Institute of Knowledge Societies 



The broad objective of Centurion University is to shape lives and empower communities. Considering that the University caters to the needs of predominantly tribal populations, the Institute of Knowledge Societies (IKS), has been established with a view to create a Category II institute of UNESCO, in order to reach out to the indigenous communities and assist them in protecting, promoting and documenting what is important to their lives and livelihoods – foods, arts and crafts (painting, music, dance, weaving, basket and mat making, pottery, etc.), language, artefacts, herbs and medicinal plants, stories about roots and routes, festivals, agriculture related tasks and implements, animal husbandry, housing, transportation, communication, technologies adopted. Needless to say, since there are myriad opportunities and the aim is to explore these, but also to facilitate (an environment for) greater sharing among/between indigenous peoples and outsiders. The Institute is visualized as an independent institute for research, training, teaching, innovation, consultancies and digital documentation of tribal life, livelihood, art and culture. It will act as an intellectual hub for incubating innovative tribe-centered development, promoting tribal activism and advocacy by sensitizing the tribal youth on their ‘rights and opportunities for the betterment of their life and livelihood. The Institute aims at building a new developmental outlook by documenting tribal values of community, self-reliance, self-confidence, their hard work and amassing capabilities to survive against all odds. While the Institute will focus its activities in southern districts of Odisha (Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Balangir, Nabarangpur, Nuapada) and North Coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh (Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Vishakapatnam and East Godavari), it will also address issues of other tribal districts of Odisha and neighboring states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

After the introductory observations, rest of the proposal is divided into number of sections. Next section indicates the rationale for an IKS at the CUTM (Relationship of the Centre of Excellence with the objectives of the University Strategic Plan). Subsequent sections deal with academic programs offered, faculty resources, research supervision, publications, partnerships, budget and sustainability.

 Rationale for IKS

To further the main goals enumerated in UNESCO’s mandate and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, CUTM has created the IKS with the following key objectives which are in line with its strategic plan.

  1. TO FOSTER the development of Sustainable Knowledge Societies, especially through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs)
  2. TO UNDERTAKE research in different aspects of Culture in order to protect, promote and document indigenous knowledge and practices including agriculture, animal husbandry, built environment, health, education, language, traditional practices, natural resource management, institutions, etc.
  • TO FACILITATE capacity building for the knowledge societies, including enhancing communication and life skills for employability
  1. TO COLLABORATE AND DEVELOP networks of individuals and organizations in state, market and civil society spheres for supporting the development of knowledge societies. 

The above objectives will be realized through creation of an environment where all levels of development processes interact with indigenous knowledges. This would be the development strategy undertaken by the Institute which will rely substantially on indigenous knowledges and would move towards a careful amalgamation of indigenous and mainstream knowledge. This does not necessarily mean the use of modern technology alone, it would include indigenous practices developed and applied under their own cultural conditions.

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  1. Academic Activities in Place

In order to achieve the ends enumerated above, the Institute of Knowledge Societies has been engaged in several activities and proposes many more for the future. While there are several directions that IKS could take, one of the core areas of interest of the IKS is the interface of new technologies with indigenous knowledge systems in all its varied forms.


Ongoing Activities, Partnerships and Publications

  • IKS has entered into and signed a MOU with the Institute of Koorie Education of the Deakin University, Australia which works in the areas of indigenous peoples and cultures.
  • IKS has signed a MOU with Commonwealth of Learning, Canada to develop skill courses for tribal students in line with the National Occupational Standard Qualification Pack. IKS has developed 4 media and entertainment skill courses and 40 instructional videos in English and Odia.
  • IKS has signed a MOU with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi for the preservation of tribal arts and culture


  • IKS has signed a MOU with National Lalit Kala Academy, Delhi for support in documentation and display of tribal arts and culture
  • IKS has signed a MOU with SC & ST Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI), Odisha for collaborative research and documentation in the area of tribal studies
  • IKS has technical collaboration with C COM Ltd, New Zealand for setting up of the digital documentation section.
  • For conservation and promotion of minority languages, education, healthcare and empowerment of Adivasi communities, IKS has collaborated with Bhasha Trust, Gujarat
  • For implementation in field, IKS is working in partnership with BREDS, Harsha Trust and other civil society organisations actively working among tribal communities.
  • IKS organized the Indian Folklore Congress at Parlakhemundi campus in February 2015 where about hundred scholars, both National and International, attended.
  • IKS organized a seminar on Tribal Cultures and Odia in February 2015.
  • IKS organized an international conference on “Narativising Indigeneity” in February 2016 at its Paralakhemundi Campus.
  • In February 2017, IKS organized an International Conference on “Religion in Digital Asia” at its Bhubaneswar Campus.
  • IKS has set up a model tribal village within the Paralakhemundi campus with emphasis on traditional livelihoods and skills. This is envisioned to become a site for social research on sustainable livelihoods and sustainable technology intervention.
  • IKS has established a Museum of Tribal Agriculture for protecting and ergonomically redesigning traditional agricultural tools


  • IKS has initiated a community Repository of Traditional Medicinal Practices of the region.
  • IKS has begun to regenerate indigenous millets and other crops along with traditional dietary habits.
  • IKS has set up a Tribal Web Radio and Media Resource Center.
  • Researchers associated with IKS have published their findings during three International Conferences held at the Paralakhemundi campus of the University in 2015 and 2016. IKS has brought out a book, “Repositioning Folklore and Indigenous Knowledge Systems”. Another book, “Narartivizing Indigeneity” is under progress.