Events conducted in 2015

EVENTS CONDUCTED BY US:

Informal:

 

DSC_0077

 

Art:

DSC_0520-

 

Formal Workshops:

 

11935068_1117009888312411_953079302534308584_n

© The copyrights rights of the images belong to Pallavi.

Gender Trouble Workshop

Performances as such take a route they say,  performance lets you take shapes, sizes and expand beyond one’s imagination. It helps you break the mold. Performance might be the ultimate gender blender.  It speaks more than the language of binaries and it takes it further and mixes it up.

Gender Trouble Workshop was one of Hidden Pockets attempt to discover Gender in its all ambit, to see it getting performed and to create a discussion between the viewer and the performer. The aim was to problematize the term ‘gender’ and see ourselves performing it.

There were two performances for the evening. We had a male dancer performing a dance recital on Devdas songs. His rendition attempted to combine both Bharatnatyam and Kathak dance forms and create a space for exploring masculine and feminine features. It was a wonderful performance which through its art and movements was trying to navigate a space which was fraught with tension. It was interesting to realize that after the performance the engagement between the dancer and viewer was more on the lines of dance forms; the viewer’s engagement was restricted as a consumer of the form, the viewer could not have experienced what the dancer felt while performing. It becomes a cerebral engagement, where we see gender getting performed within the domain of art and limit it to an aesthetics level.

151018_DELHI_HP-GT_GENDER-TROUBLE_14
151018_DELHI_HP-GT_GENDER-TROUBLE_13

DSC_0520-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are used to seeing dance being performed, we perceive it in one specific way and then we engage with it in a limited fashion. We expect no more from the performance, we don’t engage with it. Is there a space for the dancer to decide, to talk, to share his experiences, his inner most subjectivities in the performance. Can dance just be a performance for the dancer with a mask, which does not get into a repetitive mode?

This was in stark opposition to the next performer, which was a drag king performance. A women decked up in different attires took us through various bodies that one is used to seeing in public spaces. In this performance it was interesting to realize that audience was forced to occupy spaces, think about their bodies as subjects of role performances. On being asked to act as men, everyone automatically opened up their bodies, occupied more spaces, there was a sense of entitlement which was reflected in the bodies, where as acting as a woman led to curling up of bodies, act of closing, and occupying as little space as model. Even making people walk in the space in different gender roles was interesting. We all had our own versions of bodies, roles, and genders in our minds. We understood and played out roles even while watching a performance.

151018_DELHI_HP-GT_GENDER-TROUBLE_22
DSC_0547-

Our very act of watching was a gendered experience. During the drag performances, one of the critical aspects of this is taking the makeup applied on one’s face,   the very act of putting make up to enact one gender to the act of taking it off, the movements, the parts of the face that went into the making of the roles, all play an important role. It was interesting to see the performer remove her make up, of being a man to slowly lightening one’s own skin, playing with shadows on one’s own face. How do we respond to these changing aspects of a face? At what aspect of the make up does one become a man or a woman? When does one stop performing?

It was interesting to employ the medium of art to engage in a silent meditation about gender, to 151018_DELHI_HP-GT_GENDER-TROUBLE_26view it, perceive it and then maybe try spelling it. 

 

Spoken Word – Abortion Rights

As part of the September 28th movement on access to services related to Abortion, Hidden Pockets performed it first ever spoken word performance on issue of Abortion.

Hidden Pockets’ first ever #SpokenWordperformance at ‘100 Thousand poets for change’ event organised by Bring Back The Poets, Delhi with Oindrila, Jasmine and Pallavi. We shouted for #abortionrightsand #AbortTheStigmaand joined the International campaign to talk about #abortionby Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)

12039168_1131811726832227_4209825883333918637_o

An excerpt from the performance :

Married? Hell, No!

I work 13 hours a day, I tried to keep a plant once, it died in 6 days

I can’t tell you how excruciating it is to even do my own laundry at the end of each day.

Are you telling me to bring 2 more people into this, throw all my life plans away?

What about my anguish, my choice to not procreate?

What about the child who will resent the bitter mother

who crumbles slowly under her dead dreams’ weight?

What sort of future do you envisage for all of us by telling me to get married?

Let this be a choice, not a survival tactic.

By Oindrila Duttagupta

11850570_1131811876832212_4861693919372224826_o

Photo Courtesy: Pallavi

Will you listen to a young person’s story?

“Hidden Pockets presents Pocketshala”
When these words were played on the speakers our hearts were on the seventh cloud because our work of months and imagining of creating a support tool to talk about issues has finally come true. Talking to young people about things has always been a difficult task. The attention span of young people is short, one moment they are listening to you and the very next moment they will move on to next interesting issue around, creating things which will keep their interest intact in the issues is very difficult. A young person tends to ignore heavy or boring sessions.

