Workshop: Compound 13 Lab, Dharavi, Mumbai: waste, work and survival in a global South megacity

International Summer School logo, 21st - 25th June 2021

Friday 25th of June

Half-day: 10am - 1pm

Professor Graham Jeffery, University of the West of Scotland; Dr Ben Parry, Bath Spa University; Assoc. Prof. Sharmila Samant, Shiv Nadar University; Dr Gideon Kossoff, Carnegie Mellon University

About the Presenters

Graham Jeffery is Professor in Arts and Media Practice and Director of the Protracted Crisis Research Centre at UWS. His work spans participatory and community arts practices, creative pedagogies, cultural policy and urban and community development. Dr Ben Parry leads the MA in Curatorial Practice at Bath Spa University and co-leads the Compound 13 Lab project. Assoc. Prof Sharmila Samant co-leads the MFA in Art and Design at Shiv Nadar University and works internationally in socially engaged mixed media practice. Dr Gideon Kossoff co-leads the Transition Design Institute and supervises practice-based PhDs in Transition Design at Carnegie Mellon University.  

About the Session

This workshop introduces a GCRF/British Academy/AHRC funded long term research project, Compound 13 Lab in Dharavi, Mumbai. C13 Lab, which works with residents and businesses in Dharavi to explore the politics of waste, work and survival in the informal city had its origins in a PhD project undertaken by Dr Ben Parry at UWS between 2011 and 2015. In the session we will link live to our lab space in Dharavi to hear directly about the work there which uses art and design based methods built into a programe of residences to explore questions of livelihood, survival, informal economy, citizenship and knowledge politics in the informal city. The Lab makes use of digital tools, 3D printing and a variety of other technologies to work with residents to explore issues of waste, re-design, re-making and reclamation. We will hear from participants, spend some time in a 'virtual walk' around the neighbourhood, and then break into groups to discuss three related sets of issues:

  • participatory methods and knowledge politics in informal urban settings
  • the challenges of 'fieldwork' under pandemic conditions
  • community-based research processes that use art and design based methods as part of pratice-based research strategies. 

Learning Outcomes 

By the end of this session, participants will 

  • consider the strategies, methods and ethics involved in building long term engagement through participatory approaches to research between the global North and South
  • increase their understanding of participatory methods in an intercultural, interdisciplinary context
  • share approaches to community -based practice as part of a cross-cultural interdisciplinary conversation
  • have an increased understanding of formal-informal urban relationships and the significance of subaltern voices in the knowledge politics of urban research.

Who might be interested?

Postgraduate students and academic colleagues engaged with issues of postcoloniality, decolonizing knowledge, rethinking participatory and community based arts practices, international development, social justice and social inclusion, urban studies and waste/recycling/sustainability/climate change issues. 

Further details about the work of the Lab can be found at We'll also be able to provide some readings etc. from our forthcoming book, details of which can be found at:

Click Here to Register

First published: 20 May 2021