4th July 2013 New Delhi, India

Further funding for the Unbox Fellowships

Every time you sneeze, stop and consider what you are thinking about. This was one of the recommendations given during the Unbox festival in January this year. This festival showcased some of the best of India’s burgeoning design, art and technology sectors, including the findings from the Unbox fellowships, advertised in my earlier blog.

 The Unbox Festival
The Unbox Festival

The fellowship programme was run in partnership between the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the British Council, UnBox festival and of course SIN. Teams of Indian and UK creative researchers and practitioners came to India with the following remit:

Work with your assigned host organisation to identify a local challenge; develop an innovative solution involving the various disciplines of expertise within your team; design an interactive means of expressing this at the UnBox Festival in Delhi; and dare to pitch for £25,000 worth of R&D funding.

AHRC have recently awarded the five participating UK researchers funding to further develop collaborations in India. The new funding will support longer term collaborations and give the teams the opportunity to address further questions that arose from the Fellowship.

The teams covered a broad range of topics, summarised below:

UnTIL – considered the use of an online game to connect urban users to rural agricultural practices, rural development and issues facing farmers in India. The funded research will explore this method of storytelling and learning to engage urban users and to promote the message that urban users’ own survival is interconnected with that of the small farmer.

UnPLAY – is developing a ‘serious art game’ which is inspired by Indian heritage artefacts but does not resort to usual aspects of the exotic or the oriental.

UnMAP– looked at one important site along the Grand Trunk Road in a location of particular significance for Muslims and Sikhs. The team collected narratives of the cultural, historical, and human stories. The research project aims to uncover the ways in which Sikh and Muslim heritage co-exists in post-partition Punjab in India.

UnBUILD – explored how the vibrant Mapusa Market could be creatively mapped or documented. Using specially designed tools for creative production, the research project will build up a series of vivid ‘cross-sectional’ views of the market as a nexus of cultural, commercial and social relationships, a hub for cultural production and an exciting physical place.

Investigating the produce on offer in Mapusa Market
Investigating the produce on offer in Mapusa Market

UnVEIL – tested explorations on paper using cut‐outs of iconic imagery, reassembled and reshaped through collage and drawing to present governance and law based information in a simplified, easy to understand form. The ongoing research will look at how media and new technologies might be used to encourage active engagement with open governance in India.

The interdisciplinary approach of the UnBox fellowship has enabled it to build bridges between the creative industries and arts and humanities research, and between lessons learned in the UK and those learned in a society with very different trajectories and challenges. What’s clear is that India and the UK have much to gain by sharing their knowhow in the creative sector which is why SIN will continue to expand its work in the creative sector.

Update: 27/11/13: There’s a new call for Unbox 2014, check out details here…