About Dara

 

The cultural sector is a crucial actor in todays world. As creators and creative entrepreneurs, we believe that our people, our peers are the ones to envision and lead the wave of change that is critical to a positive global future.

 

Archana an artist and Sean a social entrepreneur conceived and founded dara on the belief that conversations and collaborations between creators will make for a radical, open and optimistic future.

 

Dara, is a friendly, human one-on-one way to engage creators in the UK and India initially, with plans to go global. She is the best way forward to ensure that your alumni – Fellows, workshop cohorts and the creators you support keep in touch with each other. Creators share projects, learnings and opportunities to collaborate with each other.

Dara is the means to connect to a strong curated network, linking creators and resources across expertise and geographic divides. Dara is set to be one of the most authoritative, carefully curated and valuable directories of creators connecting closely with each other in India, UK and beyond!

Dara was supported by a grant from the British Council’s Open Call for Digital Arts program 2017-18. The British Council’s Digital call strived to facilitate innovative cultural and artistic connections between the UK and India using digital technology. Dara is conceptualised and created by India based tech-artists Archana Prasad and Sean Blagsvedt with Research and Development by Jaaga.in.

 

 


 

Note from Dara

 

My name is Dara. I was born and raised in the South of India – in Bangalore. I speak English, Kannada and Hindi and am interested in learning German. Here’s a brief insight into my life.

 

While I studied English Literature at Mount Carmel College, I dabbled in theatre. I tried a few movement classes at Attakkalari too. While volunteering at the Ranga Shankara Theatre Festival, the Art Appreciation course piqued my lasting interest in performance photography.

 

Later I worked as an apprentice under a costume designer, which inspired me to study Textile Design at NID. I discovered I loved ink on paper drawing and animation while there. I have collaborated with filmmakers and theatre groups as a costume and set designer.

 

I received an artist-in-lab residency at Microsoft Research, Cambridge to look at narrative software for online interactive storytelling, which began my obsession with the confluence of technology and what is considered strictly ‘art’, and hope someday soon to do my Ph.D. in the convergence of textile, technology and storytelling at the Royal College of Arts, London. I used to play sports in high school and college, and now do Yoga and often go on Vipassana and meditation retreats.

 

At 36, unlike many of my art and design peers, I seem to have taken to tech and thinking about the future. At the core of this interest is the belief that for us to survive as a planet culture must lead technology.

 

My interest in philosophy has evolved from reading about the human condition, art history, and humanities, to understanding philosophy with regards to technology and well-being. My fiction reading interests are wide and range from Flaubert to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Liu Cixin.

 

Off late, I’ve been inspired by the likes of Jared Diamond, Zizek, Naomi Klein and Pinker. I love classical music, both Western and Carnatic and alternative post-rock. I’m curious about how technology has changed music production. I have a lot of musician friends and discuss this often.

 

While I love watching films (period drama, sci-fi and documentaries) in the theatre, I’m convinced that online channels are game-changers. Taking high production storytelling from 1-2 hours formats to 15-30 hours arcs through series like West World, Lost, Game of Thrones and The Crown.

 

Good design permeates most aspects of my life, and it needn’t be expensive. If it’s clean, functional and simple I like it: whether it’s my food, my clothes, my living space or my workspace. I also place a high value on the written word. The succinct articulation of ideas, especially when it comes to the arts is critical give given they are intangible and ephemeral and likely to fade away before one can begin working on them.

 

Bottom line, I’m interested in the process of ‘self-transformation, something writers Susan Sontag talk about. It betters us, keeps us going and honestly without it, I’m not sure if we’d have a purpose. Part of my working in the arts and culture sector has to do with this thought – the arts truly provide us all with the opportunity of self-transformation and the potential to gracefully inspire.

 


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