Our framework is informed by gender and intersectionality on Indian and diasporic (GRID) heritage so as those people and practices discriminated along the intersecting lines of gender, caste, class, race/ethnicity, sexuality and disability along with their heritage work are fully appreciated, engaged and supported at national and transnational levels.
The GRIDHeritage network includes academics, researchers, artists and heritage practitioners and specialists in three main areas:
CRAFT: paintings, illustrations and three dimensional objects (co-ordinated by Parul Dave-Mukherji, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)
THREADS: embroidery and textiles (co-ordinated by Raminder Kaur, University of Sussex, UK)
ECHOES: music and performance (co-ordinated by Navtej Purewal, SOAS, UK).
paintings, illustrations and three-dimensional objects that remain outside the main canons of national and diasporic narratives. These might be by way of female and LGBTQI artists adapting historical forms for contemporary commentary on social and political life; or marginal artists who work in various media to adapt their cultural heritage in new ways.
embroidery and textiles that have conventionally been dismissed as low-class/caste and/or ‘women’s work’. These might be pursued for personal reasons (trousseau or domestic use), economic gain (women’s collectives), political purposes (the legacy of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s call to take up spinning to reject exploitative economic and political regimes of textile manufacture), and for the creative expressions of intersectional identities as with LGBTQI artists who are minorities among minorities.
music and performance that are either suppressed, erased or marginalised. These can be reflected in creative expressions and interventions through song, dance, drama or digital art to push boundaries and challenge assumptions of status, ‘pollution’ or ‘deviance’ that stigmatise the performer and/or the performance. They can create sensory experiences in a liminal space that often blur and problematise the distinction between reality and imagination/fantasy with performances that name, mimic and criticise social hierarchies.
Network participants apply a gender and intersectionality lens to heritage issues and cases by considering the following research questions:
How do we develop a context-specific understanding of gender and intersectionality as they apply to Indian and diasporic heritage? In what ways have practitioners felt discrimination with respect to their identity and heritage? What are the implications of this for the individual and the community/ies with which they self-identify in changing contexts?
To what extent is the value assigned to forms of heritage used to include some groups and the devaluation of other forms of heritage used to exclude others? How are categories such as 'art' and 'craft', 'artisan' and 'artist' applied for work that draws upon an individual's heritage?
What is heritage? How do we make sense of heritage objects and practices located across diverse caste-class, ethno-racial and regional contexts? How does this influence an understanding of their various homes, whether they be in India or in the UK?
How can we use gender and intersectionality lenses to empower individuals and communities to build upon their heritage sustainably?
How can we place what might be off-the-grid or hidden heritage associated with marginalised people on a platform where they can be valued now and in the future?
Appreciating and conserving our diverse heritage is an important endeavour for our past, present and futures. Recognising how certain aspects are valued over others is equally significant. In an adaptation of a well-known phrase, those who control the past control the future, and those who control the present control the past. Experiences and practices of discrimination and inequity in the current era has repercussions for whose, and which kind of heritage continues for future generations.
In honour of the late Dukhushyam Chitrakar
The GRID Heritage network is a collaboration between the University of Sussex, Jawaharlal Nehru University, SOAS University of London, Sussex Asia Centre, SOAS South Asia Institute and the Jena Declaration. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Indian Council of Historical Research.
For further information about the GRID Heritage network research and activities, please contact:
Prof. Parul Dave Mukherji, Jawaharlal Nehru University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Raminder Kaur, University of Sussex, email@example.com
Prof. Navtej Purewal, SOAS University of London, firstname.lastname@example.org
Premjish Achari, Curator, New Delhi Exhibition
Sourav Roy, Project Coordinator, New Delhi
Dr. Sanjukta Ghosh, Project Coordinator, London