Partners: Southasia Trust, Film Southasia, Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange
Southasia is characterised by tremendous socio-cultural diversity within countries and the region. Even so, people of the region share social, cultural, linguistic and religious practices that cut across national boundaries. The 21st century has seen a wave of democratisation, with the region emerging as a focal point for movements on gender and identity. Despite significant economic progress in a short period, the politics and cultural fabric of Southasia are intertwined with its colonial past and shaped by ideologies and conflict over territory. Rooted in structural inequities and intertwined with social and cultural norms, gender inequality, in its various shapes and forms, is also pervasive in most Southasian countries. Moreover, one-fifth of Southasia’s population is aged between 15 and 24 years old and adolescents need to be front and centre in this discourse. Technological advancements add another layer of complexity to the geopolitical and cultural landscape – despite rapid digital growth in the region, the gender gap in mobile internet use persists, with emerging concerns about building safer and more inclusive online communities, especially from marginalised segments.
Films and visual media are a connecting thread in understanding the everyday constructions of gender in Southasia and their continuities and discontinuities across regions. Against this backdrop, LEAD at Krea University in collaboration with Southasia Trust organised a three-day multimedia festival to encourage a discourse on gender, power, and identity in the Southasian context. Through the medium of documentary films, exhibitions and conversations with experts, the festival provided a space for critical thinking and ongoing debate around these issues and sought youth perspectives. The event also provided an opportunity to explore these dimensions through the lens of technology and how our evolving relationship with technology influences equity, inclusion and safety in an increasingly ‘phygital’ world.
Key takeaways and highlights from this immersive exploration of gender, identity and technology will be released soon.