It is very important to understand that young participants usually tend to take time to understand issues such as bullying, body shaming, health and hygiene etc. As a facilitator we have to keep adding new tools in our handbag to inform young kids.

 

img-20161016-wa0004

One way which has always worked with children has been the art of storytelling. Since our childhood grandparents have been using the art of telling stories. The art from the past, in our modern world has taken the form of  podcast. Creating stories based on issues such as mensuration, bullying, health and hygiene, relationship etc. has given us a space to start the conversation. In the workshop at Deepalaya we started our session with the first podcast on bullying which has a lead protagonist named Rahul who is being bullied by some kids at school and how his friend Neha helps him out. When the podcast was being played silence was there, which was telling us that there is surely a Rahul in the schools of these kids. Many kids had difficulty in understanding that bullying is not just  physical violence but it also can be when a specific kid is being targeted because of his appearance.  For many of them calling each other names about their skin, height, weight or facial features was a normal thing but at the end of the session they were able to relate to Rahul’s feelings of being bullied and methods to prevent this to happen any further.

It is a well-known fact that when we listen to a story we tend to remember it. The idea behind making podcast in a story telling manner is to create such stories which will remain in children’s minds. The first workshop also created a taboo discussion on urinating in public where two young boys were not able to understand that why urinating in public is a privilege given to male gender and for females this is not the case. On the other spectrum girls at the session have consensus on that if some men urinate in public it has always made them uncomfortable. A lot of questions were also raised such as why children themselves do not clean the toilets at their home though they are the one using them. The discussion was obviously was intense for young children but our aim was just to make them think through the process of being open minded.

 

With a lot of questions being raised and discussed many children were able to give solutions as well as especially when it came to tackle bullying. Initially children had the idea that if anything happens they should always call the police first as they were never exposed to any other option to resolve such a sensitive matter. Just like in the podcast where Neha goes to the teacher and ask for help who is the immediate authority they also agreed that going to a teacher is a best option to stop bullying or taking a stand for the person being bullied.

Towards the end of the workshop, there was discussion on health services programme in schools  and they were quick to address that most of them had a health room in their schools but were clueless regarding usage of it. They were also not aware of the government’s policy on adolescent health programme where they could go to hospitals and access health services.

The workshop which was conducted with the help of audio podcasts is a helpful way to tackle usual challenges a facilitator face in  workshop with young participants. Hence it could be a way to start a conversation or break the ice of awkwardness when it comes to talking about serious issues with young accomplices.  The whole idea to create these audio recordings was to make sure that our message will remain in their minds and whenever they face such issues they should be fully aware of their options.

 

About the Author : Jitender N Bhardwaj is a nomadic traveler who often enjoys long walks in untraditional parts of a city. He as been associated with Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights field since 2014 and loves talking about sexuality and pleasure.

PS: The audio podcasts were created along with Painted Tree Pictures, with the help of Women Deliver.

 

 

Discovering #PleasurePockets in Bangalore: Walk free like Pockets spree

When you are a stranger in a new city, the best way to get a feel of your new neighborhood and to map out interests close to you, is by foot. This essentially means long walks through a maze of streets, buildings, bazaars and the works.

Many cities in India have a reputation for being ‘unsafe’ post sundown. Walks and vigils have been conducted across the globe by professionals, student bodies and others alike who, like us, believe that the streets (no matter what time of the day) must not be feared in any respect. These streets were made with a sole intention of public use in mind and if that purpose expires with the setting of the sun, it is lost and the forces in play that perpetuate the visage of it being unsafe automatically get the upper hand. This is what we aim to stop. Reclaiming the streets is more than just speaking out for our rights to use them at any given time, it is also about us debunking the myths that surround certain spaces. This is a problem that affects both women and men

Hidden Pockets presents ‘Walk Free like a Pockets Spree,’ a walk that aims to bring about a change with regard to how people look at, thinking about these places and aim to reestablish their confidence to come back out and reclaim these ‘unsafe streets’. Join us on the 6th of January, 2016 in front of Christ University’s Main Gate at 8.00 p.m to walk with us as we share our experiences and reclaim- inch by inch- the streets; your streets; our streets.

P.S- Everyone who joins this walk will be allowed to speak their mind be it through words, poems, song,etc. All for a good cause, people!

Author profile:

Sharran Thomas is a millennial writer who belongs in the counter-culture; studying law to make the world a more understanding space.

