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MMF-PARI Fellowships -
Announcing the 2022 - 23 Fellows

Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation (MMF) and People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) are delighted to announce that four fellows will receive the MMF-PARI Fellowships for the year 2022-2023.

The fellows for this year are -

  • Faisal Ahmed, Udupi

  • Prakash Bhuyan, Guwahati

  • Sangeeth Sankar A., Mumbai

  • Shruti Sharma, Kolkata


The MMF-PARI Fellowships are an annual program supporting practitioners who are researching, documenting, writing and telling stories about art and craft from rural India.

This is the first year of this fellowship program and it received an overwhelming 268 applications from across India. From these, 12 were shortlisted for final review and interviews. The jury, consisting of MMF and PARI team members, were impressed by the quality of proposals submitted, both in the range of research topics and the depth of enquiry.  The selection of the final fellows was made keeping in mind the feasibility of their proposed project, the ability for their research to create enough stories for the PARI website, the art/craft forms that were chosen for research, and their methodology.


The fellowships will begin from 1st September, 2022, and run for a year, during which period each of the fellows will research, develop and publish 8-10 multimedia stories on the Pari website -  The fellows will be guided by the Pari editorial team at every step of the way so as to develop the stories in accordance with the PARI Guidelines.


The Fellows –

Faisal Ahmed is currently the Production Coordinator at Centre for Intercultural Studies and Dialogue, Manipal Academy of Higher Education. He has a BA in Media and Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication, Karnataka, and has previously worked as a reporter/sub-editor, screenwriter, and photographer at various newspapers. Ahmed is familiar with six Indian languages other than English.

Ahmed will be exploring the diverse cultures of ‘Tulunadu’, which comprises of two districts of Coastal Karnataka (Udupi and Dakshina Kannada) and Kasargod of Kerala, to develop stories that capture the syncretism that is innate here in the cultural practices. Through his stories he will engage with the emotional and spiritual connection of the people when it comes to their arts, faith-based practices, and community/agnostic traditions.


Prakash Bhuyan is a poet and photographer from Assam. He completed his Bachelors in Engineering from GIMT, Guwahati, and was part of the International Photography Program, Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Dhaka. He has participated in Ankor Photo Workshop, Cambodia in 2018, exhibited his work as part of Egaro Photo Festival, Tripura in 2020, and Kamala, slideshow at Chennai Photo Biennale, 2019. His photos have also been published on Al Jazeera.

Bhuyan will be looking at the living art and craft traditions and practices in Majuli, the world’s largest inhabited river island, in Assam. While studying the traditional language, methods and practices of the art and craft here, he will also address the problem of erosion and loss of land which are looming threats to the continuity of arts in this region. By documenting the festivals, rituals and ceremonies here he will explore the complex socio-cultural contexts in which these artisans produce work.

Sangeeth Sankar A. is a researcher and filmmaker, who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay. He has completed his M.Tech. from Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas, IIT Bombay. He is the co-founder of that provides identity solutions and visual storytelling for various social and environmental welfare groups. Previously, he has coordinated the Nila International Folklore Festival in 2021, and curated IPPO Art Exhibition in 2018.  


Sankar’s proposed work will closely examine and document Kerala’s shadow puppetry or Tholpavakoothu. Using an ethnographic approach, he seeks to explore why the community abandoned an astonishing art form on the festival grounds. What happens if one puppeteer’s community pushes the art form off its metaphorical high horse and puts it outside the ritualistic context to perform secular subjects on contemporary and digital platforms?


Shruti Sharma is pursuing her Ph.D. at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Jadavpur University, after completing her M.Phil. from the same institution. She has a background in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. She is an avid cricketer, having been part of the Rajasthan under-19 Girls Cricket team as well as the Rajasthan Women’s State Cricket team.

Sharma will document the quotidian of the artisan makers of sport equipment for play by following the processes of collection of raw materials and production. Through this research she will offer an alternative perspective about sport from the spaces, sites and hands that are invisible to public, document the centrality of raw materials to the lives and livelihoods of artisan communities, investigate how the artisans adapt to economic, social and legal restrictions, and observe how the social manifests in production processes.

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