BENGALURU: On a weekday afternoon, we’re at the British Council – a landmark in Bengaluru right from the days it was on St Marks Road to its current location off Kasturba Road – which has recently undergone a make-over of sorts.
This, to appeal to a wider audience, including new-age readers and millennials. During our interaction, Janaka Pushpanathan, director South India, British Council, who takes us around the space – pointing to flexible furniture to include a range of events, recalls a line a professor had once told her: “Do you want to be a sage on the stage or a guide on the side?”
It’s the latter that Pushpanathan – whose tryst with the BC goes back to her college days when, as a library member, she spent most of her time poring over books – has been attempting in her tenure with the British Council. With a significant number of youngsters as their audience, Pushpanathan, says the change stemmed from them wanting a creative, fun and safe space.
“The library in Bengaluru has been revamped into a modern, more vibrant and welcoming space where like-minded people can come together to learn, explore and have thought-provoking discussions. The change was a response to the audience. The indirect feedback we received was the need for an open space. Which is why we’ve made it flexible...furniture can be moved around to suit the events taking place –book readings, theatre sessions or discussions. In addition to new books on a regular basis, there’s world literature that’s available to children as reading material,” said the IIM Bangalore alumnus on her recent visit to the city.
While the change has been done in Chennai and Hyderabad, over the weekend the Bengaluru library unveiled the premises with a fiesta for budding storytellers and theatre and film lovers. As part of the celebration, a host of workshops such as Chitrakatha – creating stories using pictures, a night of digital storytelling, a talk on Bird of Bengaluru, film screenings to celebrate independent cinema at Inde Night, which showcased BAFTA short 2019, were held.
The cultural arm of the UK government, which has been the go-to institution for Bengalureans wanting to speak immaculate English, and borrow the latest arrivals, has transformed into a cultural epicentre that caters to millennials.
The space is now hosting theatre workshops and workshops, literary events, panel discussions, exhibitions, and is a space for exchange of ideas and socialising for millennials. In addition, a digital library gives access to 10,000 books, DVDs, popular UK newspapers and magazines, providing digital access to 1,15,000 books and 14,000 journals covering a wide range of subjects.