The Neighbourhood Project


Partner Organizations: SRTT

The Neighbourhood Project was inspired by PUKAR's larger vision of documentation as an act of intervention. It invited students and other citizens to write ethnographies and histories of their own localities and neighbourhoods. Using the lens of biography and family history, the project documented Visual (using photographs and videos) as well textual data (in the form of essays and stories), valuing the special ability of such knowledge to provide an unusual, interior perspective on the sociology and history of the city.

The project considered the very act of recording personal histories and biographies, located within the diverse localities of Mumbai, as a means of transforming the citizen's position within urban public life. It provided a platform for people to reflect on their relationship to the city and then share their narratives and images with each other through exhibitions, film shows, publications or websites. These could potentially inaugurate a series of partnerships between various groups and individuals that are aimed at fulfilling a range of agendas that could enrich the city in different ways. The project partnered with civic initiatives, NGOs, schools and colleges on the premise that such documentation contributes to the knowledge about the people these organizations and institutions are involved with, in their own voices. It also provides a personal way for citizens of the city to strengthen their sense of belonging and invites them to participate more actively in civic life.

The Neighbourhood Project was infused with the belief that local spaces are intensely political and thinking and writing about them or imaging them is an act of political involvement. It privileged the knowledge which students and citizens had of themselves, their familiar worlds and made that the entry point to engage with the equally complex politics of nationalism and globalization. The project produced essays, photographs and short video films that were exhibited and circulated among different localities and groups. These brought to surface the vivid images and narratives of various citizens and the dense localities that made up this populous and vibrant city.