Consul General of the United States in Chennai, Robert G. Burgess, said here on Friday that Kochi witnessed an amalgamation of artistic sensibilities with artists approaching their medium as agents of social change by raising fundamental questions and challenging conventional thinking.
He was speaking at the closing of the ‘Amplified Voice Programme’, an educational series of workshops organised by American Arts Incubator, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State and ZERO1 in partnership with the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) and Sacred Heart College, Thevara, at Pepper House in Fort Kochi.
The focus of the three-week sound workshop, which began on February 22, was ‘gender equality’.
“In arts, we raise fundamental questions and challenge the way we think and they enable us to look at issues from a different perspective. Besides, an endeavour of this sort also helps forge ties between the United States and India,” said Mr. Burgess.
Four teams comprising 17 members came up with their interesting prototypes which gave prime importance to audios to tackle gender-related issues. The U.S.-based sound artist Laura Wright, who led the workshops, said she decided to take gender equality as the theme after participating in the Women’s Day march at Seattle.
Separately, during an interaction with the media, Mr. Burgess said there had been a rise in the number of Indian students studying in the U.S. While there could be fluctuations in the year-on-year figures, looking at a five-year period, there had been a steep increase in the number of Indian students in the U.S. “The latest available figures, pertaining to the year 2016, suggest there were 1,86,000 Indian students, most of them pursuing masters-level programmes,” he said.
Most students were doing science, technology, mathematics, engineering and business. Mr. Burgess was in town in connection with the visit of a 14-member Fulbright-Nehru U.S. university delegation to the city. In Kochi, they visited the Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Sacred Heart College, and the Centre for Public Policy Research primarily to examine areas for “potential partnership and collaboration in academic research and studies”.