Fulbright South & Central Asia Conference in Kochi, Kerala
The Fulbright South & Central Asia Conference is coming up from February 23-27 in Kochi, the old global spice trade harbor. Preparing my presentation is a good exercise to sum up my research – and narrow down my resulting project with Arzu + her students at the Lalbagh metro station (more later).
The Fulbright-USIEF staff had miraculously put together this massive event with all-day concurrent panel tracks, evening performances, keynotes – and buffets for all meals. Our 12-hr days are filled with wonderful discussions + panels with Fulbrighters from Nepal to Sri Lanka, from Uzbekistan to India. I am glad for our well-attended Arts panel together with Thaara Shankar, curator at a Delhi contemporary art museum and Kathryn Myers, painter at the Varanasi art school, moderated by Audrey Shakespear. With my project research well on its way, I talk about my work and planned TREE project as a public and participatory art project – along with student environmental projects all inside the Lalbagh metro station.
At the conference I seek out the many environmental topics in science and the arts and meet more colleagues then I can mention here. I was lucky to catch Trevor who researches in Bangalore at the ATREE environmental science foundation. Thank you, Trevor, for making time for a visit on your very last day there!
I am happy to speak directly with Saida, the Uzbek Fulbright representative who is helping me get a visa for my April lectures in Tashkent and Urgench. My visa was finally approved and is waiting for me at the Delhi Uzbek embassy. In order not to increase my CO2 footprint even more with an extra Delhi trip, I plan to stop there on my way to Tashkent + also finally see some of the art and architecture in Delhi.
A stint in Paradise
After this non-stop marathon I venture to the Kerala backwaters 2 hours to the south. 2 quiet days in paradise (corny, you think? – just the truth). The remote 2nd generation Malayalam Lake guesthouse (yes, I have to include the link – should you ever be in that part of the world) is clad in lacquered wood with hand-carved doors, facing a canal. From the old south-Indian easy chair with arm-footrests (yes, that exists) I watch the boats go by (or take one, which I do, teaming up with a Dutch couple).
A beautiful cacophony of birds ends the day and wakes me at dawn. All serene beyond expectation! A last evening at Kochi before my early Sunday flight back.