“Cities are not merely bricks and mortar, but repositories of inspiration, stories and unforgettable experiences,” says Sofia Juliet, part of the team behind City Scripts, the annual urban writings festival organised by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS), Sadashivanagar.
The festival, which will be held in Bengaluru at the IIHS campus between May 26 and 28, intends to capture the narratives and imaginations that shape our cities by engaging with urban writings and storytelling, she adds.
This is the 8th edition of the festival, which was started in Bengaluru and also had editions in Chennai and Delhi, before the pandemic. “The festival has been a platform to uncover and highlight the hidden stories and experiences that lie within each city,” says Juliet, adding that it brings together writers, artists, scholars, and the community, fostering meaningful conversations through readings, discussions, masterclasses and workshops, exhibitions and performances.
“From diving deep into the rich tapestry of city histories to igniting conversations on caste, activism, food, journalism, music, art and culture, City Scripts leaves no topic untouched,” she says. “It is a one-of-a-kind festival that transcends boundaries to explore a myriad of themes that define urban life.”
According to the festival’s website, this edition will kick off at 5 pm on May 26 with an online conversation between writers Annie Zaidi and Indira Chandrasekhar. This will be followed by a panel discussion on public parks, which will go on until 7.30 pm.
Some of the other highlights of the festival include a conversation between debut novelist Aravind Jayan and writer Nisha Susan, a panel discussion on food writing and memories, another on writing cities in a feminist way and a conversation between Sundar Sarukkai and Urvashi Butalia.
The festival will also offer a series of workshops, interesting games, book pop-ups and exhibitions. “We strive to bring diversity in our curation every year,” says Juliet, elaborating on some of these offerings.
For starters, writer Samhita Arni will lead a creative writing workshop, perfect for those fascinated by genres including utopia, dystopia or science fiction, while Atelier Prati will offer a monotype printing workshop for art enthusiasts. There will be also two exhibitions on display for all three days, one by Everyday City Lab and the second by artist Indu Antony. While the former focuses on the ancient and unique practice of worshipping peepul trees in Bengaluru, Indu Antony attempts to archive the scents of the city.
“It would be a transformative experience that will forever alter our perception of the city, leaving an indelible scent in our memories,” says Juliet, adding that the festival will end with a quiz by Berty Ashley. “Through such immersive sessions, we hope to inspire people to critically engage with their city’s history, culture and social dynamics fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the urban tapestry we call home.”
City Scripts will be held at Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Sadashivanagar between May 26 and 28. To know more, log into https://cityscripts.iihs.co.in/.