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About 

 

The Archival and Research Project (ARPO) is a not-for-profit organisation* founded in 2021 to discover and share lesser known aspects of our cultural heritage in accessible and creative ways. 

Based out of Kerala, we engage in digital archiving, multimedia storytelling, research, community engagement and interventions to preserve and promote our pluralistic cultural heritage. Our areas of interest include local histories, art, architecture, culture and folklore.

ARPO is set up as a Society under the Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955 (Reg Number: TVM/TC/830/2021).* 

Our approach

 

Our primary aim is to make lesser discussed cultural knowledge accessible. We do this by identifying subjects and engaging with them through creative cultural and social projects. These are shared on popular media to foster better connections between a wide range of audiences and the subjects of interest.

Beyond documentation, our idea of conservation and promotion looks for ways for reconnection. For those familiar with the cheering cry ‘ARPO’, usually heard at the regatta races of Kerala, it is followed by a resounding ‘IRO’. We could not help but expand this thinking to see if cultural archiving could be extended through active engagement processes like Intervention, Restoration and Outreach. This could mean facilitating creative collaborations for artists, artisans and other cultural practitioners in the creative and financial economy.

Our Values

 

At ARPO we share a collective belief that understanding our culture and heritage will help us create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable future.

  • We work towards filling out a cultural picture by presenting a variety of lesser-discussed topics in tune with our goal to celebrate our pluralistic heritage.

  • Much like the vision for our work, we believe our working environment should be one where everybody is heard and remains open to new ideas.

  • We believe the sustainability of any cultural enterprise lies in the active engagement with it. Through our projects we look for ways to preserve and promote cultural practitioners by facilitating the space and environment for them to grow. 

  • We envision ARPO as a space of cultural agency where creative energies can meet, both traditional and non-conventional, and are given fair compensation for their efforts and thereby better presence in the cultural sphere.

Team

Sruthin

Sruthin Lal

Executive Director

Sruthin Lal is a social entrepreneur, multimedia journalist and storyteller who works on formats such as video, podcast and longform text. Previously, he led the newsroom of Asiaville, covered the business beat for Hindustan Times, co-founded media project Happy Aano, and occasionally wrote articles for The Hindu Frontline Magazine. An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, Sruthin was listed among 51 notable mobile journalists by Journalism.co.uk in 2021. His noted work was the coverage of the migrant labour crisis in Uttar Pradesh during the Covid lockdown in the form of a documentary, which he and his colleague shot on mobile phones by travelling about 700 on bicycles from Delhi to Lucknow. He has a background in Indian Classical music and dance and is deeply passionate about art, history and culture. He was part of the founding team of ARPO. Sruthin is also an alumni of IVLP programme of the US State Department.

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Parvathi AR

Director, Projects and Outreach

A passionate researcher and an art enthusiast, Parvathi  is one of the founders of ARPO. She holds a master's degree in economics from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics and was working as Assistant Professor of Economics at the Government College Munnar. She is now pursuing her PhD in Public Policy from IIT Delhi. She is a Mohiniyattam dancer and also a trained singer. She has hosted cultural events for organisations including ICCR. Books are her companions and she also loves to travel.

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Sidharth A

Project Manager

Sidharth is a passionate development professional and researcher with a post graduate degree in Development Studies. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, his career is decicated to the Social Impact sector where he strives to contribute positive changes to the society. He also harbors a deep fascination for arts, always looking forward to learning and finding inspiration in various forms.In his leisure time, he's a fervent football enthusiast and enjoys exploring new places through his love for travel.

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Amrutha M

Administration Manager

Amrutha is a graduate with a degree in Physics and a deep passion for history. Her professional background is diverse, having held executive roles in various sectors. Amrutha's journey with our organization began as a volunteer at ARPO.  Her dedication and talent led her to transition into a full-time role. While Bangalore was her childhood home, Amrutha's frequent visits to Cheliya, a village in Kozhikode renowned for its Kathakali artists, fostered a lifelong love for traditional performing arts.

Majeesh

Majeesh Karayad

Project Coordinator

Majeesh Karayad is a folk singer and ethnic arts practitioner hailing from North Kozhikode. He is the winner of the prestigious Kerala State Folklore Academy award and has been in the field of folklore for over two decades. Majeesh also holds a Gaana Bhooshanam certificate in Carnatic music from Chembai Memorial Government Music College, Palakkad. He travels extensively across Kerala to explore tribal and folk songs and bring them to light on platforms such as school youth festivals. He also conducts folk performances, workshops, and training programs in schools across the state and leads a music group called Nanthalakkoottam.

Advisory

ARPO is a growing community of researchers, storytellers, artists and creative professionals of different stripes. We are fortunate to also have an advisors who have been generous with their time and wealth of knowledge in their respective fields to support our work.

Swarup BR

Independent Advisor

Swarup has over thirty years of experience in building and promoting brands - especially in the tourism and healthcare sectors. His tourism campaigns for Stark Communications have consistently set benchmarks in the realm of destination marketing and have won dozens of national and international awards. A certified coach and mentor, Swarup has also translated three books from Malayalam to English for Harper Collins.

Manu S Pillai

Independent Advisor

Manu is an acclaimed Indian historian and author known for his works on the Travancore monarchy and the history of Princely India. His books have been widely praised and have earned him several awards, such as the 2016 Tata Prize for best first work of non-fiction and the 2017 Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar. In addition to his writing career, Manu has held various positions, including serving as the Chief of Staff to Indian MP Dr. Shashi Tharoor and working with the BBC on their Incarnations History series.

Manju Sara Rajan

Independent Advisor

Manju Sara Rajan is a columnist, editor and arts manager. She is presently a Senior Advisor at Asian Paints and the Editor-in-chief of beautifulhomes.com, India’s largest design and décor content platform by Asian Paints. She is also a founding member of the Bengaluru-based KAASH Foundation, which creates and showcases art and contemporary design products from within India’s vast crafts heritage. She is the former CEO of the Kochi Biennale Foundation, where she oversaw the management of Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016. She was the founding editor of the Indian edition of Architectural Digest, which set new benchmarks for the coverage of design in India by featuring spaces that had never been open to the public and visualizing a design style that is uniquely Indian and contemporary. MSR began her career in 2002 as a reporter in Time newsmagazine’s Asia bureau in Hong Kong, before moving to India and other media publications like Indian Express, Mint Lounge, and Open magazine. Almost two decades of experience in media and arts management has provided a great deal of insight into the creative and commercial parts of the fields of design, art and media.

Contact us

 

If you like our work and would like to get in touch with us, write to us at arpo.india@gmail.com, or director@arpo.in.

 

You can also find us on social media.

  • Instagram
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  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube
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