‘Boní Pann’

in Kashmiri means Chinar Leaf & signifies the sustainability of the leaf that changes colour in every season and brings to life a new perspective with each passing season.

It epitomises inherent transformation and adaptability to changing circumstances. The practice of heritage making is this lens that relooks at tradition and culture and adapts culture to remain relevant in contemporary times.


A misunderstood and insulated community, that has been through difficult times, military setbacks, article 370, and a severe COVID crisis. Popular perception of Kashmiri youth is often overshadowed by what is propagated by media. Beyond the PR are real stories of real people, of their resilience and creativity. This present generation which grew up in the 1990s the most tumultuous time in the valley have embraced their rich and fractured culture and legacy in a highly militarised environment, to create new heritage, a practice we refer to as

‘Heritage Making’.


With complete lockdown from the rest of the world for two years due to Article 370 and Covid-19 pandemic, the isolation of valleys in Kashmir facilitated an environment of sustainability and self-sufficiency which made the inhabitants self-contained.The micro-economy has been a classic example of self-evolvement and indigenous human knowledge and we as a research institution want to understand this kind of Sustainism by tapping into the knowledge system of the self-thriving communities.


 In the changing world scenario, faced with the climate crisis, researchers across the world are investigating the relevance of the traditional knowledge systems and practices in achieving sustainable development.

 The aim of this program primarily is to research and map the intangible and tangible heritage practices of a cultural community through the lens of Sustainism.


The ethos of sustainist design is rooted in networks, connections, and local solutions with people at the centre. Building on and inspired by the idea of sustainism, the course presents an insider-outsider view of Kashmir focusing on how its rich cultural heritage impacts the day-to-day life of its communities.

created by dji camera

"Embracing the Kashmir Valley"



Kashmir has a vibrant heritage starting from prehistoric period 4th millennium BC. The combination of natural tangible and intangible heritage serves as a landscape for tourism. Kashmir valley has been a host to several civilizations which has shaped its unique art history and is also visible in the form of standing monuments of classical and medieval period.


Kashmir as a region has enabled in its inhabitants an acute aesthetic understanding that inspired them to create exquisite work of art and craft rooted in its indigenous culture.

Kashmiri handicrafts are renowned all over the world for their artistic work, beauty and grandeur. Many
popular crafts flourishes in Valley. Kashmiri carpets, shawls, art crafts, Paper-machie and numerous other
handicrafts are famous all over the world. These crafts are manufactured by hand by the skilled artisans and exported to the international market.


Dissemination and Production

The dissemination of the research will be co- created with the local communities, experts and professionals in a user friendly multilingual (English, Urdu, Kashmiri) artistic format.
Understanding the current global context, it is essential we create shared open-source resources which can be used by local communities to make their own environments better. This collaborative research pathway is envisaged as an out of the box tool that helps local and cross-cultural communities help themselves.

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Feature Film

An exploration through Sustainst Culture, Co-created with the local artistic community, showcasing different Kashmiri cultural practitioners and tells their diverse stories, highlighting their drive to use their creativity, build their resilience to make something tangible happen despite difficult socio-political circumstances.
This film is particularly relevant at this time, the real stories are set to be an inspiration to artists and creative communities across the world especially in the post Covid context as we reimagine new ways of living and working.

One is concentrating on telling the people's stories through open dialogue directly with the community and then facilitating the  delivery of the same to a wide audience also by the community itself. All means of production this research will result in is aimed at being entirely crowd sourced. While at each stage of the research project there is an entire team of researchers and domain specialists assimilating and analyzing data, there is a need to always have a means for the stakeholders to have a direct voice that can be projected over multiple mediums.


Boni Pann: Kashmir-An exploration through Sustainst Culture

In the ever changing world scenario, faced with the climate crisis, new age problems and unprecedented calamities researchers across the world are investigating the relevance of the traditional knowledge systems and practices in achieving sustainable development.

The aim of this crowd sourced book is primarily to research and map the intangible and tangible heritage practices of a cultural community through the lens of Sustainism.


“Sustainism” a concept coined by Michiel Schwarz and Joost Elffers – names the new context of global connectivity, sustainability, open exchange, and a resurgence of the local.
Sustainism builds on the changing focus and attitude marks 21st century mainstream culture. A new ethos for design, it will become the force in design and innovation, as we collectively discover what meanings we wish to give sustainist culture.

Related Projects

Community Pathway (fall 2021)

As part of our MOU with O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) through the Jindal School of Art and Architecture (JSAA) we happy to announce our first collaborative project together focusing on the tangible and intangible heritage of Kashmir in the form of the Community Pathway beginning in the fall of 2021