media, information, the contemporary
Announcements, Fellowships

Independent Fellowship Programme – Call for Proposals 2005-06

The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi Sarai is a programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. CSDS is one of India’s best known research centres, with traditions of dissent and a commitment to the work of the public intellectual going back four decades. The Sarai Programme at CSDS was initiated in 2000 as a platform for discursive and creative collaboration between theorists, researchers and practitioners actively engaged in reflecting on contemporary urban spaces in South Asia—their politics, built form, ecology, culture and history—as well as on the histories, practices and politics of information and communication technologies, the public domain and media forms.

We invite applications for the upcoming cycle of Sarai-CSDS Independent Research Fellowships.

The detailed abstracts of successful proposals from previous years can be accessed from here.

The Purpose of the Independent Fellowship

The Sarai-CSDS Independent Fellowships allow the time for individuals from diverse backgrounds to either begin or continue research into specific aspects of media and urban culture and society, broadly and creatively defined, and to also think carefully and rigorously about the various public forms in which their research might be rendered. We are also interested in using the materials generated through the research to continue to build up our thematic archive of research on the city. Thus, we see the fellowship as an important source for this archive. Finally, an important purpose of the fellowship program is to /spark, overlap /and allow access to newly emerging research networks /across/ disciplines, academic and non-academic institutions, organisations, practices, geographical locations and professional backgrounds.

We are thus invested in the idea of what we call /public and distributed research/, where new knowledge is created and shaped from a variety of locations, and not just in a top-down fashion. Participants in the fellowship programme are expected to have a very strong and independent motivation towards the pursuit of their own specialised areas of research, but also to respond to and critique the research of others in the programme as intelligent non-specialists, and be open to suggestions and comments from non-specialists.

Each year, a large number of the fellowships are awarded to projects that deploy standard methodologies and forms from the humanities and social sciences towards what we feel are justly deserving, new and emergent areas of research. However, a significant number of fellowships are also awarded to projects that are innovative both in terms of what they consider to be research, as well as the variety of purposes and forms to which that research is applied. As a result, we encourage the inclusion of individuals with little or no previous formal research experience who want to pursue, more rigorously, a passion for a tightly-focused, feasible, understudied research topic; and equally, we encourage individuals with seasoned research experience in a conventional context to experiment with forms that are relatively new to them.


– For administrative purposes, applicants are required to be resident in India, and to have an account in any bank operating in India.

– Applications can be in Hindi or in English. The research work and presentation can also be in either Hindi, English, or a combination of the two languages.

– The research fellowship will run from January 2006 to the end of August 2006 and award between Rs 30,000 and Rs. 60,000 during this period.

– Fellows will be required to make a minimum of six postings, one per month, on Sarai’s “reader-list” email listserve, between January and the end of June 2006.

– A working draft or initial prototype of the final work will be expected by the end of July 2006. The final presentation of the research project will be made in Delhi at the end of August 2006.

– The fellowships do not require the fellows to be resident at Sarai.

– Although participation in the fellowship programme does require a substantial time commitment—to the research, the postings on progress, and interaction with other researchers and projects in the fellowship cycle—participants are also welcome to pursue the fellowship research in addition to their primary occupations or commitments to other fellowships or grants, if any.

– Proposals from teams, partnerships, collectives and faculty are welcome, as long as the grant amount is administered by and through a single individual, and the funds are deposited in a single bank account in the name of an individual, partnership, registered body or institutional entity.