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Youth Work

Understanding ComplexCity

By March 7, 2018December 28th, 2023No Comments
Glimpses from the first round of the ComplexCity street play competition — Umang Youth Group (left) and MD College (right)

What does ComplexCity mean? What’s so complex about the city? Are we talking about my city or your city here? What’s in it for me?

As the questions came pouring in, we decided to give you the complete lowdown on what’s keeping us busy this month. ComplexCity is scheduled for 23 March 2018–28 March 2018. It’s going to take you less than five minutes to catch up with what we’ve planned!

But first, a little prelude.

Why Focus on the ‘City’?

As a non-profit development organisation helping vulnerable groups access their rights, YUVA has worked tirelessly across city spaces from the start. The ‘urban’ has been core to what we have done and continue to do, to work towards our ideal of inclusive, participatory and democratic cities, and that it is why the ‘city’ is at the centre of explorations in ComplexCity.

C stands for Complex too

The city continues to baffle us, given its constantly evolving and shifting nature. Each one of us leaves our imprint on the city in different ways. Yet, more often than not, we only receive glimpses of homogenised perceptions of urban realities, those driven by mainstream discourse. Caught up in our own lives and circle of acquaintances, we miss out on the many realities in the city. Do you know of the different cultures of the city? Of different ways of living and working in the city thoroughly unfamiliar to yours?

The ‘complex’ aspect of ComplexCity seeks to unearth all these urban realities. We hope to present the many sides to the city across the events being organised (a youth event, a conference, cultural events, the competitions segment, the film festival, and the soon-to-be launched Urban Resource Centre) so that we can better understand the urban, our role in it, and how we can all ensure that these spaces continue to remain inclusive and participatory, not just for ourselves but for generations after.

Which City are we Talking About?

Which city you ask? While programmes this year are limited to the cities of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, the aim is to spark various dialogues on cities, and explore ways to spread this to other cities in time to come.

What’s in it for you?

There’s something for everyone.

Are you a movie buff? We’ve got a film festival focused on the urban. But this time, it’s not about film screenings alone (which will be taking place in bastis across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, and finally at the Centre for Education and Documentation in South Mumbai), but also the enlivening conversations we hope to start within the community about representing multi-faceted urban realities.

Keen to join the academic discourse on the city? Attend the conference on urban practice, where we will also be launching our Urban Resource Centre, a living archive that draws from the organisation’s history and also engages with current urban realities.

Want to wow us with your understanding of the urban? Participate in competitions taking place –debate, street theatre, and photography. We’ve just wrapped up the first leg of the street play competition. Catch up with all the latest updates on competitions on our social media handles — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Interested to know about youth action across city spaces, and eager to join with them, to help us co-create better cities for tomorrow? The Youth Convention promises to be about all this and much more. Get to know about our claiming spaces initiative, and engage in discussions on gender and identity

And finally … get a taste of indigenous cultures, be it through dance, music, poetry, heritage walks … the list goes on. The ComplexCity week is all about the city, the people, the spaces we inhabit, and the dreams and aspirations we have for ourselves and the city.

The ComplexCity schedule

Interested, already? To get more details on ComplexCity and to register for the events visit

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