I love museums and am eternally interested in how these cultural resources can activate their role as key community forums and gathering spaces to address larger civic issues.
For this reason, I was really impressed and interested in following the BMW Guggenheim Lab over the last few years as "international, interdisciplinary Lab Teams—groups of emerging talents in the areas of urbanism, architecture, art, design, science, technology, education, and sustainability—the Lab addressed issues of contemporary urban life through free programs, projects and public discourse."
The Lab in Mumbai
The Lab's Relevant Events*
Many of the Mumbai Lab events appear relevant to our contributions in discussing how to empower women and girls and also up their safety in urban areas. Here's a sample:
"What role does gender play in public space? Is there a way to reimagine and reclaim the city as a place of equality for women and men? How can we reveal female subjugation, which is so deeply embedded in the terrain of cities and the logic of our culture?"
• Invoking Justice - a film by Deepa Dhanraj, India, 2011
"...chronicles the struggle of a group of women to bring the private, domestic issues of women into the public domain defined by the community. This documentary sheds light on an all-woman’s Jamaat (council) that was formed to uphold a new standard of justice for women. The women’s council holds its exclusively male counterpart and local police to account, and attempts to reform a corrupt system that uses religion to justify violence towards women."
• Pop-Up Garden
"Studies show that women in Mumbai do not have access to spaces where they can have privacy, whether they need it to speak to their children or simply to take a quiet moment for themselves. This hands-on workshop explores how pop-up gardens throughout the city may be able to fill this and other needs by catering to diverse communities. Women, representatives of civic bodies, students of planning and architecture, and others interested in urban planning are invited to help move the idea forward toward a workable model."
• Ten Conversations [Interviews] about Privacy
From this collection of Mumbai's residents reflecting on privacy and public space, you can listen to all of the interviews and/or read some transcripts here - Much is revealed about how safe women feel as well, particularly from the femal interviewees.
For a complete list of all the Mumbai Lab events, see here.
The Lab's Findings
In the Lab's exploration of what constitutes a public space and what is privacy, they discovered:
There's So Much More for Us to Learn from the Lab!
I believe that we would benefit from diving deeper into The BMW Guggenheim's process, findings, and blog entries. I imagine that the Mumbai installation would yeild a number of important leads for potential interviews for us as well.
Does anyone know more about this work or have connections/inroads with the Mumbai Lab advisors and team or with The BMW Guggenheim Lab altogether?
* I'd love to see these films! Any ideas on how we might access them?