Inclusive Technologies: ‘Gender Sensitisation’ workshop with FSMK students in Mangalore

What classifies a person as a user of a technology? Does that classification include gender? Do designers of different technologies work on designs that take into consideration the requirements of users from different genders? Which gender do different apps or products and even technologies resonate with? Is there a predominant gender that is taken into consideration and others that aren’t? How do we understand the difference?

As an organisation working on inclusion in different spaces, Hidden Pockets has also been working in the area of technology to find the answer to these questions and others in a way to make technologies and the space of technology inclusive for all. Peeling one layer after another in search of answers, we realised that inclusive thinking is one that is often to given to as a fundamental concept in our system of education.

On 13th May 2017 Hidden Pockets was invited by FSMK (Free Software Movement Karnataka) to conduct a workshop on ‘Gender Sensitization’ for the students of Bearys Institute of Technology, Mangalore.  The day started with session on free software, how to think like a computer scientist and was followed by a workshop on ‘Gender Sensitization’. FMSK sees a need to have conversations around issue of gender and how this gets manifested in technology spaces as well. Being an organisation working on diversity and inclusion, we at, Hidden Pockets, were more than excited to be part of this initiative and bring conversations around gender in a technology space. Aisha Lovely George conducted the training on behalf of Hidden Pockets. The purpose of the talk was to sensitize students of different technologies about the need to look technology from several perspectives going beyond one in a way to make it usable for diverse groups of users.

It is important to understand the builders, architects, designers come with their lived-in experiences, knowledge and other influences into what they build. It is important to work with students from diverse backgrounds in a way to bring them all to a neutral ground. This, in no way, is an easy task. However, setting some common fool-proof grounds and rules could help them in looking at their product in a more unbiased manner.

In this case, more than 90% of the students were from the Muslim community. The room had a clear gender based segregation and seating arrangement with girls on one side and boys on the other side. The girls were giggling and keeping the answers to themselves and guys confidently answered all the questions. Initially, we asked the students to change their seating arrangements as we realised girls and boys were seated separately. We later mixed them into groups for some of our activities.

Nardhini S, a members of FSMK insisted on giving communication a place of vital importance. Then there was a small session on why it is important to understand the concept of gender when it comes to tech, a talk on why it is important to respect all. How can one holistically understand making of tech apps for all genders? These and many more such questions were explored during this session in an attempt to open newer perspectives to these students.  Emphasis was given on how to respect each other’s space, views and most important gender. The session was concluded with a gentle reminder about the responsibilities of the students to be inclusive of all, especially as the creators, inventors and makers of tomorrow.

 

Would you like a gender sensitisation workshop in your workplace or education institution? Write to us at aisha.george@hidden-pockets.com. We’d be happy to help! 

BroC0de: Gender and Technology Workshop at HasGeek

Techies; the misfits, the geeks, the nerds, the un-wired ones are making the future right now or so it seems. Techies have the power to change the narratives and ensure that more people from different groups are represented in this conversations. In an era where Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) would be the next big truth, how do we make sure that this future is inclusive and reflective of everyone’s realities? What is the language that is being used to create this new brave world? Who are these people, and is it true that some people are being left out? Is there space for care and inclusion?

With rising incidents of harassment in tech spaces, gender diversity is soon becoming an issue which the companies can no longer ignore. With rising importance given to technology, how do we ensure a space that discusses role of technology in negotiating power structures? What is this technology, and who are the consumers of it? Is there a specific gender that is creating a technology, and is there a certain gender that is just consuming technology?

Hidden Pockets in an attempt towards creating inclusive spaces, conducted a talk on existing Bro Code within the workspaces. In an attempt to check the existing biases within tech workspaces, we conducted a workshop to channel conversations between people who use technology in different capacities.

The conversations ranged from different understandings around gender, and how it manifests in participants life. Most of the participants were people who considered themselves as tech makers in some capacity and had generally a very positive approach towards technology. They were aware of some of the inherent biases that tend to get reflected in some of the tech products.

Jasmine Lovely George, trainer from Hidden Pockets played a game to understand the inherent biases to help participants realize some of the unconscious bases held by all of us. The game led to some interesting discoveries. It was interesting to see that there was a very limited understanding of gender in workspaces and there was tendency to assume that individuals acted without any gender expectations within work culture. There was also specific mention of  the fact that genders could be more than two genders, and there was a need to make spaces more accessible for people belonging to different genders.

There was a section around technology products and their usage. There was a tendency to see solutions in technology and approach problems through technology lens only. Sruthi Krishnan, from Fields of Views  discussed their research studies around lack of efficiency of panic buttons and safety applications in responding to crisis situations. Someone else also discussed the usage of Food delivery applications to reduce wastage.

