Unbox Cultural Futures

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UnBox started in 2011 as a festival in Delhi to celebrate emerging ideas across disciplines of art, culture, design, technology and social innovation, to foster collaboration and seed new ideas. Here with our first cultural mapping effort, we are in the process of discovering new directions and conflicts that are emerging in contemporary India. In no ways exhaustive, this is our effort to celebrate the complexity of a culture in transition, of an emerging creative economy.

Transcript of Unbox Cultural Futures

  • UnBox Cultural Futures


  • UnBox started in 2011 as a festival in Delhi to celebrate emerging ideas across disciplines of art, culture, design, technology and social innovation, to foster collaboration and seed new ideas. The platform has since then grown to include a Fellowship programme, an Ideation Lab, Pop-up events and mini festivals.

    As a platform that seeks to focus on multiple facets of contemporary issues, UnBox highlights disruptive individuals and projects that are pushing boundaries of their practice. By showcasing the non-mainstream in real and authentic formats, UnBox attempts to seek out not only new answers but also uncover new questions.

    Here with our first cultural mapping effort, we are in the process of discovering new directions and conflicts that are emerging in contemporary India. In no ways exhaustive, this is our effort to celebrate the complexity of a culture in transition, of an emerging creative economy.

    We hope that this becomes a starting point for forming new collaborations, discovering new content and inspiring new debates that can come to fruition at UnBox 2016.

    Welcome to UnBox!

  • This publication is not for commercial use, and acknowledges the rights of the owners of images used.

    Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivsYou are free to share to copy, distribute and transmit the work under the following conditions: Attribution: The festival (UnBox)

    requires that you must attribute the work in the manner specified (but not in any way that suggests that the festival endorses you or your use of the work).

    Noncommercial: You may not use this work for commercial purposes.

    UnBox 2015www.unboxfestival.com

  • Enterprises & Social Responsibility

    Connected Communities

    Makers in India

    Cultural Ethnography


    We the People

    (Re)Appropriating Space


    Clean India

    Engaging the Past

    Accessible Healthcare

    Art without Lineage














  • Enterprises & Social Responsibility


  • 7Enterprises in India are juggling economic viability and social responsibility - but whos doing it best? How may we define the metrics of such hybrid models of operation?

    Traditional beneficiaries of social innovation schemes have graduated to become an important market for emerging enterprises, and often also stakeholders in this process of change.

    The public sector is no longer the prime driver of development; and the private sector, driven in part by the new Corporate Social Responsibility guidelines, has evolved its approach from philanthropy to an integrated and sustainable social business strategy.

    NGOs and social enterprises have also increasingly realized the need to be economically viable and investment friendly; like start-ups, they compete for funds on conventional grounds of scale, replicability and reach.

    Boundaries are blurring. For-profit and not-for-profit businesses often operate in tandem under the same banner. Do enterprises still need to decide which side theyre on? Which is the ideal operating model?

  • Honhaar Bharat Skill India Mission: http://goo.gl/RYrRii

  • 9National Skill Development Corporation

    NSDC is a not-for-profit company and a public private partnership set up to fulfill the Skill India Mission. It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing the creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions in India. Its approach is to develop partnerships with multiple stakeholders, attract significant private investment and to ensure that its funds are re-circulating loans or equity rather than grants.

    Quality Education and Skills Training (QUEST) Alliance

    QUEST Alliance is a not-for-profit trust that focuses on research-led innovation and advocacy in the field of teaching and learning, often using Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It serves as a unique platform where the interest and capabilities of NGOs and the private sector converge to demonstrate and enable scalable and replicable solutions.

  • Janalakshmi: https://youtu.be/JXie9h9b5pQ

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    Janalakshmi, designed as a social business, has a 2-tier structure, comprising of a not-for-profit holding company called Janalakshmi Social Services and a for-profit operating company called Janalakshmi Financial Services. JSS promotes enterprises in urban financial inclusion and urban affordable housing, while JFS provides financial services to the urban underserved.


