City Scripts

 

City Scripts, an annual festival organised by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), is a three-day celebration of writings that bring alive the city as seen through myriad lenses. Since 2016, the festival has brought together eminent authors, journalists, architects, poets, artists and others, and centre-staged writings across form through conversations, readings, panel discussions and workshops. Held in Bengaluru and Delhi, the festival has a dedicated and growing audience. So far it has been attended by over 2,000 people.

 

Some of the prominent speakers at City Scripts so far include Ravish Kumar, Kiran Nagarkar, Vivek Shanbhag, Shubha Mudgal, Aneesh Pradhan, Harsh Mander, Baradwaj Rangan, Orijit Sen, Urvashi Butalia, Mukul Kesavan, Naresh Fernandes, Paromita Vohra, Arshia Sattar, Vasanthi Hariprakash, Srinivas Alavalli, CS Lakshmi (Ambai), Anjum Hasan, Bruce Lee Mani, Supriya Nair, Somak Ghoshal, Amrita Shah, Nisha Susan, Sriram Aravamudan

Showcasing the City

Besides being the only festival of its kind in the country to focus on the city, City Scripts is also unique in its insistence on going beyond the book to embrace a variety of forms of writing that produce and reproduce the city—from novels to Wikipedia, poetry to essays, academic texts to children’s books, and film screenplays to travelogues.

 

This has allowed the festival to encompass a wide range of themes including city histories, activism, gender, reportage, and cinema, among others. Artists, photographers, planners, poets and bloggers have been part of experiential panels on food, nature, and music in the urban milieu and how these have been represented in writing. At City Scripts 2018, librarians from Bengaluru’s public and private libraries came together—possibly for the first time at a writings festival—and discussed the importance of libraries as a public space to conserve heritage material and rare books, and to enable wider access to knowledge archives.

Language in the Urban Experience

The role of language in the city has been explored at City Scripts both through panel discussions dedicated to Indian languages as well as several bi-lingual and multilingual sessions in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu, Hindi and English. These sessions have included book readings, conversations with authors and broadcast media practitioners. A panel discussion on the ‘city in translation’ featured writers, translators, educators and technologists actively engaged in the field of translation including the act of creating/translating Wiki pages. The session was followed by a translate-a-thon—akin to an edit-a-thon—where participants translated information on the urban into Indian languages including Gujarati, Marathi, Odiya and Hindi.

Diverse Formats

In order to encourage more active audience participation, interactions at City Scripts go beyond the traditional panel format to open up these exchanges to allow for a diverse—and therefore, richer—exchange of ideas about cities and the urban experience.

 

Thus far, City Scripts has framed sessions in the form of conversations, workshops, masterclasses, film screenings, keynote lectures, round table discussions, readings, as well as innovative formats such as ‘walking-writing workshops’, translate-a-thons, live art, and games.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Over the years, City Scripts has collaborated with various media outlets, publishers, bookstores, cultural centres, and other institutions in Bengaluru and Delhi.

  • The Hindu – media partner
  • SAGE Publications – award sponsor
  • Goobe’s Book Republic – festival bookstore
  • Atta Galata – festival bookstore
  • May Day Bookstore – festival bookstore
  • The Book Shop (Jor Bagh) – festival bookstore
  • The Aravani Art Project – live art
  • The Alipore Post – programming
  • Fields of View – programming
  • Wikimedia Foundation – programming
  • India International Centre – venue
  • Goethe Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan – venue

City Scripts 2018

 

City Scripts 2018 in Bangalore pushed towards thinking about how the city itself is produced and reproduced through different forms of writing-from novels to Wikipedia, poetry to law, hashtags to essays, ethnography to children’s books. Keeping with its theme of ‘Mapping the city through its many stories’, the three-day festival hosted sessions on open data and knowledge sharing, alternative smaller media movements reporting ground-up narratives, Bengaluru’s platform economy, and the city’s public and private libraries and imaginations for their future. The closing day featured back-to-back sessions centre-staging namma ooru and those who weave its stories and take it to the world-through books, music, sketches and skits.

Speakers

BENGALURU

Aastha Chauhan Aditi Surie Amogh Arakali Ananda Byrappa
Anjum Hasan Aravani Art Project Archana Kashyap Aromar Revi
Ayushi Saxena Bijal Vachharajani Bruce Lee Mani Dinesh
Deepu Divya Narayanan Gautam Bhan Hamsa Kalyani
Isaac Arul Selva Kabir Arora Kanchan Kaur Kaveri Gill
Kavita Wankhede Kayonaaz Kalyanwala Keerthi Shastri Fields of View
Mallika and Rathnamma Mamta Sagar Meera K Mukul Kesavan
Nagappa Bakkannanavar Neha Sami Nikhila Anoth Nisha Susan
N S Gundur Padmini Ray Murray Paromita Vohra Pinky Chandran
Poornima Sukumar Preedip Balaji Priya Kuriyan Raksha Kumar
Rathnamma Rohini Kejriwal Sheshagiri Kulkarni Shikha Nambiar
Sruthi Krishnan Shruti Rao Sruthi Krishnan Srinivas Alavalli
Sriram Aravamudan Supriya Nair Supriya Sharma Surekha
Tanveer Hasan Vasanthi Hariprakash Vikram Sridhar

