TAEC conducts primary research in ethnic communities, developing close relationships to localise and enrich the information collected. TAEC’s own team visits the field an average of four times a year to document festivals and special events, record oral histories of community elders, research artefacts in our collection, and explore future exhibition themes. This research informs our exhibitions, is shared with students and academics, and is recorded in film, photographs and written accounts in the TAEC library.

TAEC field trips have taken our research teams to the far ends of the country, from Phongsaly to Houaphan to Attapeu. TAEC has commissioned and led research from leading anthropologists including Dr Jacques Lemoine and staff of the Centre for Ethnic Studies and Development at Chiang Mai University, and has collaborated with cultural documentarians such as Peter Livermore, Kees Sprengers and Clifford Terry. In 2009, TAEC produced its first documentary film entitled “Taoism in Northern Lao PDR:  A Kim Di Mun Ordination.”

TAEC is also actively engaged with current international scholarship in the field of cultural heritage management. The Centre has been invited to present at conferences in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam and has been featured in numerous publications, including UNESCO’s “Community Based Approach to Museum Development in Asia and the Pacific for Culture and Development”, Asian Art News and the BeMuse magazine of the Singapore National Heritage Board. Our work is guided by a Board of Advisors, made up of leading academics in the fields of anthropology, Lao culture, textiles and museology.

TAEC’s advisor, Jacques Lemoine, interviewing a Taoist priest A Yao Mun woman being fitted with a celestial crown, documented for TAEC’s wedding exhibition TAEC interviewing a Yao Mun artisan about the use of wooden masks