Knowing the Naryn River: Transdisciplinary Flash Study Shamaldy Say, Kyrgyzstan, 26th-30th April 2018
The innovative event to study river and communities was held in the border town of Shamaldy-Say, south of Kyrgyzstan. The interdisciplinary flash study was organized by the “Syr-Darya” teamin cooperation with local administration. This unconventional convention attracted research participants from different universities and research centres in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Germany, Uzbekistan, USA, England, Tajikistan and Norway.
On behalf of the organizers of the scientific research project and all participants, we would like to express our deep gratitude to the local administration, school directors and all residents of Shamaldy-Say. At the first official opening day held on April 26th, there were 317 local residents attending the ceremony. The working languages were Russian, Kyrgyz and English with simultaneous translation provided.
Research activities and plans were blended with the cultural events and local celebrations which presented good opportunities to establish close connections with residents. Special traditional feasts such as “Sumolok” and “Jaz mairamy” and a trip to pilgrimage site “Padysha-Ata” were organized.
Flash study researchers represented different disciplines and used different approaches in studying their chosen topics in tandems. Social sciences and humanities interwoven with the natural sciences were extended, for example, to the artistic-aesthetic approach when studying sounds of water and local folklore. The participants attempted to find practical and philosophical approaches in combining scientific knowledge with epistemic communities to create reliable and effective ways of understanding the complex life of the rivers and settlements in Central Asia.
There were 19 participants, out of which 9 paired research tandems were created. Each tandem developed their question to research and spend 2 full days working closely with local communities. The fird day was devoted for synthesis and analysis of the findings. In total, 96 intensive interviews were conducted. The following are the topics examined by the groups.
- Rituals and proverbs about water, water relations
- Water resources management and water use in households and agriculture
- Emigration of the Russian-speaking population
- Infrastructure, water distribution
- Sewage and drainage
- The use of plastic cloth in agriculture
- Dreams of schoolchildren of Shamaldy-Say, their perception, vision of their lives
- Local ethnobotanics and ecosystem