I have just completed my year-long engagement as a consultant with the Chennai-based Prajnya Trust. Working on their Education for Peace Initiative from 14 January 2018 to 14 January 2019 gave me an opportunity to enquire more deeply into various forms of structural violence that peace educators need to engage with in order to create learning spaces that are safe, welcoming and supportive for all students.
The teacher trainings I facilitated, the peace blog I wrote for, and the Facebook group I maintained, helped me discover that there is a big gap in terms of resources to sensitize Indian educators — especially at the school level — to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students who encounter discrimination, misrepresentation, humiliation, mental health issues and physical violence in educational settings and their own communities.
To build on this work, I am stepping into a new role with Prajnya that begins from 16 January 2019. This is a six-month fellowship with the organization to dedicate time and energy towards documenting academic literature, training materials, fiction and multimedia resources that would be of value to educators in India working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students. The Shanti Fellowship is for peace activists, teachers and education scholars working on practical and academic projects relation to peace education. I will be called a Shanti Fellow, affiliated to Prajnya’s Education for Peace Initiative.
I would like to adopt a feminist, intersectional and sex-positive lens for this project, and use this period of study to build meaningful relationships with a global network of scholars, activists and educators working on these issues. My work during the fellowship period will be disseminated through book reviews, checklists, interviews and research notes posted on the Prajnya blog, apart from public outreach on social media platforms.
There is no financial component to this fellowship but it is an opportunity to bring rigour to my intellectual exploration and pedagogic practice, and to pursue my research within an organization that has had a long history of working on initiatives against gender based violence. If you would like to help by pointing me to resources, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to me @chintan_connect.