From (June- August) 2014, Revue( Sreejata Roy & Mrityunjay Chatterjee) undertook their community-art research project Networks & Neighbourhood in the localities of Khirkee Village, Khirkee Extension and Hauz Rani. The research was qualitative in nature and directed towards connecting with local residents, particularly young women, building rapport and establishing trust. The scope and findings of this initial stage of the project clearly indicated that it had the potential to be further developed and creatively documented, with an in-depth focus on the way women perceive their relationship to public space. Refining this into a rich and textured sociological narrative would require more time.
The year long art project ( starts April2015, ends April 2016)by Revue is in a process of exploring how art intervene in mobilizing women from different background to create their own space in public. Through creative engagement how it is possible for the women to make self-sustaining spaces.
To achieve this end Revue is working primarily with groups of adolescents and young adults. These groups share their thoughts and creative practices to develop idea for how there can be more intervention by the young women in the public spaces in the locality of Khirkee-Hauz Rani, where the visibility of men is dominant.
There is also an intent in the project, to draw men on the street into a dialogue about the gender equality in terms of the acceptance of women in male-associated professions, as well as dialogue about the visibility of women in public spaces through creative engagement, like wall painting, performance.
The primary site of the project will be Khoj Studio.
This project is also engaging interns from multidisciplinary backgrounds like Social Science, Anthropology, Social Design, Urban Design, Visual & Performance Art.
The project blog is designed primarily for the interns to post their observations and insights. The blog this serves as in informal archive that will help us and other researchers and interns to track the course of the project. Blog material can be a useful base for the development of ideas and as a discursive tool that encourages researchers to communicate with and support each other.
In the past, interns, Arifa Khan and Satender Tiwari from Social Design department of Ambedkar University, Delhi are working with us.
The interns from Ambedkar University inquired about the reasons for the low visibility of women in the public spaces of the locality, talking to people from different professions — shopkeepers, cobblers, barbers, dhaba owners, tea-sellers, property brokers, beauticians, etc. They also talked to residents from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, from other parts of India, and foreign migrants such as Africans and Aghans who have a significant presence in the area. One main finding is that neighbourhood beauty parlours, to which men are not admitted, appear to be an important meeting place for women, as well as for transgenders living in Khirkee, who congregate there for daily chat and leisure activity.
Presently interns, Chetana Naskar and Nian Paul from Social Geography department of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi are working with us.
Apart from the interns,there is group of local teenagers/ young adults, Vidhi, Bianca, Kashish, Razia, Gazala, Rodaba, Rabiya, Rubina, Gulsaba, Rashmi, Deepak who are engaging in the process by sharing ideas, thoughts through creative activities. They meet twice in every week in a session for the discussion and art activities. This group of youth live in the neighbourhood of Khirkee and Hauz Rani and are from different social background, as Nepali, Manipuri, UP, Bihari, Afghan.
Eventually, we are in the process of creating a core group with the aforementioned local teenagers/ young adults which aims to build up a collective and to experiment in creating a self sustained space in the public.