Personal stories part of archives

Personal stories part of archives

An unusual documentation project launched last year culminates this weekend in a virtual event

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An event to showcase personal and community stories is coming up this weekend.

Curating for Culture, the collective hosting the virtual event, was conceived in 2020 by Ishita Shah, historian, archivist and designer.

As a response to the lockdown, she organised a series of workshops with Vallabi Jain, public space designer.

Together, they launched a 10-day workshop in April last year with 12 participants. Two more workshops followed.

“Those sessions ended with the participants framing a proposal or plan,” says Ishita.

It then led to ‘Constructing Personal Archives’, a four-month incubation programme that featured workshops, and open dialogues with her and other archivists.

Twenty participants were selected from Delhi, Raipur, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Shimla, Raipur and the Nilgiris in India, and Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Syria and the United States.

Participants included freshers, graduates and working professionals. Select participants were mentored.

After four months, they were asked if they would be interested in using the acquired knowledge to build projects.

Two months on, the participants are ready to showcase their work digitally.

The projects represent a wide variety of interests. Some archive family histories, while others engage with community narratives or build institutional archives.

“There are archives on Auroville and the architect Pradeep Sachdeva, and one where a grandmother becomes the protagonist and is telling the story of the family’s migration,” she says.

Every household or neighbourhood is full of narratives and this programme intends to empower people to take control of their own history, Ishita explains.


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