Help needed to build historic record of major Indian cities

From l to r: Nicholas Lockwood, Prof Simon Maskell, Dr Alex Phillips and Andre Finn.

IndianCities-1wGovernment House under construction in Calcutta

Researchers at the University of Liverpool are investigating how Indian cities have acted as a cultural gateway to the rest of the world over the centuries.

The research team, in collaboration with Jadavpur University, are looking for people living in Goa, Kolkata, Pondicherry and Chandigarh to submit historic and modern photographs, paintings and maps to their online Flickr gallery, to help them build a record of the levels of cultural interaction these cities have had with the outside world since the 16th Century.

City history in India

The project, called Envisioning the Indian City (ETIC), is the first time that several disciplines have been brought together to study this aspect of city history in India.  The project team, supported by a UKIERI grant, includes architects, historians and geographers, working alongside art and literary experts.  Together they have already collected iconic images of Kolkata, including Government House and the Post Office.

They will also have access to historical archives and special collections in India and the UK, and will be carrying out extensive fieldwork to map changes over the centuries.

IndianCities-2bWCalcutta Post Office in 1944

At the end of the project the team will produce publications – based in part on the submissions by the public – showing how different cultures have interacted in the cities over time. As well as the publications, they will leave behind the online gallery which will be a unique record of life in historic and contemporary India.

Cleo Roberts is the University of Liverpool’s Project Officer working on ETIC. She said: “To create this unique record we really need the participation of as many people in these cities as possible.  You can submit photos you have taken yourself recently or scans of family photos and paintings from as far back as you like – as long as they show buildings in Goa, Kolkata, Pondicherry and Chandigarh.

Interaction between Indian and foreign cultures

“These cities are very special places as they are some of the main sites where Indian and foreign cultures have interacted.  We’re not only bringing new understanding to how this has happened, but also bringing the UK and India closer together by working as such a varied team of academics.”

The project announcement was followed by the launch the University’s Fellowship programme, which will allow early career researchers from India to work at the University of Liverpool for up to six months to pursue research areas that will strengthen Liverpool’s collaborations with Indian institutions.

To submit an image, either upload via Flickr or email, along with credits and captions.


Leave a comment