Resources > Sarai
05 Jul 2011


Sarai is a programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. Sarai's mission is to act as a platform for discursive and creative collaboration between theorists, researchers, practitioners and artists actively engaged in reflecting on contemporary urban spaces and cultures in South Asia.

Over the last ten years, The Sarai programme at CSDS has arguably been South Asia’s most prominent and productive platform for research and reflection on the transformation of urban space and contemporary realities, especially with regard to the interface between cities, information, society, technology, and culture.

Sarai began work in 2000 on issues of media, urban life, and the public domain, at a time when such issues were hardly on the horizon in India. In addition, Sarai brought together academics and practitioners in a new dialogue and collaboration. Sarai was initiated by Ravi Vasudevan, Ravi Sundaram , both faculty at CSDS; and the Raqs Media Collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula & Shuddhabrata Sengupta). Sarai’s early research focuses on urbanization, media life, and information are now part of any serious thinking about the contemporary. Since its inception, Sarai has initiated research projects on media urbanism, Cybermohalla, critiques of intellectual property, free software, art practice and the public realm, language and the city, and many others.

It has supported unique independent fellowship programmes, and held a host of events including conferences, workshops, and performances. Like all experimental research initiatives in India, Sarai has seen cycles of expansion and contraction, involving the dispersion of some nodes and the emergence of new sites and publics.

Sarai’s ongoing projects include:


BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies
One of Sarai’s publication ventures is the academic journal BioScope. This is a blind peer-reviewed journal being published by Sage Publications biannually since January 2010. It is primarily centred in the areas of film and media studies, but also engages a wider orbit of image and sound practices.

The Sarai Reader
The Sarai Reader book series has been widely recognized as a site for critical and creative thinking. Previous Readers include:

Sarai Reader 01: The Public Domain
Sarai Reader 02: The Cities of Everyday Life
Sarai Reader 03: Shaping Technologies
Sarai Reader 04: Crisis/Media
Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts
Sarai Reader 06: Turbulence
Sarai Reader 07: Frontiers
Sarai Reader 08: Fear
Sarai Reader 09: Projections

Bahurupiya Shehr
A collection of stories, biographies, conversations, blog entries, and reflections about the city of Delhi. Published by Rajkamal Prakashan, 2007.

Trickster City
An extraordinary composite of writings on the city of Delhi, written over a period of two years by a group of 20 young people who live in different places in Delhi, and who have, over the last several years, sustained among themselves and with others around them, a relationship of writing and conversing about the city.