Tag Archives: envisioning the indian city


As part of the Envisioning the Indian City project we have been invited to produce a short set of podcasts for the ‘Realise’ series at Liverpool University. Each podcast is devoted to one of the cities we have been researching [Goa, Pondicherry, Kolkata and Chandigarh] for the past few years in collaboration with Jadavpur University in Kolkata.


You may listen to us here: and read more about the project here:

This gallery contains 3 photos.

Originally posted on Envisioning the Indian City:
Standing on the Esplanade crossing, looking down Lenin Sarani with the “Tipu Sultan” mosque on our left, Kawshik Aki pressed his shutter. Bringing his camera down from his eyes he looked at the preview, shook his head, took a step to the left and clicked again.Meanwhile I stood…

This weekend is the final gathering of the ‘Envisioning the Indian City’ project team in Kolkata, as well as the launch of our Augmented Reality app that overlays historical photographs of Kolkata onto contemporary cartography. If you are in Kolkata please do join us.

Visualizing the City_flyer final-1

Cities are inhabited spaces felt through all our senses, especially those of touch, hearing, smell, and so on. In representation, in imagination, in planning and conceptualization, however, they are above all visualized spaces, appearing before our eyes as seen, remembered, or projected. This one-day symposium will focus on the ways in which cities and city-spaces are experienced through the visual register, though we want to interpret this term as widely as possible to include modes of conceptualizing or laying out city-spaces.

Through a series of presentations from architects, historians, literary scholars and art historians, we wish to bring out multiple ways of seeing the city: as a planned (or not-so-planned) space fitting into a conceptual grid; as a scenic location represented through art or captured in memory; and as a visual experience that feeds into the phantasmagoria of city life. Individual presenters may bring out even more nuanced ways of visualizing the city and historic proto-city sites.

The symposium is the last in a series of international workshops and research seminars under the UGC-UKIERI International Thematic Partnership ‘Envisioning the Indian City: Researching Cross-cultural Exchanges in Colonial and Post-colonial India ’ between the University of Liverpool and Jadavpur University, 2013-15: https://eticproject. This research project focused on four significant city-sites, Goa, Pondicherry, Kolkata and Chandigarh – the first three originating in distinct colonial encounters (with the Portuguese, the French and the British) and the fourth a creation of the post-colonial Indian state. However, in the course of research, other cities and other ways of understanding or viewing urbanity also came into focus, and our work was immeasurably enriched by the contributions of urban historians and scholars worldwide, as part of an ongoing conversation about cities, space, modernity, and cross-cultural encounters.

In the last phase of the project, our team has been developing the Kolkata layers for the Augmented Reality App through which historic photographs and other archival footage related to existing city-sites can be accessed on one’s mobile phone. This final phase of project research has been enabled by a generous grant from the University of Liverpool and the archival resources of the British Library’s Photographic Collection. We have also been greatly assisted by support from our other non-HEI associates, such as the Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata, where the AR App, Timescape Kolkata, will be launched on 28th November at 6 pm, after a panel discussion featuring urban specialists and advisors to the project: Timescape Kolkata: Seeing the Past in the Present.

The day-long symposium on Visualizing the City (Jadavpur University, 10 am – 4.30 pm), however, is not simply a prelude to the launch. It will draw together perspectives from architecture, town planning, history, art, literature and contemporary urban culture to reflect on the major project theme of ‘Envisioning the Indian City’. Our invited speakers are Professors Miki Desai (CEPT Ahmedabad), Snehanshu Mukherji (Architect; Visiting Faculty, SPA Delhi), Swapan Chakravorty (Presidency University), Tapati Guha-Thakurta (CSSSCal), Jonathan Gil Harris (Ashoka University) and Dhir Sarangi (Jawaharlal Nehru University). Entry to the symposium and launch are free and we welcome participation and interaction.

Visualizing the City_flyer final

10 am:

Introductory Remarks and Welcome to Participants: Nandini Das (University of Liverpool) and Supriya Chaudhuri (Jadavpur University), ETIC Project Coordinators

10.15 am – 11.45 am: Session 1: Chair, Nandini Das

Jonathan Gil Harris (Ashoka University): From the Ethiopian Highlands and Baghdad to the Nehr-e-Ambari: How to Build a Transnational Deccan City Dhir Sarangi (Jawaharlal Nehru University): French Visualizations of India through Maps and Drawings from the 18th Century

  1. 45 am – 12 noon: Coffee

12 noon – 1.30 pm: Session 2: Chair, Nilanjana Gupta 

Snehanshu Mukherjee (TEAM/ Visiting Faculty, SPA Delhi): The Vanishing City

Miki Desai (CEPT Ahmedabad): Towns in Transition: a Missing Link in Visualizing the Indian Urbanity: Case Study, Gujarat

1.30 pm – 2.30 pm Lunch

 2.30 pm – 4.00 pm: Session 3: Chair, Supriya Chaudhuri

Tapati Guha-Thakurta (Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta): The City in the Archive: Calcutta’s Visual Histories

Swapan Chakravorty (Presidency University): ‘All Its Several Lodgings Composed’: Visualizing Houses of Art for a New Kolkata

All are welcome.

Please join us after the Symposium for the launch of the AR App, Timescape: Kolkata, at Victoria Memorial Hall, 6 pm

This looks like it will be a very informative and productive conference. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

Envisioning the Indian City

Envisioning the Indian City: People, Places, Plans
International Workshop
Monday 17th – Tuesday 18th August 2015
Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

Envisioning the Indian City (ETIC) is a UGC-UKIERI Thematic Partnership Project (2013-15) between the University of Liverpool, UK and Jadavpur University, India. The Project (see ) studies Indian cities as crucibles of cross-cultural encounter, with special focus on Goa, Pondicherry, Kolkata, and Chandigarh. Over the past two years, with numerous seminars, research projects, lectures and presentations, and two International Workshops held in Kolkata and Liverpool, the Project has brought together a variety of interdisciplinary approaches to urban studies, cultural history, on-site research, archives, city planning, architecture, the city in art and representation, collective memory and communities in the city.

In the third of our International Workshops, to be held at Jadavpur University on 17-18 August 2015, we welcome presentations on urban encounters and exchanges through individual  and…

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