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Gyaan Adab Centre – Where Literature And The Arts Make A Difference – Aryaa Naik
Nestled in a quiet bylane of Kalyani Nagar, Pune, Gyaan Adab Centre is a place where Tom Alter, Mir, Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan and Uday Chandra, Randhir Khare share a stage, where Rabindranath Tagore’s music comes alive under a starlit canopy of trees, where Mahesh Dattani and George Bernard Shaw are neighbors on a shelf, where new literary and artistic talent finds a voice and discussions are encouraged.
Gyaan Adab is a cultural Centre that believes in the power of literature and the creative experience to entertain, educate, sensitize, inspire and transform. Through book readings, discussions, talks, theatre, music and dance performances and a host of cross-genre events the aim is to promote new and emerging talent as well as established and respected voices, in the process exploring a wide range of themes. The medium is English, Urdu, Hindi and Marathi as well as other Indian languages, should an opportunity arise. A well-stocked library and comfortable reading room express the same intention. Art too has its place in this creative space – featuring gifted artists and making an effort to promote their work through sensitive presentations. These efforts are bolstered by workshops and courses, designed for different age groups and needs.
And it all doesn’t end there. There’s a well-stocked library too, offering a warm and conducive reading space with a wide choice of books by established and contemporary writers in four languages.
On an average four programmes are showcased every month, with an effort to blend cultures, languages and genres and in six months has attracted a wide range of people of all ages. Book readings, talks and expositions are presented in a stimulating manner with the aim to engage the audience in an interactive milieu, encouraging participants to explore diverse themes and ideas that emerge from the programme. Core themes form the creature Centre of these programmes, encouraging audiences to become part of a creative process.
Film viewing and appreciation is made more meaningful by encouraging film makers to present their own work. This provides viewers with the opportunity to enter the world of a film maker and discover the creative process and subliminal themes and ideas that are embedded in the work. This is perhaps why Gyaan Adab is very selective when hosting a film viewing and appreciation events.
Going beyond performance and display, the Centre hosts creative and recreational workshops. These are open to children, young people and adults. For children, there are unusual creative workshops that are aimed at enhancing self -expression, inventiveness, skills, the enjoyment of the literary experience through art, dance, music, theatre and numerous unconventional forms, emphasizing the process rather than the end product, thus giving children the opportunity to discover their own specialness. Ingrained in the activities are elements that assist in encouraging the values of tolerance, inclusiveness, appreciation of diverse cultures and ways of ‘doing’ and the empowering force of literature.
For adults, there are recreational, creative and professional workshops and courses that are stimulating and self-enhancing. These include story-telling, creative writing, content writing, play writing, screen writing, journal writing, writing for the media and traditional forms of visual and written narratives.
The art shows aim at fostering new creative work while showcasing the old and established artistic traditions. An effort is made to provide a space where emerging artists can be assured a forum for their work, thus giving a platform to creative expression with an emphasis on powerful and innovative work.
Because of its openness to the old and the new and the spirit of inventiveness that the Centre supports, Gyaan Adab has emerged as a dynamic new cultural presence.
So – why Gyaan Adab? What did the founders and trustees Farook Merchant and Nasima Merchant have in mind and why?
Simply put – they wanted to create a space where literature and the arts could fulfill their role as recreational and socially impactful mediums.
But it all doesn’t end there. There’s more to the story. Beyond the immediate agenda and the boundaries of the Centre, Gyaan Adab’s ultimate goal is to promote Gyaan Ruchi, the initiative to reach out to women from economically weaker sections of society, on the periphery of educational opportunities, and help them to transform their lives through literature and the arts. There is a strong belief that the creative process will enable them to become more aware of their own potential as well as about the world of opportunities around them. Literature and the arts are dynamic tools that can help women to improve their social participation, and believe in their own capabilities.
A well-planned comprehensive programme is already underway which will help women to evolve an interest in reading and writing and engage in dialogue, thus building their confidence through self-expression and interaction. Activities such as book reading and discussion, interactive sessions and self-expression through writing and forms of art are already touching the lives of women in three library centres in the city.
In addition, GyaanRuchi’s resource initiative at GyaanAdab Centre is collecting, documenting and cataloging valuable resource materials available and being developed as well as conducting training and orientation programmes led by experienced professionals.
To time to dream is over as literature and the arts mutate into power forces of change and Gyaan Adab leads the way.
Aryaa Naik – Art and literature, music and poetry, cinema and theatre and all things in between – these are a few of her favourite things. With a media and film background, a rich lineage of literature and art, degrees in philosophy and gender studies; at Gyaan Adab Centre which encourages and fosters creative freedom and works towards empowering women through literature, Aryaa’s contribution as Head, Creatives is multi-faceted and befitting the role.
Her educational qualifications include Bachelors in Philosophy from Ferguson College, Pune, Post Graduate Diploma in Social Communications Media from Sophia College, Mumbai and Masters in Gender, Culture and Development Studies from the University of Pune. She has worked with Publications like Times of India, Femina and Maharashtra Herald as a features writer where she covered literature, theatre, music, art, films and fashion. She worked as a sub-editor and feature writer for the Pune based daily Life 365 where she spearheaded the women’s page. She combined her love for films and writing to work with a script writing firm based in Pune to develop scripts for Bollywood and Hollywood markets and formulated screenplay writing tools and techniques. She has written various articles for children for the children’s website Mocomi. She has worked as a research assistant and lecturer with the Women’s Studies Centre at the University of Pune and has delivered lectures at Fergusson College on ‘Women, Work and Economy’.
She is currently working on a screenplay and a collection of short stories.
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