City Stories: Linking research and teaching by making visual teaching aids

Ayona Datta made the two mini-documentaries on a very tight budget.

I took all the shots on a HD quality flipcam (from the School of Geography), while being shown around these places by my collaborator Prof. Abdul  Shaban and local facilitators and/or residents who had in-depth knowledge of the local history and politics of these places. Initial time was spent visiting and photographing these sites and deciding on locations. The shooting of Byculla was done in one day and of Malegaon in two days.

Once the shoots were completed it took me many months of storyboarding and preliminary editing till I arrived upon the rough cuts of the two films. I was fortunate that the ‘Student Experience Fund’ in the School of Geography at University of Leeds was able to supplement the funds from UKIERI including buying video-editing software and the recruitment of my BA Geography student Mark Ball who did a stellar job editing the first film City bypassed on Byculla.

City Stories was recently covered by a leading Indian newspaper Times of India, and was screened in TISS on 6th August 2013 with a panel discussion including two participants in the documentaries, Prof. Shiva Raju (director of the Centre for Development Studies in TISS), and Mr V Bhat, Deputy Secretary, Minorities Development Department, Government of Maharashtra, India. The first documentary ‘City bypassed’ was published in openDemocracy [] on the same day and was so popular that it was made its front page feature for some time. It has been played over 470 times since it was uploaded on Vimeo. The second short documentary ‘City forgotten’ (15 mins) will be published in openDemocracy in early September.

You can view City Bypassed on vimeo and read more about Ayona Datta’s documentaries on her wordpress blog: The city inside out