F1S: How did you become involved—and what has the experience been like?
Malsa Maaz: I grew up here in the Maldives, in Malé. After I finished school, I worked in the heritage industry as a Research Intern, which paved the way for university. For my Bachelor of Arts, I studied archaeology and anthropology and I have just finished my Master of Research in engaged anthropology at a university in Wales. My main focus was on the documentation of Maldivian cultural heritage and my fieldwork involved learning traditional arts and crafts such as fangi vinun (coconut thatch weaving), roanu veshun (coir rope weaving) and kasabu viyun (embroidery lace weaving) using traditional tools and techniques.
After university, I worked on a project as a cultural anthropologist to help establish a private museum at a resort, researching the pre-Islamic history of the Maldives and Maldives-Chinese relationships to trace the porcelain trade.