What’s Lit?: Changes in the Literary and Cultural Scene   

Edited by: Sharayu Shejale


We interviewed the recently elected CulSecs – Abhinav Kankane and Shashwath Bacha – about their plans for the cultural scene during their tenure. And boy, do they have big plans. Here’s a rundown of the major changes – some implemented, some still in the works: 


What’s Been Done?

Reorganisation of Sangam Clubs
In order to weed out existing inefficiencies, the organisational infrastructure of Sangam clubs has been restructured. While all 16 clubs will maintain their individual identity, certain steps such as cutting down the excess number of convenors have been taken. So while some clubs retain two convenors, others have just one. Another significant measure was the “organisational mergers” of some clubs since they share similar portfolios to a certain extent: Oratory-Comedy, Media-Design-Film Appreciation, Quiz-Word Games and  Lifestyle-Fine Arts. This step which was in planning since last April was implemented this semester. The proof that Spotlight, Meraki and Informals (3 different verticals) functioned well, even better, under the same set of Conveners during the last Saarang stands testimony to such measures.

Introduction of Contingent Heads, Professional Coaches, and Student Cultural Mentors  
In order to improve IITM’s performance in the Inter-IIT Cultural Fest and other college fests, several new steps have been taken. Firstly, a new post of an overall Contingent Head was created. Under this head, each club contingent will have a captain who is tasked with the responsibility of increasing the exposure of the team to different platforms and institutions to showcase their talents and improve upon their skills. This involves increasing the facilities available to the team members and organising winter camps for special training. 

Secondly, professional coaches are to be called in to train students participating in various college fests, especially in the Inter-IITs. The current aim is to get the coach to train teams on a weekly basis.
Thirdly, a Cultural Mentorship Programme is to be rolled out wherein each Sangam Coordinator will also be entrusted with the role of Sangam mentor. The idea is to take the culturals to the freshies rather than waiting for the freshies to take the initiative. Each coordinator would be responsible for around eight mentees and would ensure each student has all the help and guidance they need.

Revamping Sangam Publicity
Two publicity coordinators have been allocated to each club, to improve the outreach and visibility of Sangam events. The motive of this initiative is to get the enthusiasm up for events, which would eventually lead to an increase in participation as well. 


What’s In The Works?

Collaborations with Professional Groups

It has been proposed to encourage collaboration between professional groups and Sangam clubs in order to get students more professional experience in the field in question. The viability of such an attempt to scale up the collaborations with professionals groups can be based upon the successful working of existing collaborations of Music club with Unwind Centre and that of Drama club with Creashakti. Some groups contacted are Quizzing Federation of India for Quiz Club, Madras Scrabble Association for Word Games Club, Warhorse for Oratory Club, and The Mockingbirds for Writing Club. 

Awards for Litsoc Events 

Up until now, LitSoc winners were not given awards, like those given to Schroeter winners. This year onwards, to garner more participation and enthusiasm about LitSoc events, it has been proposed to introduce the awarding of cash prizes, trophies or medals.  Furthermore, an MVP (Most Valuable Player) amongst all the hostels might also be selected and awarded.


What Can We Look Forward To?

Introduction of a Finance Portal for Easy Transactions and Reimbursements

There are talks of the introduction of an e-portal for all financial needs of Sangam clubs. This one is still in initial stages, but when implemented, will smoothen out the many bottle-neck issues such as late or non-reimbursement for Sangam events, and so on. 

Collaboration with Regional Sabhas and Samitis
In an attempt to promote vernacular cultural activities in the institute, Sangam will collaborate with Sabhas and Samitis in the institute to organise performances and other cultural events. This collaboration would be both logistical, as well as financial, with a separate budget exclusively for collaborative projects. 

Recreational Books in the Central Library
Currently, the few fictional books available in the Central Library are limited to children’s books and are not lent out. Addition of more recreational books and the creation of a Book Club has been proposed to enhance the reading culture in the institute.

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