Kawalek Group

Surajit Sarkar

  • Centre for Community Knowledge
    Ambedkar University Delhi

Surajit Sarkar is an Associate Professor at the Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK) at Ambedkar University Delhi where he conceptualizes the Centre’s projects and creates processes for implementing research, documentation and dissemination. As a filmmaker working in Delhi, India, since 1991, his television shows, documentary and educational films have been recognized, screened and received awards, nationally and internationally. Suro has been a video artist for multimedia stage and off-stage performances with performance artists like Maya K Rao, Anamika Haksar, Aditi Mangaldas, Ella Fiskum and  groups like Jan Natya Manch (People’s Theatre Forum) and performed at various fora including the National Drama Festival, Delhi; House of World Cultures, Berlin; the Prithvi Festival, Mumbai, and the Other Festival, Chennai.

In 2004, Suro co-founded the travelling video+arts initiative, Catapult Arts Caravan, – a socio-political performance group of artists and community workers to catalyze public participation in civic debate in rural areas and small towns in Central and Northeast India. Partnering with community organizations and local artist networks, the Caravan performances use digital media to introduce participants to a new kind of storytelling. Public discussion is designed to be part of the performance and exhibition, which combines digital audio-video technologies with local arts like storytelling, song, music, theatre, pottery and painting. By integrating these, the Caravan "re-presents" the local in the networked age by "re-assembling" elements of arts practice with widespread socio-cultural and technological change. Suro also co-founded the ‘Museum of Memory' project – working with a network of individuals and organizations in Central India to record personal histories and individual understandings in communities in danger of losing their spoken language and associated knowledge and cultures.

Suro has participated in electronic arts residencies in Canada (Montreal) and India, and worked as a visiting professor of video in India and the USA. In 2010, he served as an Institute of Advanced Study Fellow at Trevelyan College, Durham University in the United Kingdom. He has been on a Communications Advisory Panel for Civil Society, on the Public Advisory Board of Cultural Anthropology, and Consultant for an Oral Knowledge Archive (NASSCOM Digital India).

In a previous incarnation, Suro was a photocopier salesman, bank officer, primary school teacher, wrote a set of mathematics teaching textbooks for the Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. His other writings include short stories, writings on education, technology and culture for a number of magazines and journals.

The River Project