Culture: Industries and Diversity in Asia
Senior Fellows: S.V. Srinivas and Ashish Rajadhyaksha
Associate Fellow: Radhika P.Email
Description of Research Programme:
Vision: To study the restaging of Culture as linked to Rights, the Economy and Governance and its consequences for the present.
Objectives: To collaborate with the industry and donors to extend the relevance of cultural theory into the working of both business and philanthropy. To move away from Donor Dependency and towards Consultancy as the basis of the relationship with donors and industry.
Culture Asia: The Culture Asia project consists of two phases:
- Phase 1 was the Culture Asia: Connecting Cultural Actors conference which was held from 14th-16th December 2008. The conference, for the first time, brought together 84 stakeholders, including artists, cultural activists, funders and academics from Central, Southeast and South Asia regions. It attempted to initiate a conversation among autonomous art practitioners and activist groups of these regions but also between them and cultural theorists on the one hand and major donor agencies on the other.The conference was able to discuss key issues around the connection between cultural production and civil society in Asia, the dynamics of funding artistic and cultural production both by the State and non-State players and issues of networking, cooperation and advocacy within the cultural field.
- Phase 2 of the project is Travel and Learning. During this phase the organizers will fund participants of the CultureAsia 2008 conference to travel to other organizations to explore possibilities of collaborative activities. Last date for receiving applications for grant applications: 10 September 2009.
- The Cultural Last Mile: This project attempts to analyse the Last Mile as a Human Resource Question. There are two research questions emerging from this project that will be investigated:
- One is mainly a conceptual-archival investigation into India’s encounter with the ‘last mile’ problem. The term, coming from communication theory, concerns itself with (1) identifying the eventual recipient/beneficiary of any communication message, (2) discovering new ways by which messages can be delivered intact, i.e. without either distortion of decay. The concept is also tied to the developmental project of the Indian nation-state that perceives the democratic project to be accomplished with the help of technology-be in radio or television. Given the chronic historic failure in bridging the last mile, whether in communication theory or in the development projects, the study reinvestigates the model itself, along with its historic failures. This project is being funded by Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore.
- The second study is an intervention into India’s undergraduate college spaces and will try and understand the ‘last mile’ problem in the way internet is used for educational purposes. The project will focus on peer-to-peer and two-way movement versus one-way downloads that would convert technological eavesdroppers (i.e. uncommitted recipients) into participants (stakeholders capable of acting upon what is received). It will research and devise an implementation strategy for use of new technology (internet, mobile phone) arising from research findings. The study is supported by the Nokia University.
Certificate Programme in the Digital Classroom- Christ University: (under the Undergraduate Diploma in Cultural Studies offered by CSCS)- July 2009
As part of the Cultural Last Mile project, CIDASIA along with the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) and Center for Education Beyond Curriculum (CEDBEC), Christ University, Bangalore, is conducting a certificate programme in the Digital Classroom which is being organized by the Department of Media Studies, Christ University. The purpose of this course is to investigate the transformations taking place in the classroom through the process of digitization of the various aspects of classroom pedagogy. While several universities and undergraduate colleges have actively adopted technologies such as making available downloadable versions of courses and class readings, using blogs and wiki as pedagogic devices etc, it is unclear as to how drastic is the change caused by the use of these digital technologies to the conventional classroom space. Is the change no more than conventional content and teaching/assessment strategies moving to new platforms? Or is the change more fundamental than that? These are the questions the programme sets out to explore. This course, to be conducted with media students of Christ University will also see the active participation of faculty from a range of disciplines across the board: education, law, computer science and sociology. It will be conducted over 10 sessions to be divided into five modules:
- Module 1: The University and the Class
- Module 2: The Public Nature of the Classroom
- Module 3: The Digital Native
- Module 4: Technologies Of Learning (1): The Institution And The Institutional Repository
- Module 5: Technologies of Learning (2)
- The Livelihoods Project: Cultural Production and Livelihoods in the Age of the E&M Industry: Study of the Culture Industry in Bihar and Karnataka:
The project proposes to study contemporary non-traditional cultural production that emerged with the arrival of modern technologies of reproduction. The Entertainment and Media (E & M) industry or what is called the ‘creative industry’ today is becoming a site of intervention by different groups—state, corporate houses and international agencies such as the UNCTAD—that seek to transform culture into intellectual property and monetizable economic value. However, there is a hitherto unacknowledged sector that falls outside of creative industries and creative economy, and which is significantly tied to the livelihoods of a large number of cultural practitioners and entrepreneurs. The project will study this link between the non-traditional, non-creative industry sector and the question of livelihood. It will explore the question through cultural production in Bhojpuri and Kannada, the focus being Bhojpuri music and film industry and Kannada print and film industry. The study examines how cultural production and consumption is closely linked to migration and politics albeit in different ways in the two regions.
