.
Drawing upon the expertise and experience of the individual teachers in it, the Centre for Cultural and Creative Studies has been exploring, enriching and disseminating creative thinking and processes through visual arts, performing arts and folklore studies. These efforts are always supported by multi-dimensional documentation such as drawings, photography, audio-visual format, monographic details and publications. Thus, we have, as part of our holdings, a considerable bulk of materials which are useful as knowledge conservation and dissemination modules. In addition, we have also developed a small museum and a music conservatory where an assortment of musical instruments are maintained. Successive batches of visual art students have produced substantial creative works like paintings, sculptures, terracotta, enamel paintings, graphic prints. The number of art workshops and art exhibitions that the centre has organized has also enriched the collection of the centre.
It is our field experience that there are many traditional/folk art forms that are dying or becoming slowly obliterated. The few examples are the art of traditional terracotta pottery in the villages of Larnai and Tyrchiang, weaving in the Bhoi and Lyngngam areas, wood carving in Garo Hills, folk theatre in Jaintia Hills, musical instrument crafting in the entire state, to name a few. We have been working with master craftsmen and women/ folk artists who are still practicing their art in villages. We have also, as a matter of policy, made an attempt to consistently expose our students to these art forms and have, in consultation with the community-based craftsmen and women/folk artists, tried to explore newer technologies for the perpetuation of these forms so as to suit changing demands. While creating awareness of these unique forms and styles among the new generations, we would also like to engage the folk expertise for the creation of novel artistic idioms which could be exploited on a commercial basis for the exclusive benefits of these village artisans. This could be done through workshops/short term training programmes which would involve the village folk artists and performers as resource persons who will be encouraged to work with contemporary artists. Attempts will also be made to involve folk artists and performers from within and outside the state for a richer sharing experience. Our Centre also working for exchange of knowledge and skills between culture experts of different communities of India and the region through training programmes, workshops etc. We have also been engaged in the collection of tradition-derived texts such as chants, phawar, ritual systems, myths, legends, tales and assorted narratives which constitute a considerable portion of our holdings.
We have also been engaged in the collection of tradition-derived texts such as chants, phawar, ritual systems, myths, legends, tales and assorted narratives which constitute a considerable portion of our holdings. These oral discourses need to be scientifically studied using the methodologies of folkloristics and the same will be published in order to further the cause of the discipline and to bring about a holistic understanding of the complexities and uniqueness of the oral-derived discourses of the region.