Archives of Indian Cinema: Methodologies, Creativities and Urgencies

deadline for submissions: 
July 20, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
De Montfort University
contact email: 

Archives of Indian Cinema: Methodologies, Creativities and Urgencies

De Montfort University (UK), Savitribai Phule Pune University (India), Loughborough University (UK),

21st and 22nd October 2022

Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune

This conference if part of the UKRI UK-India funded project Creative Archives: Producing, Preserving and Showcasing Transnational India Film Heritage (, which aims to produce a number of public engagement events to scope creative ideas on how to think about archives through co-creative practices.

Archives, for a long time, have been conceptual, critical and, certainly, methodological spaces and terrains for historical pathways of research across a range of disciplines in the Humanities and social sciences. Much like in many disciplines, the term archive and archives has been proven to be elastic and flexible in terms of what they form and how they are formed. However, such flexibility inevitably poses the problem of how archives are constituted, what is the responsibility of archivists and what are, in light of the ever-changing panorama of Indian cinema, the policies to make and preserve film history.

Ines Schaber (2019) in Notes on Archives, dedicated to archival practices and methods, draws on a photographic collection from the Wadi Ara Valley archive in Israel to reflect on how visual archives can shed light on forgotten stories, as well as how archives can inherently produce lacunas and silences. By reflecting on the archive as a space of lacunas and consecutively of possibilities, this conference seeks to bring together the first round of conversations pertaining to archival practices, archival urgencies and the development of visible and invisible networks pertaining to film heritage. This network will include collectors, family collectors, citizen and community collectors and more institutional bodies to address unvoiced histories of Indian cinema. Equally, the conference aims to address also the methodological urgencies (Michelle Castwell 2021) beyond the standard liberal archival solution to build a framework that reassess hetero-patriarchal supremacies and inequalities within the realm of film heritage of India.      

Unsettling dominating narratives and the centrality of how archives are formed around collections, and how they produce traditional narratives of Indian history across multiple institutions, this conference will interrogate how power – social, political, and institutional – is deployed in archival context in order to build critical understanding of how deeply archives influence and shape the production of knowledge and human subjectivities.

We invite contributors to broadly interrogate how far can we go to define archives of Indian cinema as elastic and flexible?

The paper's aim should be to explore the critical and creative approaches to archives of Indian cinema, both institutional and non-institutional. We would particularly welcome papers that will be able to engage with questions pertaining to restorative Indian cinema histories, creative histories, non-extractive methodologies, interdisciplinary approaches, and silences and absences in Indian film heritage.

We would like to welcome papers interested in presenting on the following indicative themes:

  • Material culture, paratexts and archives
  • Family collections
  • Citizen archives of Indian cinema
  • Silences and absences in archives
  • Economies of collections
  • “Special” collections (the special of special collections)
  • Trash archives
  • Neoliberal archives
  • Decolonisation and archival practices
  • Digital archives and digitization
  • Creative approaches to archival studies and strategies
  • Unpacking bias in the study of archives
  • Institutional archives
  • Inequalities in the archives
  • Building and undoing archives
  • Reparative archives
  • Consuming archives

The list of themes provides an orientation for the authors, but it does not intend to be an exhaustive list.  

How to apply

Please send a 250 words abstract, including a biographical note, to Dr Monia Acciari ( and Dr Madhavi Reddy ( by the 20th July 2022.

Should you have any queries regarding your submission, do please get in touch with us by mailing And 

Early submissions are encouraged. The selection panel will inform you if your abstract has been accepted by the end of August 2022. 

This is an in-person conference, so that we can go back to interacting personally with all the participants, except under exceptional circumstances, which we will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.