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Changing the Lens

Building the capacities of low-income, dalit or low caste women and teenagers to represent themselves


Reel Lives Real Lives

Question: what if you turned media conventions upside down (or inside out), and asked those who are typically represented to discuss their representation? Answer: a whole lot of radical re-envisioning, creative analysing, and deconstructing of media-perpetuated stereotypes. Reel Lives Real Lives, a workshop for 50 women in prostitution on the representation of sex work in Bollywood, explores the responses and analyses of the ‘subjects’ of representation to a series of films portraying their profession, thus allowing these women a previously denied agency through their voices.




Body Works

From spicy dances to emotional dramas and from colourful movie billboards to pirated DVDs, nearly every aspect of Indian popular culture is infused with the laughter, tears and icons of Bollywood. With the goal of using this dynamic culture as an entry point to talk about social issues within urban slums, these dance and theatre workshops are designed for teenagers from the communities. By building personal capacities and effectively feeding into entertainment-based campaigns, dance and theatre dually function as means of expression and empowerment, bringing together young adults as effective agents of social change. 




Reversing the Gaze

Why is it uniquely important to put cameras in the hands of those who may have never dreamt of holding one? What happens when those who are consistently documented within public space begin to the do the documenting? Can a new way of seeing simultaneously forge a new way of being seen? Through holistic photography training sessions conducted in collaboration with the Photography Promotion Trust, individuals from marginalised yet often over-documented communities are given the opportunity to step around to the other side of the camera’s foreign lens - to represent their lives, their communities and their lived realities, for the first time, through their own eyes. Exhibitions so far include Dharavi, Fantastic Land, Zist Tarashi: Sculpting Lives, and Dharavi, Meri Jaan.



Say It Your Way

Consider the following two groups: 1.A number of dynamic college students, a lack of discussion around relationship abuse, and a desire for change. 2. A group of intelligent and proactive women from urban slums, a prevalence of domestic violence, and a desire for change. Tapping into the innate creativity and energy of the two groups, outreach workshops explore conceptual and practical ways to carry out effective campaigning within a community. From creative poster campaigns asking college students to speak out against abuse, to women-led public awareness campaigns about domestic violence in Mumbai’s slums, these workshops empower various groups of people to effectively create change within their own environments.


PAD.MA

Authorship. Cityscape. Copyright. Conflict. Ethnography. Law. LGBTQ. Literature. Moving People. PAD.MA is an online archive of video material, primary footage, and unfinished films, and acts as a way of opening up a set of images, intentions and effects present in video footage - resources that conventions of video- making, editing and spectatorship have tended to suppress, or leave behind. The project was initiated by CAMP, Majlis, oil21 (Berlin), Point of View, and The Alternative Law Forum.

WEB

Dharavi: Fantastic Land

Dharavi, Asia’s second-largest slum, is a unique melting pot of communities from across India. This heart shaped conglomeration of cultures, identities, professions and individuals has been over-documented through the eyes of the curious outsider, the deriding policy maker, the voyeur, the social worker, the artist. What is absent through much of this documentation is the worm’s eye view – the eyes, or lens, that look inward. Conducted in partnership with SHED, Dharavi: Fantastic Land unfolds the joyous, affectionate relationship 12 children between the ages of 10-15 years enjoy with their ‘home land’. Taken by these children, the photographs represent Dharavi as a fantastic land – a place of identity, aspiration, comfort and belonging.




 
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