Blueprints for Innovation

Increase font size
Decrease font size
Blueprints for Innovation

Religious Studies professor Lauren Leve has recently been featured in an article entitled “Blueprints for Innovation,” written by Emmy Trivette. Professor Leve, along with Jim Mahaney, are partnering with Nepalese locals to bring religious heritage sites to life through interviews and digital tools.

Computer scientist Jim Mahaney and religious studies scholar Lauren Leve are collaborating on Leve’s research in Nepal, where she’s spent the last 30 years documenting Buddhist holy sites. (photo by Megan Mendenhall | illustration by Corina Prassos)

In 2015, a 7.8 earthquake shook Nepal, and the city of Kathmandu rippled. Buildings swayed, temples toppled — and Lauren Leve was just 90 miles from the epicenter. The disaster destroyed more than 600,000 buildings and killed thousands. The earthquake’s tremble could be felt over 300 miles away in western Bhutan. To survive and witness this event was to survive and witness tragedy.

“Many buildings were damaged irrevocably, and you couldn’t live in them anymore,” Leve shares. “And the temples were destroyed. It was devastating.”

A religious studies professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, Leve has spent 30 years traveling back and forth to Nepal for her research. The 2015 earthquake highlighted the importance of preserving cultural heritage — and motivated Leve to pursue a project to do exactly that.

Now, she is collaborating with Carolina computer scientist Jim Mahaney and Kathmandu locals to document the Swayambjunath, or “Swayambhu,” temple — a monument with deep cultural significance for the region. Today, the team has conducted more than 30 interviews with temple priests, Buddhist monks, devoted visitors, and other people with traditional connections to the site…

Check out the rest of the article HERE!

Posted in News & Events on April 30, 2024. Bookmark the permalink.