Learning City Thrissur

“Anchuvilakku”, a monument that has seen through many of the historical events in Thrissur

Background

I have lived in Thrissur for the largest part of my life, until graduation. In the last few years, I have been hosting my non-Malayali friends in Thrissur. I would take them around the city, tell them about different places. That was when I first realised that I didn’t know much about the city I was born and brought up in. Upon reflecting, I realized that whatever history I learned in school was largely (North) Indian history and World history. Nothing much about the southern part of the country, or Kerala, or the district one lived in. Ever since, it has been a self-educative process for me to learn more about the history related to Thrissur and Kerala.

I come to understand that homogenisation is a tool for subjugation, to control. Homogenisation of knowledge, information, language, experiences, all are used by “powers that want humans to be passive observers”. Also, homogenisation in terms of learning, and in terms of aspirations, takes one away from one’s roots and immediate reality. In this regard, there is a need to resist homogenisation and maintain and fortify diversity. One way to achieve this is to keep one’s understanding and knowledge of local history — people, places, monuments, heritage, cultures, rituals, festivals and more — alive.

What is the Learning City Initiative?

The Learning City Initiative facilitates learning, building awareness and undertaking actions around areas such as sustainability and regeneration, waste management, urban farming, local history and heritage, local knowledge systems, etc. and thereby promotes active citizenry and lifelong learning and action.

Why Learning City Initiative?

On average, an individual spends around 15 to 17 years in an institutional education setup, an environment where learning happens out of fear and for economic interest. In the process, most succumb to conventional narratives of progress, and get involved in pursuits that distance themselves from plural realities around. This includes having an understanding of one’s own locality (or immediate environment) and challenges associated, global challenges that affect individuals and societies, and more.

Distancing, Othering and Homogenisation are means by which many powers are taken away from an individual. Establishing a learning community that facilitates diverse explorations and is rooted in the “Local” thus becomes necessary to counter this.

Very few individuals get to explore subjects that matter, and that too due to the availability of supporting platforms outside conventional institutions in most cases. It is the awareness that happens out of (preferably self-motivated) exploration that lays foundation for any forms of change. And awareness can lead to self-directed exploration and later motivate targeted actions for a more sustainable, equitable, informed, and just society. The Learning City Initiative shall be a support system, a platform, a nudge, for this magic to happen.

Larger areas of engagement

  • Sustainability and Regeneration
  • Urban Farming
  • Waste Management
  • Local knowledge systems
  • Local History
  • Localisation
  • Learning in the local context
  • Biodiversity
  • Active Citizenry

Methodologies

  • Workshops
  • Webinars
  • Thrissur Archives — documentation of the local history of Thrissur
  • Guided walks and trails
  • Travel period in schools
  • Citizen engagement opportunities
  • Documentating Learning and Learning processes, and Commoning the same

These are some of the thoughts I carry currently on the Learning City Thrissur initiative. I hope to learn and facilitate learning on the above mentioned areas through LCT, and serve towards meaningful engagements and actions. This also an invitation for interested people to be part of LCT. To know more, kindly write to ashikkrishnank@gmail.com.

Follow Learning City Thrissur on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/learningcitythrissur/

Follow Thrissur Archives on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thrissurarchives/

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