Nilina Deb Lal

Archival and Museum Fellowships

Grant Period: One year

Nilina Deb Lal is an architect whose special interest has been Kolkata’s architectural and urban environment looked at through the lens of historicity and conservation, with the aim of generating a vision for a sustainable future for the city. Her PhD thesis focused on the years just before the Calcutta Improvement Trust (CIT) began its operations in 1911.

This fellowship gives Nilina the opportunity to study the approach and techniques adopted by the CIT, which significantly altered the face of the city. Much of the urban characteristics, architecture, open spaces and other features that are present today in Kolkata are a result of the activities of the CIT. Nilina’s research will encompass the legacy of the CIT and its interventions, both from the point of view of the interventions themselves as well as their consequent impact on the urban fabric and the people of the city. Her doctoral thesis will help her to understand the growth of the city in the years preceding the formation of the Trust, and the CIT records at the CSSSC archive, the alterations in the course of the city in the years that came after.

The outcomes of her fellowship will be an exhibition, seminar and other neighbourhood engagements in different parts of the city. Nilina’s deliverables to IFA with the final report will be images of the exhibition, process images, audio recordings and texts, if any.

This fellowship is made possible with support from Tata Trusts.