• ARTS AS POLITICAL PRACTICE
  • MEDIA PRACTICE IN DIVERSE LANGUAGES
  • STORIES FROM THE MARGINS
  • SHIFTING THE CENTRE

Maraa: a Media & Arts Collective

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ABOUT MARAA

We are a media and arts collective in Bangalore, founded in 2008. Diverse, playful and inter-sectional in nature, we employ different lenses of caste, labour, gender and culture in curation, production and research. Attentive to structural violence and inequality around us, our work is centred around freedom of expression through language, form, subjectivity and oral histories. We are committed and keen to focus on practice and process with a strong culture of dialogue and mutual sharing of knowledge with all whom we work with.

COLLECTIVE

Structured horizontally, we shoulder different responsibilities and earn the same salary at Maraa. We learn from each others’ experiences and differences. Free to express our views, we rigorously critique each other, and arrive at a consensus on key decisions.

ECLECTIC

Our work is not strictly project or donor dependent. A significant part of our work responds to the political, cultural and economic environment around us by collaborating with practitioners across different disciplines and interests. We do not have a fixed identity.

PROCESS

We pay close attention to unknown and suppressed histories even as the oppressed are held responsible or appear hapless victims. At the same time, we emphasise the creative energies that go into daily survival. We dig deeper than the eye approves.

What we do

Curation

Maraa collaborates with creative practitioners to make the arts in conversation with the contemporary political moment. As we experience socio-political changes and natural disasters around us, we believe it is possible to view histories and futures in imaginative ways. We host progressive voices and stories that are suppressed systematically or that enable us to see things in a different light, in all its complexities. Apart from galleries, we curate our shows in parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, bars, and bookshops to shift the context of space and time.

Training

Maraa has been involved in training and setting up the first ten community radio stations in India. We have facilitated workshops with community radio stations in the areas of policy and regulation, participatory programming, editing, management and research. We have worked to build a strong network of women reporters in community radio that continue to work together. We have been conducting workshops on gender to broaden the scope of gender to include sexuality, masculinity, myths, alternate ideas of justice and local histories with adolescents, students, women workers, geographical communities, rape survivors and media practitioners.

Production

Maraa produces content, to document stories, practices and histories as a practice of remembering and informing our work with diverse communities. We publish a newspaper and produce films on labour, cities and migration to document labour histories and resilience and expose injustices and discrimination against the working class. These are distributed to trade unions, employers, workers, artists and students. We have co-produced radio documentaries and podcasts that have explored a variety of formats like interviews, readings, storytelling, and songs and themes like adolescent sexuality, reproductive health, media censorship, art, folk culture and literature.

Research

Maraa undertakes research on media and communications related issues. We have experience and competence to undertake and deploy a mix of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies that are especially suited for media and communication initiatives. These range from simple questionnaires to semiotics and ethnography. We also undertake baseline, end-line, monitoring and evaluation and other kinds of research for civil society institutions and/or media initiatives.

Arts

The arts has informed our ways of seeing and thinking, enabling new approaches to old ideas. The political, economic, and cultural dimensions of a growing metropolis are constantly in flux. Our work pertains to how public spaces are marked by laws and norms, permissions and prohibitions, official and unofficial forms of discrimination and violence. We try to retain the sensuous essence of the arts even to virtual public spaces. We have also learnt the forces of nature are larger than us, and try to work with the residues or its affect on us, directly or indirectly. Artistic practice and process for us is not independent of the political environment around us. We believe that the arts is not an instrument or a tool for social change but can stand for itself as politics in its very form, shape, colour, language etc.

Media

In an age when society is mediated heavily by visual cultures, digital technologies and capitalism, media production has the power to influence political economy and culture. Post-liberalisation in India, privatisation of media and communication allowed for democratised use of media and technology across different groups of people. Content represented was systematically designed to propagate and suppress information, based on various political agendas. Patterns of media ownership contributes to reproduce and entrench the inequality we see around us further. While they appear more transparent in mainstream media, they persist in alternative, digital and social media too. The consequences are evident: where disinformation and hate speech are used against minority groups, often leading to unprecedented forms of violence and destruction. Our efforts are towards promoting independent community owned and managed media towards a resilient, diverse and pluralistic media landscape. Depending on the specific intervention for the media platform or system in question, our work takes different forms – including research, training and production.

Gender & Sexuality

Gender and sexuality are intrinsic to our experience of society and our position within it. In mainstream development discourse, gender is reductively associated only to biology, health and a focus on women’s issues. Instead we have chosen to listen closely to the worldviews, contradictions, beliefs and ideas that shape people’s daily lives and actions. We believe that creative practices can open up new spaces of conversation and action. It is with this understanding that we work within the space of activism and social change, trying to be attentive to constructions of masculinity, femininity and sexuality. We have worked closely with women’s collectives, adolescents, students and workers from diverse organizations, networks and social movements that work on gender violence, labour and caste discrimination. Our work focuses on sexual violence, notions of justice, masculinity and gender and labour. We are committed to highlighting experiences of violence that are ignored by mainstream media and public discourse, specifically against minority communities in India.

Our Team

Our team consists of young people with a background in alternative/community media, arts and public spaces. We have a very small, full time core team of five people spread across Bangalore and Delhi. We also work with a wide range of media professionals, like camera persons, editors, designers, publishers etc for specific activities. Get in touch if you want to work with us for specific projects, full time or even if you want to intern or volunteer with us.

Work With Us

While we are a small team, we work with a range of practitioners, activists and researchers who work with us on specific activities or projects. If you are interested in working with us in developing or supporting ideas around our areas of work, feel free to get in touch.

Internships

We are open to collaborating with young people across disciplines and contexts on ideas, projects and experiments. If you are interested in working with us please fill in the internship application form.

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Get in Touch

You can contact us through this form or via our social media accounts. Join our mailing list to get updates on our events.