    Dasra connects social entrepreneurs and philanthropists, and provides strategic training and mentorship to NGOs and social enterprises in order to drive large scale social change.

  • Connected Communities


  • 13

    In the density and conflux of India, technology is bringing people together like never before. What are their rules of engagement?

    Social media and a host of technology driven start-ups are creating new definitions of communities and connecting people who might have not had access otherwise. Communication over an accessible internet is facilitating knowledge transfer and an increase in transparency. Technology is also thus acting as a powerful means for civic engagement and for mobilizing the public.

    The internet, however, is not free. Like any other tool, it is controlled by those in power and in their hands it has been censored, manipulated

    and used to persecute. Equally, it is the

    responsibility of creators -and users- to ensure self-censorship, accountability and respect for varied perspectives.

    Digital tools of communication have been marveled at and fawned over. Perhaps it is time we look at them a little more critically: How may we balance both the good and the bad which come with connected communities? What might be the codes of conduct and rules of engagement in this new social context, that is beyond national boundaries?

  • Digital Green: http://goo.gl/n5vO9o

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    Digital Green

    Digital Green is a not-for-profit working to improve agriculture, health and nutrition across South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. It collaborates with existing social organizations and works to amplify their impact by employing technology. The Digital Green platform enables rural communities to create and share videos to drive wider adoption of locally relevant practices.


    NextDrop is a Bangalore based start-up that sends out SMS alerts to citizens about water supply. It also forwards the real time feedback it gets from users to utility providers in order to increase transparency and resource efficiency.

  • KITES Babitha George

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    A collaborative project between Invisible Flock and Quicksand, KITES connects people across geographies through stories and shared experiences, using SMS as a medium for communication. Using text only responses to curated questions, KITES offers up a sparse snapshot of another life in a one-to-one exchange, challenging preconceptions, exploring differences and similarities.


    m.Paani is a mobile based coalition loyalty program that enables communities living at the bottom of the pyramid to earn points every time they spend on network operators, FMCGs, retail, etc. These points can be exchanged to avail development rewards such as safe water, education, health care and energy products. m.Paani won the Hult Prize in 2011 and is currently being implemented in Mumbai.

  • Makers in India


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    Is the emerging Maker movement going to be friends or foes with Indias massive informal economy and its long-established institutions of handicraft?

    The global Maker movement has found its way to India, supported by a growing network of online communities, offline makerspaces and young start-ups. The focus on learning-by-doing and skill building goes beyond the digital to encompass traditional vocational skills such as woodworking, metalworking and electrical fabrication.

    In this context, both Indias handicraft industry as well as its large body of semi-skilled and skilled labour can be seen as significant partners in

    the movement. Despite this opportunity, the common artisan crafter is sadly struggling and the traditional Indian disdain towards manual labour is indisputable.

    Meanwhile, the Indian government plans to power industrial growth by encouraging Indian and foreign manufacturers to Make in India. The success of this campaign, however, depends on the ready availability of workers needed to run these shiny new manufacturing units.

    After all, someone needs to be doing the making.

  • Digital Craft UnBox Festival: https://goo.gl/MbWC21

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    Handcrafted Digital@UNBOX 2014

    The intersection of traditional and emerging makers was one of the core focus areas of UnBox 2014. Working at the integration of digital technologies into art and craft practices, the Digital Craft series of workshops at the festival explored the use of conductive ink and block printing to create touch-sensitive surfaces with audio responses. The workshop was anchored by Justin Marshall, a professor of digital craft at Falmouth University, UK, who collaborated with Rajasthani block printers, textile design students and Arduino enthusiasts.

    Lab Craft: Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft

    Lab Craft was a touring exhibition organized by the Crafts Council, UK between 2010 and 2012. It featured makers who combine technical mastery of tools, material and aesthetic