Posted January 26th 2014 at 3:43 pm by
in Tracing Public Space

Tracing Public Space: Mulund, Mumbai

Mulund, Mumbai (India) July, 2013

Partner: The Ball Project, Prajakt Patil

Participants: Rakesh, Kirti, Renu, Remy, Sheetal and Vika

For this workshop, we worked with Prajakt Patil, an architect and photographer working in Mumbai who leads a small organization (the Ball Project) with his friends Rupali and Rohit dedicated to teaching life skills through sports by visiting a community of garbage pickers in Mulund, one of Mumbai’s largest garbage dumping grounds, every Sunday afternoon.


In this community, children are taught to classify waste early in life and end up choosing work over school, despite being given free uniforms and school utensils. Considering our safety issues and the fact that children have little free time here, we organized a one afternoon session of Tracing Public Space. We took eight cardboard cameras, eight digital cameras, chalk, and one printer. We explained how to use the cameras and take pictures that showed the spaces and things they liked in their community. For about an hour, they went around and took pictures. We asked them to limit their photos to five pictures only, forcing them to think and choose their shots carefully. Afterwards, we printed a selection of the best pictures and shared them with the rest of the community.

One of the most interesting pictures shows a house made with cheap materials that had a porch despite its poor condition, reminding us on the fact that some elements of a house which are often considered unnecessary or a luxury are actually quite fundamental. Perhaps the most interesting lesson from working in this site was that there are still plenty of important elements of the area that contribute to the image of the community’s common or public space despite the smell and the overwhelming amount of garbage.

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Post by Ana Vargas

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