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Jivan Kandola on Buddhist Art and Ancient Greek Culture

Second year Classical Civilisation student, Jivan Kandola, is spending her summer investigating the connections between Buddhist art and Ancient Greek culture as part of this year's Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS) project. We caught up with her to see how it's going...

 Why did you decide to do the project?
Originally, I am from Wolverhampton yet my family were born in Punjab, India. Having an Indian heritage has lead me to develop a personal interest in discovering different ways in which the Western world has influenced the East and vice versa. Understanding and appreciating diverse cultures is important to me since I am a British Asian who has confronted many challenges and has raised many questions when thinking about the growth between the two cultures. Being able to conduct research about my historical past as well as focus on topics which are at the core of my degree would be insightful not only for me but many others. I enjoy observing my environment in many ways and this research will create a new view for me.

Why did you choose this particular topic?
I knew that having the opportunity to independently research about my ancestry would be a rewarding experience. Since my project has a rare focus, taking the time to discover the links between Buddhism and Ancient Greek culture will be a valuable topic to share amongst those involved in my field of study and beyond.

What are you hoping to achieve?
As a classicist, I believe that this project will allow me to broaden my knowledge about other ancient civilisations and how they are linked together. Looking at different art and architecture will provide an insight on how to analyse and discuss change through time. Having the ability to present my ideas in an innovative and refreshing way will be useful when I enter the working environment. This project will challenge me to be organised and make good use out of my resources, leading to obtaining valuable skills for building my career. I would like to understand and share how and why cultures have constantly adapted over time and learn to appreciate the continuous change of humanity which will be demonstrated through my research.

What contribution to knowledge do you think your research project could make?
By observing the artefacts and analysing the development and change of Buddhist art in the British Museum and researching with the resources in the British Library, I will begin to develop a deeper insight on how the architecture impacted the lives of the Buddhists and in general those who were affected by the Hellenistic trends. It is important to be aware of the basis of ones surroundings because it is a reflection of how the people lived and their mentality at the time. By completing this project I will reach my personal goal to educate others about eastern civilisations. I want to be able to prove to society that we all impact each other in different ways which will encourage others to celebrate our dynamic global culture.

Would you recommend the project to other students?
Most definitely. This has helped me decide whether I would consider a career in research and teaching. You are completely in charge, all you have to do is complete all your planned work to the official deadline. Being in control of my own work is rewarding but it's difficult when you are trying to juggle personal life, work, and studies. But, if you're a kind of person that loves to explore a specific topic and would be confident enough to present your findings...JUST DO IT! It's such a great opportunity, it seems to help the jump between 1st year and 2nd year because you're still in the study zone, but at a more relaxed state since you don't have to wake up for lectures. Impress yourself, and push yourself out of your comfort zone because that's where growth happens.