Deepika Ratan, a PhD Research Scholar working under the guidance of Prof Vinod Pavarala at the Department of Communication, University of Hyderabad has been awarded the ‘UCF/IAMCR Urban Communication Research Grant Honorary Mention for 2021’ for her project: “Role of Communication in Production of Space: An ethnographic study of a working class migrant community in Hyderabad, India”

The selection committee includes noted scholars such as Janet Wasko (Chair), University of Oregon, USA Susan Drucker, Hofstra University, USA Gary Gumpert, Urban Communication Foundation, USA Cees Hamelink, Netherlands Nico Carpentier, Charles University, Czech Republic.

Her proposal foregrounds Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space to understand the role of communication in the processes employed by a working class Odiya (people of eastern Indian state, Odisha) migrant community for producing and negotiating space in an urban setting.

The work done by her will contribute to understanding the dynamics between migrant communities and the cities they move to, by highlighting the phenomenological aspect of production and negotiation of spaces that manifest themselves in a range of, sometimes subtle, communicative forms.

By adopting ethnographic approach, this study highlights that community development is the main fulcrum through which the community produces and reproduces space. Among the various aspects of community development, this study focuses on three strands which are communicative in nature and scope. They are i) Cultural performativity, ii) Community narrative and iii) Community communication hotspots.

This study is an on-going doctoral research project which seeks to examine the complicated, yet intertwined, relationship between migration, communication, and the production of space in an urban landscape.

The awards will be formally granted during IAMCR’s 2021 online conference from 11-15 July 2021 hosted in Nairobi #iamcr2021

Funded by the Urban Communication Foundation, the annual $1,750 research grant supports communication and media research that advances our understanding of the growing complexity of the urban environment. It is predicated on the assumption that communication scholars have a valuable contribution to make to understanding the urban landscape.