Project Bulletin #02 


Project Bulletin is designed to give our readers a quick recap of our projects along with the latest updates about them. As our projects and partnerships grow, we hope these updates give our readers a sense of continuity about our projects and ensure ongoing access to the material that continues to be generated. 

The next among these is Cultures of Peace: Festival of the Northeast.


Project background:

Cultures of Peace: Festival of the Northeast was begun by Zubaan and Heinrich Böll Stiftung to focus on the Northeastern region. These efforts have created dialogue within civil societies in the seven (+ one) “sister states”, highlighting present-day concerns. While historicising the region’s relationship with “mainland” India, the Festival has foregrounded vital issues that concern the region and the rest of India to work towards peace broadly.

 Through the years, the Festival has addressed specific themes. These include Partition in the context of Northeast India and queer identities; Women’s participation in environmental activism; food cultures of the Northeast; women in music in the Northeast; and, more recently, ecology and performing arts in the Northeast. The programming also included an archive of video interviews and podcasts with women, queer, non-binary and trans people involved in activism, the arts, music, theatre, literature, as well as other material, soon to be consolidated and housed on our website as Zubaan’s Media Archive.

The project’s upcoming phase:

As the Festival moves to a new phase, it now plans to look at feminist institution-building. Movements are not limited to street-level activism but also focus on creating ongoing campaigns, collectives, and “formal” institutions. So what does this mean for movements, and how have feminist organisations dealt with questions of power, leadership, leadership transitions, and organisational growth? These are just some of the questions the Festival will seek to address collaboratively with its partners. 

Some of the materials created:

Through Her Eyes:  This musical collaboration brought together nine talented artists from Northeast India, and from different musical traditions and genres, in a rich tapestry of six different languages (Ao-Naga, Assamese, Chokri-Naga, English, Khasi, and Meiteilon). It is intended as a poetic tribute to nature and the environment featuring Tipriti Kharbangar, the Tetseo Sisters, Mangka, Moarenla Ao, Sunita Bhuyan, and Anungla Zoe Longkumer. 

Feminist Lab: The Lab was designed as a series of participative lectures on gender and ecology, focusing on stories, journeys, and achievements of feminist thinkers/collectives, activists, journalists, and others from the region. It embraces various perspectives and showcases the wealth of knowledge in the region! 

The Lab comprised eight structured interlinked workshop sessions on indigenous women’s rights and ecology, recent reforms in environmental law and their impact, outstanding conservation efforts, and varied creative documentation processes to rediscover and recover our relationship with the ecology around us. 

Video interviews: These are interviews with writers, activists, and researchers like Mamang Dai, Leki Thungon, Rituparna Neog, Ditilekha Sharma, Ayangbe Mannen, Alyen Foning, and Bano Haralu. The interviews walk us through the history of the interviewees’ work, their intellectual, political and social influences, and choices that reflect in their bodies of work. They also address the interviewees’ personal and professional/political choices, and explore how they see themselves in the context of the Northeast. The videos and other material created under the Festival will also be part of the Media Archive.