ProjectOnHerOwn Story booths in Cubbon Park

When we started ProjectOnHerOwn, our intention was to reach as many people as possible. We knew we couldn’t just do online events. We needed offline (IRL) events. We had multiple options but we choose Cubbon Park because it was convenient, easy to get permission1 and people are friendly and approachable. That last point is important as most of us2 didn’t have any experience in doing such a public event.

It also seemed fun to have phone booths in a park, that will tell you stories. I don’t remember anyone else doing it and so, I was expecting people to find it interesting.

The default setup of phone

The default setup of phone

We used a window prop from KathaSiyah!. I attached a phone to it. It’s a GSM phone that looks like landline phone. Its a convenient phone with great battery life and speaker phone. The prop, poster, landline phone attracted the walkers but not many approached us.

As far as I remember our first women caller

As far as I remember our first women caller

Until we approached them. Initially we were hesitant to ask too. I think none of us had any experience in how to approach people in public space. But then we started asking people “Would you like to listen to a story”. Once asked, most were more than happy to try it out. Some were generous to leave stories on the phone. Soon we were getting listeners.

And then their friends arrived

And then their friends arrived

Men were interested too

Men were interested too

All kinds of people started approaching us. Men, women, young and old. Sometime we used our own mobile phones to connect to the line so more people could listen.

We had great time with locals of the park :)

We had great time with locals of the park :)

In the second and third week we also shifted to a different place. Where on a Sunday more people gather. This helped us to reach to more people. By this time we were also experts in approaching strangers. We knew what to say and what to ask. This helped us. This gathered more people which in turn got us more people.

Women calling
Man calling

Sometimes we took phones to listeners.

Sometimes we took phones to listeners.

In some cases we took the phone to people. In other cases it involved long conversations about the project, the purpose of it and future of it etc In every case people were pleasant and friendly.

It involved approaching people and explaining them

It involved approaching people and explaining them

Some conversations were long and interesting

Some conversations were long and interesting

In sometime things started to happen, Quite a few people gathered to listen to the stories. It looked like we were having a party. By fourth event we were getting hundreds of calls a day. And most listeners took their time to listen to the whole story and respond.

Things started to happen. People started to gather.

Things started to happen. People started to gather.

After a while it felt like we were having a party

After a while it felt like we were having a party

All in all, it was a great experiment, worked quite well for the project. And I am waiting to take another project to Cubbon park or do more rounds of ProjectOnHerOwn.

  1. Just give a written letter stateting the purpose of the event to Cubbon park police station. Mention that its open to all and free. They usually approve and give you a attested letter back
  2. Except one but most of us didn’t

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