Partner: Tara School
An industrial town that lies on the other side of the Hooghly is connected to Kolkata by two major bridges – the iconic Howrah Bridge, a cantilever bridge with one end point near the Howrah station, and Vidyasagar Setu, a cable-stayed bridge with one endpoint near Shalimar station, connect the two cities. Both the bridges are counted among the longest ones in the world within their types.
Traversing through the flower market and other markets for fish and fresh vegetables, one can also take a Ferry from one end of the Howrah bridge to get to the railway station.
Established in 1854, the railway station here is the largest railway complex in India and the busiest. One can see hundreds of coolies in their red uniforms moving with luggage of all sizes and passengers rushing to catch taxis, buses, ferries and rickshaws.
Once a bustling centre of jute and papers mills and manufacturing units, the town attracted hundreds of people but the infrastructure did not develop accordingly, leading to the creation of several slums in that area. A short walk brings us to Pilkhana, which is written about in the best-seller City of Joy. There are several NGOs working in this area towards development and betterment of the slum, including Tara school that provides quality education to the underprivileged children. Walking through the huge collection of freshly made earthen cups, the school which is said to have once been a gun powder storage area, we reach the ghat where children can be seeing dancing and performing acrobatic marvels.
Across the river one can see the docks of Kidderpore.
Partner: Dartford Council
Dartford became a market town in medieval times but it is now mainly a commuter town for Greater London, that has a long history of religious, industrial and cultural importance. Dartford is a key rail hub and the QE2 Bridge was completed in 1991 as a vital crossing of the river.
Dartford Borough Council has been developing a thriving professional arts community, working with local companies to facilitate mentoring for resident artists and schools. The Council is excited to be working with Kinetika in 2017 to explore the town’s relationship with the Thames and the River Darent.
Here in Dartford, we have a great community, Kentish to the core, but close enough to London to mean that we have to pursue our own identity. For us the river is not an adornment or an ornament, but a working thoroughfare that has provided jobs and prosperity for hundreds of years. The prospect of celebrating our river connections and linking them to other communities (both at home and overseas) was simply too good to miss.
We want to engage as many people as possible. Not just the usual suspects i.e. the artists and community groups, but every resident right across the borough, to give them another reason to be proud of Dartford and our involvement in the Silk River project.