NEW DELHI

Ajmal Kamal Akhil Katyal Amita Baviskar Aromar Revi
Arunava Sinha Avantika Tewari Awadhendra Sharan Chandrahas Choudhury
Chandan Gowda Dhiren Borisa Dhrubo Jyoti Diya Mehra
Elizabeth Kuruvilla Ghazala Jamil Githa Hariharan Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
Hemant Divate Manoranjan Byapari Michael Creighton Mohammad Sayeed
Mohsin Alam Bhat Mridula Koshy Nidhi Rawat Nirupama Dutt
Orijit Sen Peter Ronald deSouza Prasad Shetty Rizio Yohannan Raj
Rupali Gupte Samina Mishra Samprati Pani Sandip Kuriakose
Sarover Zaidi Shreya Ila Anasuya Shuddhabrata Sengupta Sipra Mukherjee
Supriya Nair Thomas Meyer Tripta Chandola Vani Subramanian
Vinutha Mallya

City Scripts 2017

The second edition of the IIHS urban writings festival City Scripts, was held in Bengaluru between 3rd and 5th February and in Delhi between 10th and 12th March. It featured eminent authors, journalists and others involved in writing in and about the city. Significant topics like the Jallikattu protests in Chennai, media and censorship and music and movies in the city were discussed. Panelists included Shubha Mudgal, CS Lakshmi, Kiran Nagarkar and Baradwaj Rangan. The Tejeshwar Singh Memorial Award for Excellence in Writing on the Urban was instituted and awarded to Amrita Shah for her book ‘Ahmedabad: A City in the World’. The festival saw over 500 participants.

 

For the first time City Scripts was held in Delhi, at the India International Centre (IIC) Annexe and the Goethe Institut/ Max Mueller Bhavan. The three-day event hosted a series of readings, conversations and moderated panel discussions around a range of themes including poetry, violence, cinema, masculinities, reportage and walking in the city. Noted panelists included Ravish Kumar, Kiran Nagarkar, Shahid Amin and Monalisa Changkija, among several others.

Speakers:

Amrita Shah Aneesh Pradhan Arpita Das Arshia Sattar
A R Venkatachalapathy Aruna Ganesh Ram Amitabh Kumar Baradwaj Rangan
Bina Paul Bridget White-Kumar Claire Rao C S Lakshmi
Dipankar Hamsa Iyer Harsh Mander  Jenny Pinto
Karen Coelho Manogna Shastry Mudnakudu Chinnaswamy Naresh Fernandes
Nisha Abdulla Nisha Susan Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Priya Chetty-Rajagopal
Rakesh Ragunathan Rana Ayyub Rohini Nilekani Rupleena Bose
Samar Halarnkar  Shubha Mudgal  Sidharth Bhatia Subasri Krishnan
Sultan Ismail Supriya Nair Vasanthi Hariprakash Vasudhendra

City Scripts 2016

City Scripts 2016 began on 19th February. The three-day urban writings festival featured panel discussions around city histories, urban reportage in India and on cities and cinema. Highlights of the festival include the launch of Gautam Bhan’s ‘In The Public’s Interest’, a masterclass on writing, conversations with renowned authors and storytelling sessions for parents and children. Over 300 people attended the first edition of City Scripts in Bengaluru.

Speakers:

Aarti Mohan Anjum Hasan Appupen Aromar Revi
Arpita Das Arshia Sattar A R Venkatachalapathy Danish Sheikh
Disha Mullick Gautam Bhan Harsh Mander Indrajit Hazra
Jairaj Singh Kaiwan Mehta Kalpana Sharma K T Ravindran
Lawrence Liang Naresh Fernandes Nisha Abdulla Nisha Susan
Paromita Vohra Ravikant Rohan Shivkumar Ruchir Joshi
Rupleena Bose Samar Halarnkar Savita Hiremath Spandan Banerjee
Srinath Perur Subasri Krishnan Suresh Jayaram Urvashi Butalia
Vidyun Sabhaney Vinutha Mallya Vishwajyoti Ghosh Vivek Shanbhag
Zac O’Yeah

Related Videos (2018)

‘Uber-ed’: Bengaluru’s platform economy and urban subjectivities

Common Knowledge: The possibilities of open access publishing

Knowing the City: Urban scholarship from the Global South

Reading in the City: Conversations with Bengaluru’s librarians

Writing for Impact: Narratives from the ground up

Unravelling the Black Bag: Waste and the city

Readings from ‘The Way I See It: A Gauri Lankesh Reader’

Bombay Rosie and the Art of Writerly Promiscuity

Street Vendors Act: Digital storytelling as an intervention

So you think you know about children’s books?

Art as Intervention – The Aravani Art Project

#CitizenMovements: How technology is reframing public participation

When Bangalore became Bengaluru

Swalpa Adjust Maadi: Taking Bengaluru to the world

Related Videos (2016)

Opening Remarks by Aromar Revi

Music in the City

Madras to Chennai: Histories Against the Grain

Writer in the City

Tickling the Urban Palate : Food and Culture in the City

City as Ghetto / Inclusive City

Paranjoy Guha-Thakurta in conversation with Nisha Susan