This project is supported by Sri Ratan Tata Trust.
4. Study of Emergent Cultural Hubs in Urban India: Towards Policy Recommendations
The project thinks through new policies on Creative Cities as an alternative to Urban Engineering which merely focuses on infrastructure. It surveys contemporary arts and culture spaces in urban India, in particular Bangalore. These have not only grown in number in Bangalore in the last decade but a few are fast becoming hubs of a city’s culture. The study is important considering that the emerging network of institutions is likely to play a critical role in shaping the city’s creative future as well as the ability of creative practitioners to contribute to urban development and cultural diversity. Significantly, the new cultural hubs are becoming attractive to various audiences: local inhabitants but also discerning visitors and are being written about by the press. The relevance of a public policy encouraging city-based culture and creative industries is widely recognized by national governments as well as international agencies such as UNESCO and UNCTAD. Such creative hubs have proved to be important engines for the growth of local economies in cities across the world including London, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In such a context we propose to undertake a detailed and comprehensive study of arts and culture spaces in Bangalore and and have a consultation among artists, art-managers and representatives from the govt., private and corporate companies towards facilitating a policy that will encourage cultural hubs and make them a part of urban planning.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, March-August 2011
Forthcoming Projects and Events:
In order to get a better sense of the cultural policies of national governments as well as international agencies such as WTO and UNESCO today, in the context of the changing nature of ‘culture’ under globalization and the hitherto unprecedented levels of mediation of cultural practices and production by major corporate houses and national governments within the framework of Creative Economy, CIDASIA envisages the following efforts:
I. Building and Sharing of a Knowledge Base on Cultural Policy and its Impact on Cultural Rights and Cultural Production: As a follow-up to CultureAsia 2008, we propose to collaborate with some of the participants of the conference, especially colleagues from Sri Lanka and Indonesia, to create and share a Knowledge Base on Cultural Policy among these countries. The knowledge base will include key policy documents related to cultural policy that have been generated within each national context under examination and will focus attention on the linkages between policy as it relates to cultural rights & diversity, livelihoods and cultural production.
II. Delimiting a National Cultural Policy in the Present: In the context of the UNESCO CCD that recommends the formulation of a national cultural policy as the means for the protection of cultural practice, the project will ask the question: Is a national cultural policy legally possible and enforceable? Is any such policy desirable? It will trace the policies located in the multiple ministries in India to show the difficulties of formulating a national culture policy in a place like India.
III. Summer School on Cultural Policy for Industry and Corporate Professionals: Exploring the possibility of an academic-corporate collaboration in discussing questions of culture policy in the light of new challenges confronting both traditional arts and digital culture (if such a distinction can be made).
a) Culture Asia: Connecting Asian Actors Conference, 14th – 16th December 2008. In collaboration with Hivos, The Hague and Open Society Institute, Budapest.
b) Culture Industries, Cultural Diversity and Cultural Policy in the Time of Globalization (September 28-29, 2007). In collaboration with Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore. Supported by HIVOS). Proceedings of the conference were published in September 2008.
c) When The Host Arrived: A Study of the Korean Wave in India (supported by InKo Centre, Chennai). Completed in April 2008.
d) Asian Stars: Markets, Politics and Sex Appeal (April 19th, 2007).
e) Asian Cinema: Towards a Research and Teaching Agenda (February 2-4, 2007). Supported by Japan Foundation, New Delhi).
f) Democracy and Spectatorship in India: Telugu Popular Cinema and Hong Kong Action Film (2000-2002). Project outcome: published articles and website.
