Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Indian reflections

I spent some time in India in January and February, doing a research project about how people engage with objects in museums, thinking about the object itself, trying to seeing what it might be that objects in museums actually do, and how we might research this. We were based in the wonderful City Palace Museum in Jaipur, working with the National Museum Institute in New Delhi in a partnership funded by the British Academy and UKIERI with the School of Museum Studies in Leicester where I am based. There's a blog about it called Things Unbound. I thought I would have time to think about Things of the Least while I was there, and do some drawings in my lovely notebook that Hazel made me for exactly that, and collect some things, but it was busy and crazy, and I didn't. Alas. I did collect a lot of things, so perhaps they will surface on here in due course... And I am going back to India again, so I can only hope that I'll do some drawing then.

What the whole experience did do (amongst many other amazing things), was give me a whole new understanding of what 'things of the least' might be, and how people have different perspectives of what is a thing of the least. A thing of the least for me, might be a thing of the most for you.

At the Education Centre, Kathputli Nagar, Jaipur, India
We went to an amazing education centre in one of the poorest slums in Jaipur, Kathputli Nagar in Jaipur. Just one room, no bigger than my tiny front room for 25 children to learn English, taught by our friend Rakesh (second left) and the inspirational teacher standing next to me.

The people we met were absolutely wonderful: warm, friendly, hospitable, and for me it was the most powerful demonstration of how education really does transform lives. Rakesh himself had learnt English for only three years, and was no working as the swimming pool attendant in the hotel we stayed in briefly, but in his 'spare time' was now teaching and giving back to his community in the Education centre.

It was truly inspirational and in many ways life changing, giving me a new perspective on the big wide world. And the things that are really needed there are for us things of the least - pencils and paper... Things which we take for granted, and which we use all the time even to do this project. What if we didn't have them? It made me think about Hazel's pencil stub holders in a totally new way.

I am trying to work out a way to get some things of the least out to Jaipur and will post again on here when I know how this might work.


At 25 March 2015 at 12:48 , Blogger hazel said...

What a great experience.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home