Concrete Utopias in Dharavi | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Concrete Utopias in Dharavi

Dr Selina Busby's research project for Central 'Concrete Utopias in Dharavi'

Much of the research carried out at Central draws on participants and agents from different communities.

Dr. Selina Busby and her BA Drama, Applied Theatre & Education and MA Applied Theatre students have been working annually for the past 7 years with an NGO in Mumbai and alongside a collection of local, Indian artists and practitioners on a project in Dharavi to improve English language skills and facilitate intercultural dialogue and creativity through Applied Theatre.

Dr. Busby works alongside a Dharavi-based NGO who aim to work at a community level to empower women and slum communities to be their own catalysts for change, as well as Indian Theatre artist Divya Bhatia. For the young participants in Dr Busby’s project, the change they seek is the ability to imagine a different future for themselves including improved job prospects. Many of the young people are homeless and have no responsible adults in their lives. They see little prospect of change, and many dream of escape through being discovered as a Bollywood Star.  Dr Busby’s work capitalises on these fantasies, allowing for workshops that encourage learning and which are facilitated through the mediums of theatre, dance, performance and play.

In May, Dr Busby discussed the project in an interview for the Times Higher Education podcast and magazine. An article on the findings of the project and its implications for work in Applied Theatre was published in RIDE [Research In Drama Education], vol.22, 2017. Dr. Busby’s project was shortlisted for the 2016 Times Higher Education Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Arts, and was runner up in the 2017 Guardian University Awards for International Projects.

Research at Central


Dr Selina Busby's research project for Central 'Concrete Utopias in Dharavi' shortlisted for a Times Higher Education award