In the midst of the impact gentrification and displacement has on immigrant communities and communities of color in Jackson Heights, "My Home, Mi Casa, Mera Ghar, Amar Bari” was a bookmaking workshop which invited members of the Jackson Heights community to tell their stories. Led by artist Masoom Moitra during the 2018 Chatpati Mela hosted by Chhaya CDC, the workshop offered participating artists materials to tell three chapters about “home": where was home before, where is home now, and what will happen in the future?
Schools of Hope is a project that was founded by Masoom Moitra in 2015. Schools of Hope/ Escuelas de Esperanza/ Aasha ki Kaksha/ Aasha’er School are autonomous, mobile think tanks that are founded upon the rich and layered reproductive knowledge of caregivers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and community stewards. These “schools/ non-schools” propose a shift in perspective of what constitutes “expertise” and knowledge”. A process involving the creative and collective examination of questions around who gets to make decisions and propose solutions for the betterment of societies, economies and ecologies leads into a set of artistic and socially-engaged methods to critically examine the agenda of “experts” and flip the narrative that determines, funds and reinforces selective sources for the production of knowledge. #schoolsofhopenyc (You can follow us at instagram on @schoolsofhopenyc)
Lead Facilitator: Masoom Moitra is an urban planner-designer, educator, scholar-activist and artist from Mumbai, and based in New York. She teaches undergraduate and graduate studios at the Integrated Design(BFA) and Transdisciplinary Design(MFA) programs at Parsons, The New School, and serves as the Director of Community Design & Strategy at The New School Collaboratory – a university-based platform for civic engagement & knowledge co-production. As an independent community planning consultant, she is currently working with El-Puente (a 36-year old human rights, community education and social justice organization based in Brooklyn) on designing self-determination, equity and justice focussed plans and strategies in the rapidly gentrifying areas of South Williamsburg and Bushwick.
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Supporting Facilitator: Umesh Mangipudi. I am a multimedia and visual artist originally from India, currently based in Brooklyn. Through my practice, I explore creative ways of engagement with cities and ecologies, focusing on issues like identity, displacement and access to space. Inspired by nature and people, and leveraging the dialectics of planned vs unplanned, finished vs unfinished and thought vs action, I try to create an environment of "controlled spontaneity" to facilitate dialogue across layers of characters, colors or moods. I am a trained Indian classical musician and currently exploring and engaging with "forgotten" spaces for dissemination of this music form.
Supporting Facilitator: Saleem Gondal