“As documentary filmmakers, teachers and academics, we have been shaped and enriched through our collaborations with each other and with our students, subjects and colleagues. Since 1985, we have jointly produced documentaries, researched, written, taught and learnt, brought up a daughter, done cooking, gardening, trekking and many other enjoyable activities. Our time spent in the field with our subjects as researchers and filmmakers has opened us up to the amazing ways in which local ways of seeing and being can offer us new insights into our being and our place (or lack of it) in the world. Our students constantly challenge us with their fresh approaches to practice and articulation. The warm zone of support and dialogue within the School of Media and Cultural Studies, TISS, created through our interactions with our colleagues gives us the space to question, critique, dream and hope.”
A Brief Bio
Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar are Professors at the School of Media and Cultural Studies (www. smcs.tiss.edu), Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Monteiro has a Masters degree in Economics and a Ph.D. in Sociology. Jayasankar has an M.A. in German Studies and a Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences.
Both of them are involved in media production, teaching and research. They have played a key role in setting up the School of Media and Cultural Studies, TISS and the MA programme in Media and Cultural Studies. They teach courses in documentary and video production as well as theoretical approaches to image making practices. They have done pioneering and innovative work in critical media education with various groups including government officials, activists, school and college students, parents and teachers.
Their documentary films, which have been screened across the world, have won 32 national and international awards. A presiding thematic of much of their work has been a problematising of notions of self and the other, of normality and deviance, of the local and the global, through the exploration of diverse narratives and rituals. These range from the stories and paintings of indigenous peoples to the poetry of prison inmates. Their most recent awards for films are the Best film award at the International Folk Film Festival, Kathmandu and the Basil Wright Prize for So Heddan So Hoddan (Like Here Like There) at the 13th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film 2013. Retrospectives include Vibgyor Film Festival, Kerala, 2006; Bangalore Film Society, 2010; Madurai International Film Festival, 2012 Parramasala Sydney, 2013, Chennai 2017, Trichur International Film Festival 2018 and India International Centre, New Delhi 2018. An adaptation of their film Saacha (The Loom) was a part of the art exhibition ‘Project Space: Word. Sound. Power.’ at the Tate Modern, London, in 2013; and at Khoj, New Delhi in 2014. Monteiro and Jayasankar are invited artists at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018, where Saacha (The Loom) is showcased as an installation, between Dec 12, 2018 and March 29, 2019. They have served as jury and as festival consultants and directors to several film festivals in India. They have mentored many student and fellowship documentary film projects as commissioning editors.
They write in the broad areas of censorship, documentary film and media and cultural studies and have contributed to scholarly journals and edited volumes. Their most recent publication is A Fly in the Curry — Independent Documentary Film in India, Sage, 2016, which has won a Special Mention for the best book on cinema in the National Film Awards, 2016. They have also supervised several MA, M.Phil. and Ph.D. dissertations.
Monteiro and Jayasankar are both recipients of the Howard Thomas Memorial Fellowship in Media Studies, and have been attached to Goldsmith’s College, London and the University of Western Sydney. Monteiro was a Fulbright visiting lecturer in 2006-07 at the University of California, Berkeley. They were both attached to the University of Lund, Sweden as Erasmus Mundus Scholars in 2013. In mid 2013, they were at the University of Technology, Sydney as visiting professor/fellow, for a semester. They have also been visiting faculty at several leading media and design institutions and lectured at universities in the USA, Australia, Europe, and in Asian countries.
They are both actively involved in movements against censorship including Vikalp, which is collective of documentary filmmakers campaigning for freedom of expression and are also associated with various media and voluntary organisations.