Hamdasti and the first Heritage Action Group completed our pilot workshop at the Seminary back in mid-November; however, the Hamdasti team has been traveling across India, and only now have the chance to share some of the photos and insights from our workshop. We're happy to report that the workshop was very successful, both for us and the participants.
We worked with between 15 to 20 students from Class VII, of which most students were between 11 and 15 years of age. The class was all male, and most of the students lived in the nearby neighborhood of Chitpur Road. Because the Oriental Seminary is a Bengali-medium school, we conducted all of the workshops in Bengali.
On the first day we began a discussion with the students about culture and heritage, especially in the context of Kolkata and Chitpur Road. We talked to them about what culture is, why it's important to study, and the elements of culture that comprise a neighborhood. We also discussed the particular history of Chitpur Road, its role in the Bengal Renaissance, and how different heritage economies of printing, publishing and theater shaped the culture of the neighborhood.
We also gave them a homework assignment that asked them to think about culture and heritage, both in the larger sense and within their neighborhood. Some of these questions may have been somewhat heady for the Class VII students, but we were very impressed by the students' ability to understand and discuss new concepts.
We are a Kolkata based non-profit dedicated to promoting civic engagement through participatory art projects.