There was also a clear lack of understanding of problems that affected people from different genders. Overall, there was an agreement in trying to make spaces and workstations more inclusive and have more people from different backgrounds.

With the rising need to make different spaces inclusive, it is becoming of exceedingly important to have these conversations and question ideas that are inherently present in our minds due to various reasons – environment, family, friends, education and others. Are these ideas valid and fair towards all? How can we change them? Hidden Pockets aims to tackle these issues of gender and sexual diversity in workspaces and would be hosting a lot more workshops and talks to keep raising this disparity and continue these conversations to have a more meaningful engagement with technology. If you are interested in having a workshop in your organisation, write to aisha@hidden-pockets.com

Code of Conduct talks to make technology spaces more inclusive for all

Uber in last few weeks have been trying to figure out different ways of handling and trying to improve the conditions in its workspace. In an attempt to improve its workspace atmosphere, it introduced a Holer’s report which tried establishing some of the Code of Conduct prinicples which a company can introduce to have more diversity, inclusion and better work-life balance.

Code of Conduct principles are generally a set of rules that an organisation introduces to make a workplace lot more comfortable for all its staff . These principles set the tone of an organisation and help in building a great work culture.

Hidden Pockets in its attempts to discover and talk about inclusive spaces,have been introducing the concept of Code of Conduct in different spaces. In recently conducted RHOK Bangalore Hackathon , Hidden Pockets gave a talk on Code of Conduct, and the need for different spaces to introduce these principles to have a much more holistic experience. The hackathon was attended by around 30 people from various backgrounds.

The coders came from different backgrounds and were coming together to create a product as a solution for a cause that they believed in. In an event, which was mostly attended by male coders, it was important to emphasise on the fact that there were not enough women coders in such hackathon spaces. In a makers space, it was important for us to raise some of the questions around how could we make these spaces more inclusive so that people from different genders, class and caste would find it more encouraging to attend these events. For most of them, gender was a new topic that they were getting introduced to, and they were trying to understand how this concept could be brought into our daily spaces of work.

User experience was another issue which was picked up during our conversation. Does the user and the maker have a dialogue before creating the product, and how does this help in creating a better experience for the user?

Since most of the coders were working on issues that they were interested in, it was important for them to realize that there was diversity in the room and to acknowledge at some level that this diversity would be a great added bonus to their work experience. Code of Conduct helps the participants and the employees see value in diversity and makes spaces more inclusive by bringing in experiences from different backgrounds and connecting these experiences to different themes.

The coders worked on these different themes :

  1. Accessible public transport to enable visually impaired persons to identify bus stops. (Cheshire homes)
  2. Early warning system for earthquakes and other natural calamities (Opencube Labs)
    Reduction of usage pesticides in the agriculture sector. (World Merit India & Opencube Labs)
  3. Water conservation in agriculture sector. (World Merit India)
  4. To improve the user interface of an open source application used to map trees ( Gubbi labs)

Technology spaces are the latest spaces where more and more people of colour, people from different backgrounds and genders are interacting. RHOK hackathons is an initiative that bring makers and users on a common platform and make technology more inclusive. A nuanced Code of Conduct and enhanced work space atmosphere would definitely help in creating finer products and will encourage more people to come forth and be part of such spaces.

Unleash Lab 2017, Denmark : SDGs

August 2017, Hidden Pockets got selected to be a part of Unleash Lab 2017 in Denmark. A nine days event where Unleash focused on 7 themes which are directly linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The themes were Food, Health, Water, Energy, Education, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Consumption and Production. So what was UNLEASH model ? UNLEASH brought 1000 talents together and converted their ideas into 200 business cases for sustainable development, collaborating with companies, academia and civil society.

 

Health 

Hidden Pockets represented Health. Talents under Health were further divided into sub themes; Access, Disability, Education, Mother and families and Mental health. Under Health we worked on access to Health. Under the sub themes we were asked to work with small groups on different topics related to access to health. Finally groups were created under access sub theme. Access to Finance, Early detection of Preeclampsia, Connecting the service providers and the Medicine suppliers. I worked on Maternal Deaths – Early detection of Preeclampsia. It was a great experience to work with people from different back grounds. The team had a mix of people from academia, a person from NGO, practitioner and a designer. My team members were

– Yvonne Mburu (Kenya), a scientist and healthcare consultant with over 10 years of experience in cancer immunology.
– Anne Vaandrager (Netherlands), a Design Activist. Her work is based on in-depth research that focuses on social shortcomings and inequalities in society.
– John Kigaru (Kenya), a Nurse Practitioner. He is the CEO and Co-founder of PregMum limited,which has partnered with Strathmore University to develop Health-Tech solutions to improve early detection and response to obstetric emergencies at the grassroots level in Kenya.
– Olivia Curl (United States), founder of GIRLWITHABOOKMovement, a non-profit media organization that advocates for girls’ education and gender equality. She has worked in community-level reproductive healthcare and is particularly interested in the relationship between reproductive rights, education, and gender equality.

