On the third day of the workshop, we continued with the work of creating guidebooks, from the perspective of the students, for their local neighborhood of Chitpur Road.
Students used a grid template worksheet to fill in information about the different aspects of Chitpur Road that they were "experts" on, for the guidebooks. Students used pictures of 18th century prints documenting life on Chitpur Road, fragments from their school newsletters and pictures from magazines to create images for the pages they made.
Finally, after finishing their collages and writing texts to describe the different aspects of life on Chitpur Road, the students left the school to go on a short field trip. We took them to N. C. Dutta & Co., located next to the Seminary, to learn about the local art of bookbinding which continues to this day.
The students were very interested in the techniques that Mr. Dutta used to bind the books. Many of the students remarked on how they were surprised by the simplicity of the process and were excited to learn that their guidebook would be bound and produced using these techniques. It was rewarding for us to see how such a simple field trip could enable the students to see the relevance of such heritage economies in their own lives.
We wrapped up the workshop by asking the students what they learned and what they enjoyed about the workshop. Some students talked by how they liked looking at the books, and others how they enjoyed learning more directly about local cultural practices. We certainly learned a lot from the students about their experience of Chitpur Road, and look forward to our next collaboration with them, during the second phase of the Heritage Action Group.
We'd like to extend our thanks to the first Action Group including teachers and students of the Oriental Seminary, Mr. Dutta and Rajasee Ray, the facilitating artist, for working with us on this community workshop!
We are a Kolkata based non-profit dedicated to promoting civic engagement through participatory art projects.