BENGALURU: There are many ways to learn more about a city, one of the most effective being going through the written word produced on it. City Scripts 2020, organised by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), does just that in its fifth edition this year, which takes place from February 21 to 23. Unlike a literature festival, this event looks at urban writings instead, where the idea is to get the public to engage in meaningful conversations about the city, while also making the literature published on it accessible to them.
However, the festival will not focus on just paperbacks or hardbound books for this. “There’s a lot of creative non-ficiton as well,” says Rekha Raghunathan, lead, IIHS’s Word Lab and Library. So, expect masterclasses, sessions, informal conversations, informative sessions and more at the three-day festival. “For example, an informal ‘adda’ will have RJ Vasanthi Hariprakash holding a conversation on what belonging means in Bengaluru. Other activities will include a walk through various public libraries in the city, including State Central Library at Cubbon Park, the IIHS library and Mythic Society at Nrupathunga Road,” explains Raghunathan.
Other sessions include a masterclass by a German comic expert, Ralph Trommer, on the history of graphic novels; and a memory mapping project where participants will be divided into groups of 30 and taken around a neighbourhood. Upon their return, they will be asked to map the area through a particular lens, say like food, in order to complete the exercise. Also organised will be a non-verbal children’s play that will help them understand identity and privilege; an exhibition of Indian children’s books of 2019; a photo exhibition that looks at how single women live in the city and a map exhibition that will look at how Bengaluru has evolved over the years. Multilingualism will also play a role at the festival, says Raghunathan, adding, “The adda will have multiple languages, with a heavy focus on Kannada, whereas the public library walk will be in both English and Kannada.” Ending the event on a high will be a Yakshagana dance performance, which is entirely in Kannada.
“Work for the festival began mid-October last year,” she says, adding that like previous editions, this time too, it will bring together novelists, activists, artists and more such players. The festival will also be held in Chennai for the first time this year.