(i) “Film Culture, Politics and Industry.” Seminar, Issue on Unsettling Cinema, No. 525, May 2003. http://www.sephis.org/pdf/srinivas4.pdf
(ii) “Hong Kong Action Film in the Indian B Circuit.” Inter Asia Cultural Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1, April 2003. http://hongkongaction.cscs.res.in/docs/Hong%20Kong%20Action%20Film%20in%20the%20Indian%20B%20Circuit.pdf
(iii) “Citizens and Subjects of Telugu Cinema.” Deep Focus, March 2002.
(iv) “Telugu Folklore Films: The Case of Patala Bhairavi.” Deep Focus, Vol. IX, No. 9, 2001.
g) Cinema in Andhra 1921-1950: The Formation of a Public Sphere (1998-2000). Project outcome: published articles, materials uploaded on the CSCS media archive.
Cinema in Andhra 1921-1950 : The Formation of a Public Sphere (1998-2000)
Project Coordinator: S. V. Srinivas
The project looks at how cinema emerged as a public institution. The analysis focusses on the cinema’s initial promise of democracy in its potential availability to everyone—unlike other contemporary media which required significant cultural or economic capital—and the perception of this very potential as a problem by the colonial state and educated Indians. The study maps the specific viewing conditions in cinemas, which ensured the segregation of audiences along the lines of class, caste and gender, onto the cinema’s attempt to constitute a national public through ‘swadeshi’ mythologicals and nationalist melodramas. Sources for this project include colonial and postcolonial government records, writings on cinema by Indians and oral accounts of the conditions and practices of filmviewing. One of the objectives of the project is to put together resource material to facilitate further research in the area.
What has been achieved: A wide range of materials on early cinema in the Andhra region have been identified and some of them collected. Photocopies of film journals and titles of important films on videotape are among the resources now housed at CSCS. Libraries in Vijayawada (Rammohan, Tagore and Bhramarambha Malleswari libraries), Pune (NFAI) Chennai (Roja Muttaiah Research Library) and Calcutta (National Library) were referred to as a part of the exercise. Personal libraries of individuals in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Gannavaram were accessed. The list of sources and libraries was prepared in consultation with Dr. Lakshmana Reddy, an eminent scholar of Telugu journalism. This list was used by researchers for the Telugu Cinema Workshop.
In addition to accessing printed sources, interviews with carried out with eminent film critics and former actors like Inturi Venkateswara Rao (film critic and the editor of the first film journal in Telugu), Katragadda Narsaiah (former film distributor and well known Telugu film journalist), Turlapati Kutumba Rao (former President of AP Film Fans’ Association and journalist), Mikkilineni Radhakrishna Murthy (former film artiste and author of books on Telugu stage and cinema). Managers and proprietors of cinema halls in Vijayawada were interviewed for details of the history of film exhibition in the city (the earliest permanent cinema hall was built in Vijayawada in 1921). Three papers have been written on the basis of the research carried out for the project. Selcetions of material collected as a part of the project are now a part of the CSCS Media Archive.
(i) "Is there a Public in the Cinema Hall?” Framework 42 (online edition), October 2000. http://www.frameworkonline.com/42svs.htm
(ii) “Gandhian Nationalism and Melodrama in the 30’s Telugu Cinema.” Journal of the Moving Image, No. 1, Autumn, 1999.
h) Telugu Cinema: History, Culture, Theory (1999). National level workshop conducted in collaboration with Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, supported by Ford Foundation, New Delhi. Outcome: published dossier on Telugu cinema (in English and Telugu), available in the CSCS library.
Visiting Fellows and Ph.D Students:
Joonkoo Lee, PhD Scholar, Duke University, Durham.
Professor M. Madhava Prasad, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.
Professor Earl Jackson Jr., Department of English Language and Literature, Korea University, Seoul.
This programme has been supported by:
§ Sri Ratan Tata Trust
§ Hivos (The Hague)
§ Hivos (Bangalore)
§ Open Society Institute (OSI, Budapest)
§ The Japan Foundation (New Delhi)
§ Nokia University
§ InKo Center (Chennai)