Call for Papers: 5th International Congress of the Association of Anthropologists and Ethnologists of Kyrgyzstan

Date: 20 April 2020
Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 5th International Congress of the Association of Anthropologists and Ethnologists of Kyrgyzstan, originally scheduled to take place on July 2-3, 2020 in Naryn (Kyrgyzstan), is being postponed until further notice. A new date and further details will be communicated to all applicants and participants by email.

The Call for Papers has also been extended until April, 20, 2020. Contributors are requested to submit a 300-word abstract of their paper, creative project, e-poster, workshop or panel proposal via e-mail:

The University of Central Asia’s Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit is pleased to announce a call for papers for the 5th International Congress of the Association of Anthropologists and Ethnologists of Kyrgyzstan. The event will cover the “Role of Culture in the Socio-Economic Development of Central Asia”, and will be held at UCA’s campus in Naryn (Kyrgyzstan). The deadline to submit papers is April 20th 2020. The best research papers will be published as part of CHHU’s peer-reviewed Research Paper Series.

Conference Themes
  • Contemporary issues facing cultures and societies in Central Asia;
  • Cultural policies and cultural institutions and the role of state and philanthropy in supporting them; 
  • Cultural industry and creative economy;
  • Arts and creativity in education;
  • Experimental creative practices and new technologies in heritage conservation and management.

Submission Procedure

Contributors are requested to submit a 300-word abstract of their paper, creative project, e-poster, workshop or panel proposal to no later than April 20, 2020.

Central Asia has rich and diverse cultural heritages and traditions. However, in Kyrgyzstan, preserving cultural heritage, by supporting institutions that engage in this activity (for example, museums), and supporting cultural creativity are still seen as placing extra financial burdens on the government’s budget, rather than as assets for human development. 
In reality, cultural assets have considerable income and employment generating potential. This is particularly the case when they are used as resources for the tourism industry. Today, private initiatives, both commercial and non-commercial, are being formed across the Central Asian region. They are growing into large networks and organisations that generate significant amounts of income across a range of cultural pursuits. The preservation and enhancement of cultural assets also enriches communities in ways that cannot be measured quantitatively. Their benefits are not restricted to monetary rewards. Heritage sites and properties connect us to the past and embody our collective memories of key moments in the histories of societies. They help us understand who we are, where we are coming from, and where we want to go. Our forms of attachment to heritage help shape our sense of belonging and represent our identity as a group or a people.

It is also increasingly recognised that the practice and recognition of the arts can unlock, as well as generate social creativity, and energy in a range of other domains. There is thus a growing interest in promoting the arts and creativity in education; however, the curriculum of public schools is limited to the subject of visual arts. Applying creativity to all school subjects would lead to an improvement of the quality of education. Producing managers of cultural industry is another important theme for discussion. State-run cultural institutions, including museums, need to adopt modern trends, technological, and marketing tools for their sustainable development. 

Design has become increasingly important across the whole range of creative disciplines, and ‘design solutions’ is now a recognised approach in the sciences, business, and cultural management spheres. This is also noticeable in Central Asia, especially in urban areas where people like to see elements or symbols of their tangible and intangible heritages blended into the architectural design of buildings, interior décor, landscaping, designer clothes, packaging of food products, and most importantly, in national and family events, and celebrations.

Safeguarding or revitalising cultural heritage and traditions is impossible without the support, and active participation of local communities who practice them. We strongly encourage discussions on ‘solutions’ or ‘best practice’ in the areas of cultural heritage, culture and education, or cultural outreach to the community and invite local community-based initiatives to share their positive stories of change and transformation. 

Another theme will focus specifically on new technologies for cultural heritage in the region; virtual heritage programmes, and virtual experiences and interactions with endangered sites and practices.

In addressing issues such as these, the conference will explore the tangible and intangible cultural heritages of Central Asia and their potential to contribute to the socio-economic development of the region. It aims to bring together regional and international scholars, researchers, experts, artists, cultural practitioners, designers, economists, businessmen, and policymakers to exchange ideas, share research results and experiences and present and discuss latest innovations, trends, issues and practical challenges and solutions adopted in the fields of Culture, Creative Industry and Development. 

Keynote Speeches
  • “Understanding the Transformative Power of Culture” by Yudhishthir Raj Isar, Director of Education Programme of Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
  • “Creative Economy and its Development in Central Asia,” by Daniyar Amanaliev, co-founder and CEO of Ololo group in Bishkek, Osh and Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

Cultural Programme

The event will have a rich cultural programme showcasing the national and regional cultures of Central Asia by presenting live performances of dance and music, film screenings, and exhibitions of visual art.

Travel, Accommodation and Meals
The organisers will provide accommodation, meals and transport Bishkek-Naryn-Bishkek.  All other costs are to be covered by the participants themselves.

Conference Registration Fee 
All participants will be expected to pay the conference registration fee in the amount of 500 Kyrgyz som.

Conference languages: Kyrgyz, Russian, and English

  • University of Central Asia (Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit)
  • American University in Central Asia (Department of Anthropology)
  • Naryn State University
  • Naryn Provincial Academic Drama Theatre named after M. Ryskulov, Naryn town
  • Mayor’s office of Naryn town
  • Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic
  • Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic
Organising Committee Members
  • Elmira Köchümkulova, Head of CHHU/Associate Professor, UCA
  • Altyn Kapalova, Research Fellow, CHHU-UCA
  • Alma Uzbekova, Communication Officer, Graduate School of Development, UCA
  • Rebekah Ramsay, History Faculty, School of Arts and Sciences, UCA
  • Ruslan Rahimov, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, AUCA
  • Emil Nasridinov, Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, AUCA
  • Anisa Bikbulatova, Associate Professor, Kyrgyz National University
  • Representative from Naryn State University

Review Committee

  • Elmira Köchümkulova (UCA)
  • Altyn Kapalova (UCA)
  • Ruslan Rahimov (AUCA)
  • Anisa Bikbulatova (KSNU)
  • Anara Alymkulova (ISUR)
About UCA’s Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit
The Cultural Heritage and Humanities Unit (CHHU) is part of the Graduate School of Development (GSD) of University of Central Asia (UCA). UCA was founded in 2000. The Presidents of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, and His Highness the Aga Khan signed the International Treaty and Charter establishing this secular and private university, ratified by the respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. CHHU advances UCA’s mission to preserve and promote the rich and diverse cultural heritages and traditions of Central Asia through research, documentation, archiving and support of regional scholars. Key objectives of the Unit include enhancing understanding of socio-cultural and historical processes in Central Asia and contributing to international academic discourse on the region and promoting the region’s cultural heritage internationally through English translations of fundamental oral and literary and ethnographic works. These objectives have been achieved through publications of Cultural Heritage Book Series and Research Paper Series. CHHU’s Book Series can be viewed at and research papers are available for free download from UCA’s website at:

For more information
Phone: +996 (312) 910 822 (ext. 656)
Mobile: +996 (770) 822 620 (Altyn Kapalova)
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