The Summer of 2014 was unlike any other for Design Variable- an architectural studio in the suburbs of the city. A workshop with six architecture students from across the city with a task to understand Bombay through the people's story led to the the beginning of a larger place-discovering forum. With a simple question of "How did you came to Bombay?"; the workshop got us the first draft of stories of people. Nishita Pereira, an ex-editor for Times Of India helped us sift through our writings and brushed it up that gave us a refreshing set of 28 stories by the end of 10th day. With a format of narrative mapping to look at the city and a batch of stories in hand, we set out with an ambition to write more and thus, discover the city. With help of an amazing publishing consultancy AuthorsUpFront, we stepped into the magnanimous world of books with our first curatorial venture- People Called Mumbai. Ever since then, we haven’t stopped.
The official launch of People Place Mumbai in 2016 took place at Hive, Bandra as the place held a significant story in the book. It marked the beginning of more ventures and we aimed at covering all the prime cities of India through narrative mapping.
The beginning of 2017 was flagged with our second major curatorial narrative- People Called Ahmedabad.
A kids’ edition of People Called Mumbai, was penned down by writer Vinitha Ramchandani and was released and published by FunOkPlease in October 2017.
Indeed, an exciting journey that got even better with the release of People Called Shillong in November 2017 with the support of Meghalaya Tourism, Northeast Today and Maharaja of Tripura.
This year was marked with number of book readings at literary fests’, open mics at cafes, workshops for kids, treasure hunts and so on.
"With a format of narrative mapping to look at the city and a batch of stories in hand, we set out with an ambition to write more and thus, discover the city..."
With the on boarding of Penguin Random House as sales and distribution partner, we further went on to collaborate with other cities for curating our flagship- PEOPLE CALLED series. And so in the making we have-
People Called Delhi- which is being curated by online web portal FirstPost.
People Called Bengaluru by Shristi Institute of Art Design and Technology
People Called Kolkata by Kamalika Bose, the founder Heritage Synergies, supported by the Birla Sanskriti Trust
People Called Lucknow will be curated by Siddhant Shrivastav.
A Marathi version of People Called Mumbai and kids' version of People Called Shillong are being worked upon so that we are able to outreach a broader spectrum of society by eliminating language and age-barriers.
In the pipeline we have People Called Kochi, People Called Jodhpur and People Called Chennai.
"A tireless journey with millions of stories; People Called series aims to cover all aspects of city consciousness through its interactive mapping..."
We are currently hands-on with a Heritage handbook commissioned by MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority) Heritage Conservation Society for conscious mapping of the city's’ heritage.
Four years since the inception of our first series; we have broadened our horizon to look into different ways people can be aware of their city and its history.
And so we constantly are striving to embark on more such ventures and we appreciate all kinds of support towards our place-making goal...