Meet the Team
Tara Gujadhur co-founded the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre with Thongkhoun Soutthivilay in 2006. Tara has a BA in Anthropology and an MSc in Sustainable Tourism, and 12 years experience in tourism development, cultural heritage management, and community development throughout Southeast Asia and Southern Africa. She worked with the Khasi in northeast India, the San (Bushmen) in Botswana, and has since spent a significant amount of time in rural villages in Laos. She came to Laos in 2003 with a development agency and spent three years advising the government on sustainable tourism, primarily in ethnic communities before starting TAEC. She guides TAEC’s research, marketing and strategic development, among other responsibilities.
Thongkhoun Soutthivilay co-founded TAEC with Tara Gujadhur, and has shared the Directorship since its opening. Born and raised in Luang Prabang, Khoun worked at the Luang Phabang National Museum for over 10 years, finishing as Collection Manager. She has studied and attended trainings in Thailand, the Netherlands, Japan, and Laos, on Museum Management, Conservation and Exhibition of Southeast Asian Collections, and Conservation of Textiles. She was an Asian Cultural Council Fellow in 2008 based at the Smithsonian on Exhibition Design, and a resident at the Saitama Prefecture Museum in Japan from 2003-2004. Khoun oversees TAEC’s livelihoods activities, the TAEC Shop and collections management, and develops exhibitions together with Tara.
Most of the photos featured in the TAEC exhibits were taken by Philippe Coste, a French national who was living in Laos for 8 years as a medical professional and a photographer. Philippe accompanied the TAEC research team on trips throughout the north of Laos, and has a wide range of experience in rural villages. Philippe’s work has focused on portraits of ethnic people, Lao communities, working elephants, rice field landscapes, and more. He has exhibited in France, Laos and Thailand and is currently based in France.
Dr. Linda S. Mclntosh
A past member of TAEC’s Board of Advisors, Linda S. McIntosh was intrinsic to the establishment of the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. A Southeast Asian textile expert, she has curated exhibitions and published numerous articles on Southeast Asian textiles, arts, history, and culture. Her formal training in the study of Southeast Asian cultures began with a Master’s degree in Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she completed a Ph.D. at Simon Fraser University, Canada, in Lao textiles in 2010. She also holds a certificate in Museum Studies from the University of Washington. Her publications include a manual on handicraft production in Laos and several exhibition catalogs including textiles of Laos. Linda is Lao-American and committed to preserving the indigenous handicrafts of Laos.
Kees Sprengers has been a photographer for over 20 years, and has been documenting the lifestyles and cultures of Luang Namtha province since 2002. In 2008 he started working with the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, participating in numerous research trips, particularly on the Taoism of the Yao Mun and Yao Mien people. This work culminated in our special exhibition: Splendour and Sacrifice: Taoism of Northern Laos. Kees’ photographs of a Kim Di Mun wedding were also featured in the special exhibition, From Courtship to Kinship: Wedding Celebrations of Laos’ Ethnic Groups. Kees continues to dedicate his time and energy to TAEC, and is currently based in Thailand. More of his work can be see on his website.