Chitpur Local Pop-up Museum
Format Neighbourhood Platform
City Chitpur, India
The district of Chitpur is rich in culture, art and heritage. The locals are not only aware but also extremely proud of their neighbourhood. However, there is a lack of communication amongst citizens, and there is no initiative from their side to activate public space or display their pride in any way. This project started off as an enquiry into the opinions of locals on their neighbourhood. To what extent is the district’s identity shaped by the people that inhabit it? How can that be displayed in a way that sparks conversation amongst citizens? How can that be translated into a reactivation of public space in the neighbourhood? Objects offer a powerful medium to share stories. It turned out to be easy to start conversations around an object and the personal stories it carries. This is where the idea of a local pop-up museum originated.
Location Identify the space
Mapping is a powerful tool to identify the space that you are working in. Start by mapping out the context, communities and spaces of a particular neighbourhood.
Communication Locate Community Collaborators
It is essential to identify people in the community whom you will be working closely together with. As stakeholders and active collaborators, they function as project leaders in the community and help reach out and build a network. Get on the same page with them by organizing workshops in the very beginning.
Mobilization Interviews and Workshops
Along with the community collaborators, interview people whose stories you would like to include. Collect objects and invite the neighbours to participate in a discussion with other members of the community who are donating an object, creating an opportunity for them to exchange their stories with each other.
Mobilization Test Event
Test out the tool on a smaller scale with a limited number of people. This not only helps to recognize gaps but also communicates the idea of the pop-up museum well to the participants. Some of them are clueless even after donating, and some refrain from donating because they don't see value in objects they posses or don't understand the idea.
Funding Be creative with limited resources
If the project is not supported by a grant, agency or department, it is crucial to keep the expenses at a minimum. Try and collaborate with companies interested in donating or lending material and services to these kinds of projects, or collaborate with local craftsmen for production.
Production Structure of the Museum
Be careful to make the structure of the pop-up museum feel like a part of the existing architecture rather than something alien that does not belong there. Since it is a museum of everyday objects built by the community, it should work with the aesthetics of the neighbourhood. Collaborating with local craftsmen is the best solution here, as they have a fair idea of what the inhabitants identify with. Make sure that the structure also fits the objects on display.
Misc Feedback Loop
It is of crucial importance for the project to create a feedback loop and generate a sense of collective ownership. Ownership is built by asking the community members for their opinions and acting upon their feedback continuously.
Misc Sustainability & Follow-up
An essential question to ask is how the project lives on. Is it just a temporary pop-up exhibition, or do you want it to have a longer legacy? Could the skills and knowledge that have been collected become a part of local history curriculums for schools, so they can continue to build pop-up museums in the future?