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Critical Media Pedagogies through Web Archives


Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India



K P Jayasankar, Anjali Monteiro





Media and Cultural Studies


2012 - now


#media education #documentary #participatory approach #urban studies #historical memories #digital humanities #oral history



The project, entitled the DiverCity Web Archive, housed at the School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, focuses on addressing the erasures of communities, spaces, events and phenomena that underpin the prevalent notion of Mumbai as a world-class city through documentary films and multi-media web archives.



In the process of urban development in Mumbai, there is politics of forgetting: from the rewriting of events like the 1992 violence to the reconfiguring of spaces such as the mill areas of Girangaon. This involves the deployment of history and geography in the service of a homogenised, sanitised imagination of the city.


Using media to generate alternative city narratives

The DiverCity Web Archive attempts to counter this forgetting. It seeks to generate and draw on a range of resources to remember, explore, and evoke alternative experiences and narratives of the city. The process of reconstructing this erased recent past through the documentary also offers possibilities for interrogating the act of representation and the partial nature of truths, affirming the understanding that “looking‟ is a “historical act”.


This pedagogical initiative seeks to provide opportunities for students to use the documentary form to explore the city, located within the context of on-ground struggles for social justice. It also employs the potential of the Internet by placing documentary film within an inter-textual frame, in conversation with text, news, music, interviews, and photographs.


The archive presently has six sub-archives:


● Remembering 1992 (

● Mill Mumbai (

● Castemopolitan Mumbai (

● WasteLines (

● Street Mumbai (

● Migrant Mumbai (


The first archive created, the 1992 Memory sub-archive wasmade in collaboration with young citizen students, attempting to explore the political significance of such documentary initiatives, in a context where forgetting has meant the denial of justice to the victims and survivors of the violence of 1992. Such documentary-based web archives on sensitive issues provide space for resisting regimes of censorship and control in the digital age.





  • Video interview: Dialogue with Filmmakers | Anjali Monteiro and KP Jayasankar

  • Rabinowitz, Paula. (1993) Wreckage upon Wreckage: History, Documentary and the Ruins of Memory, in History and Theory, Vol. 32, No. 2. (May, 1993), pp. 119-137. Print.

  • Jenkins, Henry et al. 2009. Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

  • Faiz Ullah and K.P. Jayasankar, DiverCity- Independent Documentary as an Alternate Narrative of the City, in Devasundaram, A.E. (ed) Indian Cinema Beyond Bollywood: The New Independent Cinema Revolution, Routledge, 2018.

  • Monteiro, Anjali and KP Jayasankar. (2020) DiverCity: Resisting the Politics of Exclusion and Erasure.


Cover photograph from: Migrant Mumbai.

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