Pilot Project: 

The project is called SheTHRIVES. It a simple, effective screening tool to identify pregnant women at risk for eclampsia and pre-eclampsia. We selected Mukuru Slum in Nairobi, Kenya as a pilot case study for testing and initial implementation. The women in this area are at a great risk of maternal death from pre-eclampsia, due to a lack of preventative screening measures. So we created SheTHRIVES which is a 3-piece pre-eclampsia screening kit with digital blood pressure cuff, urine dipstick test, and simple digital interface which would be used by the community and student volunteers at the local church to detect early signs of pre-eclampsia among the pregnant women.

Unleash Lab 2017 was an amazing experience. We learnt how to work in a team, with people from different background, different culture, different style.
We learnt a lot about each others culture. We learnt how a particular idea might work in a particular region but might not work in a different region. We had to understand the culture of different regions and community. Unleash helped us in understanding the community better. It also helped many of us who are running our small startups to understand how a proposal is made, what is the investor looking for and what all to keep in mind while framing a proposal.

All the SDGs are interconnected to each other. One cannot work on one SGD by ignoring the other. All should be moving forward together. And that is what Unleash Lab 2017 taught us, “How to move together”.

What happens when a gynaecologist, a poet and a man walk into the room?

If you are unable to find the service, please do write to us.

Write to us at hiddenpocketsinfo@gmail.com
Call us at +918861713567

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With four lovely performers and three speakers, Hidden Pockets and Krantikalli for #Sep28 campaign took this initiative to bring young people together and talk about Women’s Health and the City. The best part was that we had a gynecologist with us as a speaker. Dr. Suchitra is a medical officer for Family planning Association of India at the Delhi branch. Having a gynecologist among us made the audience very excited. The youngest in the crowd was a 16 years old performer.

The event was conducted at the Playground Creative House in Defense Colony, Delhi. The event started with two of the lovely performers reciting their poems. Brindalakshmi through her poems voiced the need for Red Lipstick, as if every women in the room was dying to put the red lipstick but was scared.  Anuradha recited her poetry in Hindi wherein she connected various different women and their struggles with health. Ankita spoke about body shaming and loving our own bodies while Amia brought a young adolescent’s anxieties into the room. The room was filled with an aura where we all had some questions to be answered. We all could connect with the poems, and we all connected with each other.

To the make the evening more interesting, we had our speakers next.  We had three speakers, Aisha from Hidden Pockets Collective, who mapped public health centers, and is a single women staying in a metropolitan city, went first. Second was Nitin, a man in a women’s meet, who spoke about how important it is to be a part of such discussions. As a partner, a brother and a friend, he wanted to be more engaged in these issues and be more sensitive to such issues. And third was the gynecologist, Dr. Suchitra.

 

 

The conversation was mostly focused on discussing public health centers and how difficult it is for women to access health centers, followed by sharing of experience on how it felt to visit Family Planning Association for the first time. Nitin shared his experience about visiting clinics and understanding how important it is to visit these centers with your partners.  And then we had the gynecologist talking about safe abortion, about how it is a women’s right to get a safe abortion and also about myths related to abortion.

Slowly the audience in the room started opening up. And then one by one we had the women asking questions. There was an excitement as well as seriousness in the room. Excitement because women were finally asking questions directly to a gynecologist and seriousness because all were paying attention to what the doctor was saying. The questions were related to periods, methods to contraception, pregnancy, safe abortion etc..

The audience also got to know about FPAI(Family Planning Association of India).  FPA India envisages sexual and reproductive health for all as a human right, including gender equality leading to alleviation of poverty, population stabilization and sustainable development. They have clinics around India such as in Delhi, Agra, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. We got to know how  FPAI follows ‘No Refusal Policy’ and also about how it gives importance to “after care” post having abortion and helps the person in understanding choices to contraception.

To sum up the beautiful evening, we had our performers recite their amazing poems. By the end a few still had questions, few looked content and while a few others were still in that fascinating aura.

Hidden Pockets Collective would like to thank out host partners @Krantikaali for helping us conduct this event in Delhi.

Pic credit: Riya Singh