Digital museums as a space for shared heritage
Following the Chinese government's occupation of Tibet, Tibetan culture has developed a diaspora heritage characterised by high levels of internal migration (regionally inside TAR) and international outmigration. In the 2007 Central Tibetan Administration census of exiles the projected population was 145,150, with a world-wide distribution: India 101,242; Nepal 16,313; Bhutan 1,883; and rest of the world 25,712 (CTA 2009). In 2010 the US State Department released a report detailing severe human rights abuses and social, economic and cultural discrimination suffered by the Tibetans under the Chinese government's rule. ”There was severe repression of freedoms of speech, religion, association, and movement. Authorities continued to commit serious human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial detention, and house arrest. The preservation and development of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural, and linguistic heritage remain a concern" (Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2010). Thus, for many Tibetan families, the motivation to emigrate internationally is high. The cultural fracture caused by the Chinese invasion has been complicated by this desire of many to migrate globally, and Tibetan cultural heritage is threatened as a consequence.
As a contribution to this issue, this project explores digital heritage technologies, such as virtual e-museums, as a means of connecting communities in diaspora through their shared history and heritage, and their emerging diaspora heritages.