The IIHS Media Lab was set-up in 2009 to engage with various aspects of the urban through multiple media practices. The Media Lab serves as a platform to aid research, teaching and pedagogy inside and outside the classroom. In a rapidly changing, complex world, the Media Lab is a repository for audio-visual conversations around the urban by leading academics and practitioners, who help understand the nature of cities. The IIHS Media Lab is a space where creative expressions on the urban, irrespective of the media form, can be showcased so that multiple ‘ways of seeing’ can lead to a newer and different understanding of the cities.
The IIHS YouTube channel is a platform to archive audio-visual material relating to the urban, including conversations with key academics and practitioners around some of the most pressing concerns around urban issues. The Media Lab also live streams select talks and events onto the IIHS YouTube Channel.
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Media Lab uses city as a canvas to help learners effectively use the visual language to communicate by bringing digital technology and the visual medium together and understand the impact of images . It aims to equip them with skills that will help in their domains of practice – whether they are researchers, designers, architects, activists or are just looking to express themselves creatively.
Film and the City
Film and the City looks at notions of the city as shaped by Indian and World cinema, taught by watching films as a text and discussing the socio-economic contexts of film movements, to inspire and make different urban contexts more comprehensible.
Ways of Seeing
The workshop intends to be a space to consciously recognise the manner in which images are created, modified and read, to discuss and debate the current issues on visual representation and processing to tell effective stories.
The course is a mix of theory and practice, where learners are encouraged to produce and exhibit their own work by the end of the workshop.
Introduction to Media and the City
The course ‘Media and the City’ aims to sensitise and train learners to understand, capture and present the multiple aspects of a city in a digital video format. It aims to engage with different perceptions of the city in the political, cultural, economic and social realms. This five day course on filmmaking is a mix of theory and practice that includes hands-on technical skills, training on making short films in an urban setting.
Cinema provides a space to reflect and re-examine the cities. The idea behind the Urban Lens Film Festival is to look at the different ways in which filmmakers/artists engage with the idea of the city through multiple media practices. These fiction, non-fiction and animation films mirror a cinematic truth about cities, framing them beyond their skylines by teasing out individual/collective stories and experiences of people from around the world.
In keeping with the mission of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), the festival explores cinematic narratives that emerge from cities of the Global South. The thrust of urbanisation in these countries is unprecedented, giving rise to a sea of striking stories. The Urban Lens Film Festival aims to create a space for reflection and spark critical discussions about cinema and the nature of urban experience through several film screenings to a congregation of filmmakers, researchers, students and a larger section of the public.
The Media Lab also views the audio-visual medium as a method for research. These films and images breathe life into the facts and data in the form of stories. These stories, representations and reflections are used in the teaching programmes to offer different perspectives to the learners. It also adds value to the form of blended learning.
The IIHS Media Lab successfully collaborated with other teams to deliver the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Sustainable Cities for the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN). The course had over six thousand learners in its first iteration.
The Media Lab had also been involved in the production of the MOOC on Global Public Health.
The audio-visual medium is also used as a pedagogic tool. Extensive documentation of the teaching programme helps faculty in reflecting on their teaching practices.