Thinai: The DakshinaChitra Incubator


Thinai means land, landscape in Tamil Sangam poems, from the 1st century BCE to 3rd century BCE. Sangam literature is pre-dominantly secular, dealing with everyday themes around the concept of Agam as love (Agam as an interior space) and Puram as war and the public (Puram as an exterior space).

Thinai: The DakshinaChitra Incubator, is an experimental Place; a landscape of communities consisting of individuals, collectives, and organizations who come together at DakshinaChitra to ideate, discuss, present works-in-progress and create new and engaging public programming, both within and outside the museum. And it’s all done through a process of curiosity, experimentation and collaboration.

The idea is to provide a Space that transcends just being specifically physical, emotional or geographical. It looks to re-define the museum space and the conversations taking place in it, as something that can be shaped and re-shaped, instead of being stagnant. The Museum as Place, Land, Landscape, and Akam-Puram, through the incubator program, functions with the idea that Culture is fluid while functioning within certain structures, much like poetry.

December 2014

Supportive Cities:

The Urban History Project kick starts its orientation at Dakshinachitra. The group of Fellows will start their 6 month workshop in January 2015. The Urban History Project is a community led exploration of Chennai’s urban transformations through conversations with people in the city, and documented by long-form essays, film and photographs.


Urban Design Collective

December 26th 2014

The first phase of a curated exhibition 'Sidhpur: Architecture Without Frontiers" will open in the Mandapam area  at Dakshinachitra. The exhibition "Sidhpur - Architecture without frontiers", is an event to commemorate the heritage houses of the Dawoodi Bohra community of Sidhpur, a sleepy little town in Northern Gujarat. It may safely be claimed, without any fear of contradiction, that this style is not only one of its kind in India but also in the rest of the world. Nothing like this has ever been featured in any architectural journals, magazines or books anywhere. The style is a unique fusion of the brilliant Classical Orders of the West with the creative ingenuity of the East. The fusion is so seamless that in spite of its obvious European looks, it is impossible to place a finger on any particular element or feature as being of foreign origin. But if the craftsmen and artisans deserve to be applauded, then an equal share of the plaudits must also go to the owners - the Dawoodi Bohra community of Sidhpur. For, they were the ones who were instrumental in introducing this style into the local soil. And to firmly seal their authorship, some of the affluent families have left their indelible stamp on some exotic Interiors. Here again it would be no ordinary claim to categorise these as absolutely astounding.


December 28th 2014 : Snuff Puppets

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) Pondicherry and Urban Design Collective (UDC) will collaborate with Snuff Puppets, Australia, on a ‘People’s Puppet Project’ workshop to raise awareness towards Pondicherry’s unique Franco-Tamil architectural and cultural heritage,through an innovative combination of puppetry and street theatre. The final performance by Snuff Puppets will be held at Dakshinachitra's OAT, on Dec 28th at 3:00 PM.

The workshop in Pondicherry will encourage participation of local citizens with the aim to reconnect local community with their town’s heritage. It will also provide an opportunity to learn new artistic and technical skills, exposure to new creative art and performance mediums, and collaboration with international artists. The workshop will demonstrate how different artistic elements come together to produce dynamic productions - themes and stories, dialogue, music and dance, to create a complete performance.Professional artists from Snuff Puppets will facilitate this hands-on puppet making and performance
workshop. Participants will develop ideas for a street performance based on the theme of heritage conservation, creating story lines and puppet characters. Participants will work alongside Snuff Puppets to build their larger than life puppets, learn how to activate them, and rehearse for the performance. The workshop will culminate in public performances at prime locations in Pondicherry.The Snuff Puppets workshop in Pondicherry has been made possible by a successful grant from the Australia-India Council.



Collaborators: Nov 2014: Supportive Cities

About Supportive Cities: 

Supportive cities aims to inspire and support the diverse aspirations of people living in Indian cities, providing a platform for stories and conversations. Starting in Chennai, it hopes to act as a catalyst in the struggle to make Indian cities more responsive to the diverse aspirations of its residents.

Supportive Cities and Thinai are pleased to announce: 
Supportive Cities in collaboration with DakshinaChitra’s incubator program Thinai presents the 'Urban History Project', a community led exploration of Chennai’s urban transformations through conversations with people in the city, and documented by long-form essays, film and photographs. Follow the link to see how you can be involved:

The Theatre workshop by Rithambara

Our collaborators Rithambara under Thinai Incubator is organising a Theatre workshop for adults on Exploring mythological characters in Indian Tradition on 30th November 2014 . The sessions are fun-filled and experiential, using Theatre techniques and elements from the Koothu tradition & Process Work. On Nov 30th, we would be exploring 'Prahalada Charitram' (The Story of Prahalada) and its connotations to our present day lives.

The sessions would be anchored by Ganapathy Murugesan from 'Ritambhara'. He is a theater actor with many years of experience at 'Koothupattarai', and is currently a part of a theatre collective called 'Maa Maram' based in Chennai. He is also well-trained in the Martial Arts.


Urban Design Collective presents People Building Better Cities Oct 15th - Nov 15th 2014

About PBBC: 
Urban Design Collective will be presenting People Building Better Cities at DakshinaChitra - An international travelling exhibition to promote dialogue on participation and inclusive urbanization. 

About PBBC:
"People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization, has travelled to ten countries to exchange knowledge, build networks, and promote dialogue between communities, urban professionals, universities, non-governmental organizations, and policy makers on the challenges of inclusive urbanization and climate change. While the exhibition focus is on developing countries, it speaks to urban issues in developed countries such as growing inequality and climate change. Associated public events, organized in collaboration with partners in each city, will localize the exhibition content."

Sep 2014
Participants: Urban Design Collective

Urban Design Collective (UDC) is a non-profit organization that works as a collaborative platform for professionals from the fields of Architecture, Urban Design/ Planning to promote livable and sustainable cities through community engagement. UDC was started as a way to mobilize those who wanted to change the way our cities are built. By engaging and empowering young design professionals, who otherwise as individuals are excluded in the city building process, to create and disseminate content, we give them a chance to voice themselves as change-makers for a better future. As a result, UDC has come to be a global community of architects, designers, engineers, artists and students who are passionate about cities. UDC’s approach is best defined as a mix of storytelling, advocacy and demonstration through practice. That apart, our approach is people-centric and aims to bring all the many stakeholders involved in the city building process as equal partners to concur on what makes livable & sustainable cities.


Incubator Focus

UDC will curate a set of events, exhibitions and artistic interventions at DakshinaChitra with a focus on vernacular architecture, sustainability and urban design. Ideas for alternate educational models and programs that will engage students from various architecture schools in the city is also a part of the focus.