The Cultural / Civic Entrepreneurs Forum: Junoon


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The Cultural / Civic Entrepreneurs Forum is aimed at highlighting initiatives that have the potential to stimulate and enliven the public and community spaces of the city. Great places are not just an outcome of design but management , programming & Community Engagement & enabling social networks & partnerships. The forum  presented cultural change agents who organize and adding to the cultural & social capital of the city. It was jointly hosted by  The Urban Vision & Thomson Reuters Foundation. Below is the presentations.

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  • We are here to share our Junoon with you – thank you …We don’t know how our talk and the slides are going to match …But as people working in the arts, we do know that if we juxtapose some interesting things together, you, the audience is going to create your own wonderful story out of it ..So here goes, enjoy your story …
  • So what is our Junoon?Our Junoon is to share the wonderful richness and the powerful impact of the arts with more and more people across this countryOur challenge is to find sustainable ways to so that can be scaled across Mumbai and this country
  • As many of you may know, Sanjna and I used to work at PrithviWe spent wonderful years nurturing and challenging local theatre groups to develop their theatre practiceBringing theatre from other parts of the country and the world to Mumbai and challenging audiences to open their hearts and minds to different ideas, thoughts, expressions, formsOffering creative workshops that tap deep into children’s sense of play, experiment and possibility, and embed that feeling of rigour and freedom in themAnd nurturing a cultural hub that was energizing, welcoming and just a wonderful rejuvenating space for so many people
  • As we added depth and stimulation to the activities of Prithvi, we had more and more people coming up to us and saying, we come all the way from Thane, Ghatkopar, Vashi etc … why can’t you do something like this nearer to usThat repeated question made sense to us. We thought, that’s true, they should be able to access this experience easily, every day, close to where they liveThis perhaps was the seed of Junoon
  • But that could not be part of the organizational vision; as the Board preferred that we stay venue-focused only. There were also no other venues in Mumbai which had a clear creative and administrative vision that we could simply plug into, and take this dream forwardAnd so, to follow our Junoon, we set up Junoon
  • Our Junoon was to make the arts a regular part of people’s lives.The founding idea was Sanjna and mine. But the wonderful thing was all the people – like Swati – who it resonated with and who came on board even before we launched the organization. Together, we refined our vision and action plan for the first year.
  • We really wanted to make the arts a part of people’s daily lives – in ways that brought joy and imagination and playfulness to their human experiences. We wanted to make the live arts accessible, both in their formats but also where they were performed and presented. Our aim was to have a variety of audiences be able to partake of them, while still maintaining the spirit of excellence and wonder that the best performances embody.
  • We wanted to embed transformative arts experiences in people’s daily lives, like they are across the best cities in the world.Therefore, we wanted people to be able to access this experience at school, at work, in their neighbourhood …Young people were a very important constituency for us … we wanted them to grow up with the arts, knowing what a difference it makes to them
  • So currently, our current strategy is four pronged- Work closely with young people.- Work with corporates and their employees- Seed vibrant commons across this city – where the arts can then be presented and thus act as an anchor to bring the community together.- Capacity Build within the arts community – artists and venues etc - to work collectively towards this vision.
  • 50% of our work is with young people.They are a very important constituency to us, as we really want the next generation to know from experience the value and impact of the arts – this is currently not our reality. We reach out to young people throughA school membership programme, which gives students, teachers and parents an interaction with creative minds regularly – once a month - through performances, workshops and artist interactions.
  • Children whose schools are not members can also have access to the performing arts. We have a public programme of creative workshops across theatre, puppetry, writing, dance and more, that are open to children of all backgrounds. This programme actively encourages parents of more privileged children to support participation of children of other backgrounds.
  • Junoon’s corporate programme serves two purposes. Of course it is a revenue earner and makes friends for the arts with those who could be today’s patrons.We’ve taken the arts into workplaces – beyond mere employee engagements to really becoming learning modules for corporates.We’ve worked with a variety of companies across pharma, fin services and IT services and through experiential theatre processes, helped employees develop strong competencies across communication, team building, conflict management and building empathy
  • Vibrant arts hubs in the neighbourhood which are accessible to all, are wonderful ways to bring the local community together.In Jan, we launch Mumbai Local, partnering with 4 venues across this city. Every month, in each venue, an artist or scientist will share their work, passion, journey and stories with anyone who would like to listen.
  • Our dream is that one day every ward in this city, will have a hub with creative addas like this. That this will happen in public gardens across the city as well. And this will be free and welcoming to everyone – grandmother, student, chaiwallah, office worker, taxi driver … whoever you are.
  • We work with our wide network of artists across Mumbai and India to achieve all this.This is a network we’ve built over years, and includes amazingly creative minds and organisations from across the arts and sciences. We are clear that our work is not simply about building ‘products and programmes’. We have to continuously build capacity to be able to make all this happen. So we have peer sharing workshops, mentoring programmes, exchanges with educators, psychologists, etc to enhance our ability to give the arts to children or corporates, etc.
  • Junoon must become a model, it must spawn copy-catsWe are not interested in becoming a behemothWe are interested in creating models that other people with similar interests and dreams can adopt and adapt.
  • These are early steps – we are after all only 18 months old. But the long term aim is to showcase within 5 years that it is in fact viable to create such engagements and audiences for the arts – that we will have created demand and value for them by introducing all these new audiences to its magic.
  • Second, we will make Junoon self-sustainable. We want to prove that the arts and community can be a profession, we want more people to follow their Junoon for the arts. Our dream is that every city will have its own Junoon because we have proved that it is possible to create and sustain without depending entirely on philanthropic support.
  • This is an exciting time, as so many of us are thinking of how to make our cities into more liveable spaces.A lot of the conversations happen around physical infrastructure. Which we need.But simultaneously, we need to think of breathing life into spaces – this is the only way one can nurture the soul of a city and its people
  • Our Junoon draws on the power of the performing arts to do this. Thank you!
  • The Cultural / Civic Entrepreneurs Forum: Junoon

    1. 1. THANK YOU !