Call for Applications: 'Maps for Making Change' - Using Geographical Mapping Techniques to Support Struggles for Social Justice in India
Most of us think of maps as representations of territory. But have you ever wondered why bastis, slums, unauthorised colonies and monuments of minorities and poor people rarely are given prominence on maps – or at times are even absent altogether? All too often only seats of power, such as big hospitals, the colonies of the rich and diplomatic missions, receive detailed mention. This is because maps simultaneously also function as representations of relations of power and control: which places, communities, historical monuments, townships, colonies and roads are highlighted on a map reflects the power and control that various communities and classes possess or lack. In modern times, this is particularly obvious in planning processes, which incorporate maps as crucial tools in villages and cities alike. To challenge the practice of privileging the powerful on maps, and to create maps from the margins and of margins, therefore has emerged as an important aspect as well as a tool of our fights against injustice in society.
Maps for Making Change
Today, with the emergence of new technologies such as GPS and the Internet, mapping techniques have advanced beyond the confines of professional cartographers and can be mobilised and used to fight for social justice by anyone with an interest in maps. Are you someone concerned with the state of social justice in the country today? Are you working closely, as an activist or a supporter, with a campaign or social movement? Are you interested in exploring how digital geographical mapping techniques might help facilitate or support your advocacy and awareness raising campaigns and understanding of the power relations in society? Perhaps you already have some ideas on how maps can fit into your work, but you require technical support to put these into practice? Then this is for you.
Maps for Making Change is a two-month project that will provide you with the opportunity to explore how mapping can be used to support your campaigns, struggles and movements to fight against injustice. It is jointly organised by the Centre for Internet and Society (Bangalore) and the Tactical Technology Collective (Bangalore and London), and brings together activists and technologists. Over the course of the project, participants will:
explore and share ideas about the possible uses of geographical maps within the context of campaigns and movements in India;
try out a range of mapping tools and get training and support in the creation and use of maps;
develop and implement your own mapping project, involving the creation and use as well as dissemination of maps, relevant to your campaign's or movement's advocacy and goals.
Maps for Making Change will take the form of three workshops, with time in between each for participants to work on a mapping project of their choice. The first workshop will take place in Delhi on 3 December, and will be an introductory event, where tools and tactics will be explored and discussed and participants can determine the nature of the information they need to collect to implement their own mapping project. The second workshop will take place over 3 days during the first week of January (exact dates and location to be decided), and will involve actual work on mapping projects, using data and other resources collected by participants in the intervening time. The third workshop will be a two-day event during the first week of February (exact dates and location to be decided), and will be the time for participants to provide overall feedback, as well as to do the final touches on the projects and launch them. Not only during the workshops, but throughout the two-month project period, and at every stage of the development of your project plan, technical support will be available to help participants make your ideas a reality.
The organisers will cover travel and accommodation expenses of those who are selected to participate in the project. There is no participation fee. By applying, applicants commit themselves, however, to devoting the necessary time to this project. Where relevant, an organisational commitment to allow you to do this would also be required.
Who should apply?
This is an event for activists and supporters of movements and campaigns based in India. Preference will be given to applicants that intend to use the project directly for their work within a campaign or movement. Applications are welcomed from individuals, but also from groups of people who are working within the same campaign or movement and who would like to develop and implement a mapping project together. Those who have been centrally involved in designing and implementing communication strategies of campaigns and movements are particularly encouraged to apply, but such a role is not at all a prerequisite to be part of Maps for Making Change. Participants from appropriate backgrounds who simply want to explore the technology and its uses without immediately implementing it will be welcome in so far as space allows.
We would like to also encourage applications from students who are involved with campaigns or movements and who would like to learn these skills so as to use them in their advocacy efforts. Students will be provided with special assistance during the programme.
All participants should have some familiarity with computer use. While more advanced technology skills are useful, they are not essential: technology support will be provided as required for all participants to ensure that everyone completes their own mapping project.
Regretfully, we will be able to accommodate translation only from Hindi to English and vice versa, so applicants will need to be comfortable with either of these languages.
How to apply
Please answer the questions below in Hindi or in English. You do not need to write long responses (up to 300 words max), but please provide us with enough information to understand your involvement in and commitment to campaigns or movements for social justice, as well as your skills and interest. We also would like to know why you want to be part of the Maps for Making Change project and what are some of the contributions (of whatever kind) you could make to it.
You can send your answers by email to email@example.com, or by post to:
Please provide answers to all the following questions.
1) Basic personal information:
Date of birth:
E-mail address (if available):
Telephone and emergency contact number(s):
Preferred language of communication:
Anything else we should know about you (allergies, medical condition, special needs):
Are you applying individually or as part of a team? If as part of a team, please provide the names of the other team members here;
2) Where are you from, where do you live now, and what is your current movement/organisational affiliation (movement/organisation you work with, its mission, position you have within it, is your organisation a non-profit, etc.)?
3) What is your wider experience of working with campaigns or movements for social justice? What kinds of initiatives have you been involved in? What kind of responsibilities have you taken up within these?
4) Have you been involved with any technology projects for non-profit organisations or campaigns or movements for social change? If so please briefly explain your experience (what worked, what didn't, what did you like, what not, etc?) and your role within the project. If you haven't been involved with such a project, please explain why you are interested in exploring the use of technology for social change.
5) Why are you interested in joining Maps for Making Change in particular? How can you and your movement/organisation benefit from your participation?
6) Do you already have an idea in mind that involves using maps for social change and that you would like to develop into a project that can support the work of the campaign or movement that you are involved with? If so, please explain.
7) To help us better understand the kind of technical support we will need to provide during Maps for Making Change, please describe your current technical expertise and ability.
8) All participants are encouraged to teach as well as to learn. What kind of contribution to the group's learning do you think you could make?
If you require more information about the project or about the application process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at 080 4092 6283.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
The Maps for Making Change Team