2nd Conference on Research in Art, Design and Culture

Bangalore, December 20-21, 2019

Radical City

Please Register to Attend the Conference.

(The deadline to submit abstract is over.)

In the next few decades a billion people will be urbanized. There will be over forty megacities—more then 10 million inhabitants—most of which will be located in the “global south,” especially China and India. Cities already stretched to the seams will explode. The accelerated global warming and extreme weather events will only make the situation worse resulting in unimaginable consequences. Currently, two predominant conceptual models to confront this bleak future are gentrification and smart city. While the gentrification is driven by certain notions of living, lifestyle and forms of leisure embodied in acculturative environments, the smart city believes in the technological intelligence as an inevitable destiny and singular solution, because of its ability to measure, monitor and apportion all resources, including human, in real-time. But, both the models—not incompatible with each other—are embedded into a broader idea of city: a space of conglomeration of large number of people who flow between distributed and demarcated zones of activity. The foundational blocks of this conception of city—planning, monitoring, measuring and intervening—have lost their effectiveness in the face of overwhelming growth and the environmental challenges. What is urgently needed, therefore, is a paradigmatic shift from post WWII model and its technological reincarnations to rethink the very idea of a city. The ambition of this conference is to bring together artists, architects, writers, poets, designers, urban planners, social scientists, humanists and others to reimagine the city ex nihilo.

For the ease of organization and as a guide to potential contributors we have identified three themes, but we welcome any innovative ideas or imaginations related to city.

  • City in History: Even though we propose starting from zero, we believe in learning from past and appropriate it for the present as well as future. Hence, we welcome contributions on radical dimensions of past cities imagined and realized in space from any part of the globe.
  • City from another Point: The normative forms of understanding a city are differentiated zones of activity and flows of people and materials between the zones.  We invite contributions that look at a city from another point, say an object of consumption, an animal, a flower that adorns homes, a filmmaker, an artist, or an intrepid courier that crisscrosses the city in zeal to deliver.
  • City Anew: We welcome contributions that have abandoned existing conceptualizations of a city and have imagined new forms of habitation from the beginning, again.  We also invite contributions that rearticulate inherited models of working, living and being.

The spatial context of this conference is South Asia in particular and Asia in general. However, we are open to any interesting and relevant ideas that are rooted in other geographical locations.


There are 4 ways in which you can participate

  • Read a Paper: Send an abstract of no more then 300 words that addresses any questions that we are interested in discussing in the conference by October 15, 2019.
  • Showcase: You can show your work in form of an artifact or a picture/poster/performance. Send us few pictures and write-up of 300 words with requirements by October 15, 2019. If selected you can come and show your work.
  • Other ways: If you have found or thought about imaginative and innovative ways of presentation we would welcome them.
  • Just Come: You could just come and listen, ask question, engage in a discussion and network.

The Participants

M N Ashish Ganju: Architect, Founding Director of the TVB School of Habitat Studies in New Delhi and co-author of the book ‘The Discovery of Architecture: A Contemporary Treatise on Ancient Values and Indigenous Reality’.

Savyasaachi: Social scientist, Faculty at the Department of Sociology, Jamia Milia Islamia and author of the Penguin book of forest writings titled 'Between the Earth and the Sky’.

Neelkanth Chhaya: Eminent architect and academic, former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at CEPT and current Adjunct Faculty at Srishti.

Vidya Rao: Singer of thumri, dadra and ghazal; she also writes on music and the performing arts.

Shonaleeka Kaul: Cultural and intellectual historian of early South Asia, Associate Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and author of ‘Imagining the Urban: Sanskrit and the City in Early India’ and ‘Eloquent Spaces: Meaning and Community in Early Indian Architecture’.

Sohail Hashmi: Social activist, heritage conservationist, historian, founder of the ‘Delhi Heritage Walks’ and author of the book 'Sanchi: Where Tigers Fly and Lions Have Horns’ which forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of India Series.

Ram Rahman: Photographer, curator, designer, activist, and visual archivist of Indian culture.


Important Dates

OCTOBER 20, 2019: Extended Deadline for submission of abstracts for papers, showcase, and others.

NOVEMBER 1, 2019: Acceptance decision communicated for papers.

DECEMBER 20 & 21, 2019: Conference