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A podcast on how communities take on the responsibility of being the change they want to see in the World through the examples of Bidar and it's people.

Change Makers

Collaborators: UNESCO Chair, Team YUVAA, Poorvi and Medha Agarwal

 

Software Tools: Adobe Audio, illustrator, Wix

Skills:  Qualitative research, Script writing, Oration, Storytelling

Target Audience: Podcast listeners looking for feel good stories.

Overview

This project was a collaboration with UNESCO Chair at Srishti School of Art Design and Technology and a local NGO, Team YUVAA in the northern district of Karnataka called Bidar. Known as the city of 'Whispering Monuments', one can find many historic ruins here. Amongst these monuments are water structures like tanks, baolis, stepwells and karezs. Our goal was to rediscover and relay the relevance of historic water systems and structures in this region which faces acute water scarcity. In the course of the collaboration and research, I got interested in the stories of the people in Bidar and how they have been experiencing and tackling social and environmental problems and how it is relevant to the global efforts toward environmental conservation. These stories have been recorded in the form of oral history interviews and strung together as a podcast called Change Makers.

Links to the website and podcast

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Aim of the project

The goal of this project was to explore creative practice as an act of listening and negotiating to enunciate the everyday use, maintenance and future of ancient water structures.

Importance of Collaboration

It was important for us that we recognised our limitations as designers and worked with people within the community. This meant acknowledging their tacit knowledge and giving them credit as community experts..

Field Visit 1

For field visit 1, we went to various microcontexts in Bidar with Team YUVAA. Amongst the various water structures we explored, I decided to focus on the Karez system. It was built in the 15th centuray but had fallen out of use and forgotten over the years. But due to the efforts of Team YUVAA and other national and international organisations working together, it was cleaned and restored. Water began to flow through it again in 2016. Through this, I wanted to explore how grass roots movements are started and maintained around water and thereby leading to conservation efforts like the Karez restoration project.

Preparation for Field visit

As I began to map and explore the Karez restoration project and the role of community experts like Team YUVAA, I used oral history narratives as my main methodology. This method was appropriate for my purpose as it provides in-depth insights into events, communities and individuals that are often not well documented in popular history. But these stories are just as important because they reflect opinions, actions and their consequences that aggregate to form the larger well documented events.

I made many templates and tables that would allow me to store and process the oral histories in order to get qualitative data on and of the field.

Making sense of the Data

After returning from the field, I started to transcribe the audios in three languages, Hindi, English and Kannada. Then I conducted a qualitative analysis of the data using coding. This helped me identify themes and mark out sections that I wanted to use in the final output. Finally I organised all of these categories using sticky notes, thereby forming the skeleton for each of my podcast episodes.

Field visit 2

During field visit 2, I began by interviewing key members of TY and then branched out to other people who seemed to also be working in such areas. Over the course of 10 days, I would record these over my phone, listen to them and follow up with them on another interview. Sometimes I used images to jog their memories. Overall, it was a slow but very insightful process.

Making the Podcast

My peer, Poorvi was also making a podcast series as one of her outputs. So we decided to make a common space for us to upload the podcasts. As we made it, we realised that this website has a potential to hold more than just our podcasts. It could be a series that covers many aspects of Bidar. So we created a website called Bidar Tales. This platform is meant to grow as more people become part of this project and take up making podcasts to talk about Bidar and all its dimensions. Poorvi and I created our channels on this platform to talk about our niche topics. But it is intended to encourage and accommodate more channels.

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