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Not a Place on the Map: The Desh Pardesh Project

Over the past three years, SAVAC has been busy working on an oral history project that shares the stories of the organizers, artists, participants and community activists behind Desh Pardesh, the groundbreaking multidisciplinary South Asian Arts Festival that operated in Toronto from 1988 to 2001.

We are excited to launch the oral histories as a series of podcasts available on our website and later through the CLGA Digital Collections. The interviews give us an inside look into arts organizing in the 1990s in Canada, from uncovering the racial dynamics of the arts world to the impact of the financial crisis on arts organizing. Over the next few months, we will be developing research and education material to supplement the oral histories.

Listen to the interviews here.

We are currently looking for funding to extend the project to British Columbia, where we intend on collecting oral histories along with archival material that explore the world behind Rungh – a South Asian focused arts and culture magazine that was published in the 1990s. We thought it would be a great next step for the project given that the first issue was dedicated to documenting and providing coverage on Desh Pardesh.

Thank you to all the participants, community organizers, researchers and volunteers who participated in the three-year long process and have made this project a success. For more information about the project, please contact our Archives Coordinator, Sajdeep Soomal, at archives@savac.net.