Category Archives: RLC Mumbai

2nd India-Sweden exchange seminar took place in Lund, Sweden

A report on the PhD course “Critical Urban Theory in Practice”  Module II, Sweden Lund 4-8 April 2016
by Dr. Maryam Nastar: Course Organizer, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies

The second module of the PhD course, Critical Urban Theory in Practice started off on 4 April 2016 with 8 students from India, UK and Sweden. This module was organized and funded by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), one of the Right Livelihood College (RLC) campuses. The initiative was also co-funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation through the Global Secretariat of RLC in Bonn, Germany. Further information on the first module can be found in the section Campus-News of RLC Mumbai.

After an introduction to the course by Dr. Maryam Nastar, Dr. Turaj Faran presented elements of social movements and contributing factors to their success and failure. This was followed by Prof. Eric Clark’s lecture on political, historical and economic forces that social movements are up against, within the urban context. On the second day of the course, Dr. Anders Lund Hansen and Emmerik Warburg, from Christiania Researchers In Residence (CRIR.net), led a fieldtrip to Freetown Christiania, in Copenhagen, Denmark. During the excursion, students got to know about the history of the community struggles and the challenges that community activists have faced over the last decades in relation to public spaces and property in Christiania.

Students during the fieldtrip to Freetown Christiania. Photo by
Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.

The fieldtrip and earlier literature reviews formed the basis for seminar discussion on the day after. This was followed by Dr. Maja Essebo’s lecture on instances of struggles for urban spaces in the global North and the notion of the right to the city in practice. By taking off from the field observations and going back to critical urban theory, Dr. Andy Merrifield, the course guest lecturer, expanded on Lefebvre’s notion of the right to the city through an excellent lecture on the origin of the concept and how it is co-opted by different organizations in contemporary urban studies and research.


The public lecture by Dr. Andy Merrifield. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.
On the last day of the course, Dr. Merrifield gave an open lecture about Professional and Amateur Urbanism in our Urban Age, wherein he discussed the dominant camps of urban studies and how critical urban thinkers can contribute to challenging these perspectives. For more info about this public lecture, can be found here.
Finally, Dr. Mine Islar presented a lecture on new vocabulary of citizenship and the figure of activist citizen and the course was ended by the students’ presentations over two main themes:        1.The impact of the transformation of urban spaces on urban struggles and 2. Social movements and citizenship practices that can potentially address the urban issues. Students impressively used the course materials and concepts to apply these themes to the case study of Christiania and they well demonstrated how critical urban theory can be used in analyzing urban challenges and opportunities.
The course organizer would like to thank all the lecturers and students for their contributions to and participation in the course. Particularly, many thanks to Dr. Turaj Faran for his time and support in the planning phase and in participating the course activities which lifted up the level of teaching and learning to the fullest.

A collective picture of the course participants in Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.

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1st seminar on ‘Critical Urban Theory in Practice’ took place in Mumbai

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The first module of the PhD course, “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” took place in Mumbai, India from 4 to 8 of January.
Report by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS

The joint Phd Course is organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI).

During the first module of the course, TISS (CLSI) hosted around 15 students from India and Sweden together with LUCSUS faculty. Over a week of lectures and heated seminar discussions, students discussed how critical urban theory on issues surrounding redevelopment of slums can potentially contribute to bringing housing and other urban spaces under democratic control.

The public lecture by Medha Patkar, the Right Livelihood Laurate. Photo by Prof. Eric Clark, LUCSUS
The public lecture by Medha Patkar, the Right Livelihood Laurate. Photo by Prof. Eric Clark,  LUCSUS

As a part of the course, the Right Livelihood Laureate, Medha Patkar held a public lecture in TISS. Participants listened to her inspiring and powerful voice and her extensive experience of mobilizing community and slum dwellers to access to shelter and basic services. Known as an influential icon for the struggles in India and beyond, Medha Patkar talked about various social and political actions led by her to oppose to slum rehabilitation projects that are poorly communicated to the residents of affected areas, and thus, have been instruments for evicting people with no alternative houses or right to land.

Organized by TISS modular course students and faculty and inspired by Medha Patkar’s public lecture, the participants visited her grass-roots initiatives and slum improvement projects in Mumbai, over a day of fieldtrip to East Vikhroli.

Informed by the course materials and insights gained from the field visit, the participants explored and discussed driving forces behind displacement as well as activities that can support the community struggle against constant fear of eviction and homelessness. This was performed during last day of the course and in the format of student group presentations.
The course was rounded off with the LUCSUS faculty’s panel discussion wherein teachers presented some of their ongoing research, and together with PhD and Master’s students, they discussed objectives and rationale of grass-root initiatives and social movements.

Collective photo on last day of the course. LUCSUS and TISS faculty together with some of students. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS
Collective photo on last day of the course. LUCSUS and TISS faculty together with some of students. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS

The second module of the course will be held in Lund, Sweden from 4 to 8 of April, 2016.

LUCUS invites all the eligible PhD candidates to register for the second module by 15 February. More information about the course content can be found here:

http://lucid.lu.se.webbhotell.ldc.lu.se/index.php/invitationtothephdcoursecriticalurbantheoryinpractice/

List of organizers and teachers:

Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS, Course coordinator/Lecturer

Dr. Banerjee Swati, TISS, Co-organizer/Lecturer

Dr. Santha Sunil, TISS, Co-organizer/Lecturer

Prof. Eric Clark, LUCSUS/Human Geography, Lecturer

Dr. Mine Islar, LUCSUS, Lecturer

Dr. Turaj Faran, LUCSUS, Lecturer

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RLC Global Network: Kick-off meeting in Mumbai brought together all campus coordinators

On March 7th and 8th, the coordinators of all Right Livelihood Colleges worldwide met with the members of the Right Livelihood College Steering Council in Mumbai, India. At this meeting, the new project “Global RLC Network” was commenced. The seven RLC campuses will cooperate on a broad range of matters in the future. These will include education and capacity-building projects, as well as publications and other ways to share the work of the seven campuses. The “Global RLC Network” is funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation.

Prior to this event, the coordinators met with Right Livelihood Laureates at the Regional Conference of the RLA to build up new relationships between Campuses and Laureates.

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7th RLC Campus Launched

indiaOn May 20th, 2014, a new RLC Campus was launched at the Tata Institute for Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai. This Campus is the seventh worldwide and the first in South Asia. To create synergies between TISS’ research, teaching and policy engagement and the work of the RLC, the new campus will cooperate closely with the students of the MA programme in Social Work in Livelihoods and Social Entrepreneurship. The Campus envisages to involve graduate Continue reading