The Chime Project: Curating Interactive Cultural Trails – The New Indian Express | Candle Made Easy

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South Delhi-based Shaleen Wadhwana experienced culturally diverse models of public engagement with history while pursuing a Masters in Art History from SOAS University of London in 2012. “I noticed that the guides in London were much more passionate, skilled and structured when dealing with the public. When I came back to India, I wanted to delve into it,” says the 31-year-old, who has worked with several museums, heritage organizations, etc. over the past few years.

Later, as part of Ashoka University’s Young India Fellowship in 2014, Wadhwana met East Delhi-based Nymphea Noronha, a multi-instrumentalist trained in Western classical music. Wadhwana’s passion for art, Noronha’s zeal for music, and the duo’s curiosity and eagerness to learn from each other led to The Chime Project (TCP) in 2019.

With TCP, the duo is on a journey to curate learning experiences that bring together interdisciplinary perspectives to engage with history, art and music. “We had different areas of expertise, but once we started talking, we realized there were connections between history and music. In fact, there are many stories that we could invent together. Our passions were different, but by bringing the two together we were able to create something interesting,” comments Noronha (29), currently working at an academic center for behavioral sciences in the capital.

In touch with heritage
Since TCP’s founding, Noronha and Wadhwana have curated and conducted tours of the city’s National Museum – their main focus being the Sharan Rani Gallery of Musical Instruments, which houses a collection of 450 ancient and rare instruments. They attest to a considerable participation by mostly curious individuals and scholars.

Wadhwana – she also runs individual hikes and heritage tours – and Noronha continues to focus TCP on history and music. She sheds some light on this, adding, “We wanted to be in places that define proper musical instruments to help us step into history through music. The moment you add music to a heritage walk, it opens it up to an audience that would probably never come to a history walk because the subject matter is niche [history] is. With walks like this, we create interdisciplinary learning.”

Explore multiple domains
Although both Noronha and Wadhwana have different areas of interest – and academic backgrounds – they seek to incorporate issues and perspectives from diverse fields such as art, history, sociology, physics and music.

One of their USPs, the duo mentions, is curating bespoke walking tours for the group they serve. Wadhwana gives us an insight into her method and shares: “On our hikes we interview the participants. This causes the group to be prompted to respond. This helps us gauge the level of the group and based on that we would either increase or reduce the content,” concludes Wadhwana.

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