1. How do you introduce yourself to someone?
I am lipika, usually I have to repeat my name, haha. I am 30 years, born, raised and based in Amsterdam from Indian origin. I studied international communications and science and technology studies. During both studies I looked at the influence of technology on society. During my first study I specialised on ICT in developing countries and during my second study I looked at technologies such as biometrics and rfid and the acceptance in society of these privacy sensitive tools.
2. Do you provide for other people than yourself?
For how many?
I do not provide for others financially. But I try to help out people the best I can. I try to help out my grandparents when I visit them in Delhi.
3. Is it difficult to define your work?
Not really, I work with Waag Society, a media lab, which develops technology for social innovation within the domains of education, culture, healthcare, sustainability and society. We also organise conferences and workshops. I do background research for these domains and develop small projects within these domains, mainly related to developing countries.
4. Can you make a living from your profession?
If not, how do you make a living?
Yes I can make a living from my profession. I can't lead a luxurious lifestyle, but I am happy with what I do and I have a lot of freedom to do what I really like.
5. Do you work in group?
if so, with whom?
At work I have to work in teams. Thus with my colleagues, external partners, end-users, various people. I think this is extremely important to be critical about your own work. You learn to be reflective and also get new input from others. learn from various perspectives, thus learn from other people and experiences. It makes you more open-minded.
6. Is it important for you to work in a women-only group?
Not necessarily. When I am working in the Netherlands I don't feel an urge to work with women only. However when I was working in India, I suddenly felt that I had to become a feminist. Women are second grade citizen and feel themselves worth less. Yesterday I spoke to a girl that she almost died, because she felt so worried when she delivered her 4th daughter, that she almost had a heart attack; what will the family around her think…again a daughter. If you hear such stories, then I feel the importance and urgency to work with women-only groups.
7. Is your work location specific?
Does your work need (inter)national mobility?
I mostly work in the Netherlands. Most work can be done from here. But if I set up projects with partners abroad I do need to travel. So yes my work requires international mobility.
8. Do you need equipment to execute your job?
Yes, most important is my computer. Of course one can do without it and one can find substitutes, but nowadays everyone is dependent on the computer. I can really feel it these days. If you don't have access to the internet, you don't know what is happening with your direct contacts.
9. How do you invest in equipment?
I buy [second hand] stuff or borrow from friends.
10. Do you personally connect art & technology?
Art & activism?
Yes all the time. My work is related to these various domains. It is challening to connect them together and develop creative concepts. My last project was City Ragas in which people from Amsterdam and Delhi work on a visual story through mobile phones, by sending pictures of their city back and forth on specific themes.
11. Name 3 influences which determine your action radius?
- participatory approach
12. are you part of (international) networks?
Yes, I work closely with Sarai, a new media lab based in new delhi and have set up networks with various organisations in India, such as Pratham (educational organisation), FabLab (a lab in which people can make their own technologies, such as LED lanterns etc.) Comet Media (also an educational organisation). Hole in the Wall (setting up computer kiosks for children in rural areas and slums). Images Asia in Thailand, an organisation which produces documentaries on human rights abuses in south east asia, focusing on Burma. Also we have started some networks in Brazil, such as MetaReciclagem.
Some of these organisations I met at conferences, workshops and through my work. Others I have been an intern with or I have worked with.
13. Do you have experience with alternative formats of education?
Last year I organised a two-day workshop on this topic. New media technologies have a tremendous scope for the less privileged. It gives people the opportunity to learning by doing, instead of only learning by heart.
14. Do you retain ownership of your work once transfered?
Not really, I think the work I make, especially in my field shouldn't be proprietary. People are free to develop and improve it. It should be open for further development. It can only help people. It is also fun to see where your work eventually turns up, maybe in a whole different context than originally.
15. Do you care about ecology and sustainable environments?
What do you do about it?
Yes I do care. I try not to eat meat. I use a bicycle and try to travel with public transportation within Europe. I recycle paper, glass, old clothes I always carry to India to give to poor people. I think about water usage, however this isn't my strongest point. Also I realize that when I live under poorer circumstances I am much more aware and try not to waste anything. It becomes easier to be sustainable.
16. Is there an obstacle which keeps you from pursuing your interests?
Sometimes it is difficult to travel abroad, because of various circumstances. Once in a job, you can't just leave for several months. I would really like to work for long periods with people for whom you develop projects, thus with the end-users. People are really grateful in whatever way you try to help or teach. That's so motivating, it really gives you energy.
17. What do you see yourself doing at the age of 70?
I have no idea, where I will be or what I will be doing. I love to be on the move, my dream is to have a bus which goes from village to village with people with different specialisations, theater, stories, music, animations, movies, programmers, designers, everyone is welcome in this bus. This bus is like a educational circus, which tells stories and teaches different things. But at the age of 70…it would be so nice to be telling about my various life experiences and exchanging stories under a tree in the sun.
18. Describe and/or make a drawing of your workspace.
This will be outside; the street in a city or in a village among people, talking, laughing, exchanging and learning from each other. I enjoy working with people for whom you try to make a change. It gives me energy! Maybe a small office space, everyone can walk in and it becomes a local knowledge center.
Lipika Bansal, Researcher in Education and Technology:
"I am Lipika Bansal. I was born, raised and am currently based in Amsterdam and am of Indian origin. I studied International Communications and Science and Technology Studies, where I looked at the influence of technology on society. My first study focused on ICT in developing countries and my second study looked into technologies such as biometrics or RFID and the acceptance of these privacy-sensitive tools by society.
I work with Waag Society, a media lab, that develops technology for social innovation within the domains of education, culture, health care, sustainability and society. We also organise seminars and workshops. I do background research for these domains and develop small projects mainly related to developing countries.
Working in group is extremely important to be critical about your own work. You learn to be reflective and you get new input from others. It makes you more open-minded.
My work is related to the various domains of art and activism. My last project was City Ragas, where people from Amsterdam and Delhi work on a visual story through mobile phones by sending pictures of their city on specific themes back and forth. In India I work closely with Sarai, a new media lab based in New Delhi, and we are part of the FabLab network.
Last year, I organised a two-day workshop on alternative formats of education. New-media technologies have a tremendous scope for the less privileged. It gives people the opportunity to learn by doing. Therefore it's important to work with open hardware and open software. People are free to develop, improve of customise the project.
I try to reduce my ecological footprint. I don't eat meat, use a bicycle and travel with public transportation within Europe. I recycle paper and glass. I think about water usage, although this isn't my strongest point. I realise that when I live under poorer circumstances I am much more aware and try not to waste anything. It becomes easier to be sustainable.
I love to be on the move. My dream is to have a bus to go from village to village with people involved in theatre, stories, music, animations, movies, programmers, designers, everyone is welcome in this bus. A bus like a educational circus for storytelling and learning different things."