The city of glassmakers

Help up unveiling the Untold stories of Firozabad's craftsmen !

Project visual The city of glassmakers
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Out of €2,200
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The city of glassmakers

 We are Arnaud Kaba, anthropologist, and Shankare Gowda, Sociologist, we ask for your help to carry out our visual anthropology project on glass workers in Firozabad, in North India  Firozabad's bracelets are worn by almost all Indian women, and their lamps and handicrafts are massively exported to Europe. Yet we know very little about the hands that make them, sometimes with pride and virtuosity, often with pain.

Your financial assistance will be invaluable and will contribute to the realization of anthropological short film on glass workers in Firozabad. Working with Pascal Bernhardt, documentary filmmaker, cameraman and anthropologist by training, will help us to perfect a visual method of technography and perform a narration of the subjectivities of glass workers described in everyday life situations. The visual aspect is only one component of a broader research carried out since September on the glass cultures of Firozabad, stretched between valorization of the skills and confrontation with exploitation. We will give an account of this ambivalence, between fascination and suffering, which binds glass workers to the shiny material that nourishes and corrodes them. We will dive into the lives of the actors and start from their relationship to the material, to the techniques, to explore the way in which their subjectivities are shaped by the work of glass.





The team


Arnaud Kaba 

Post-doctoral fellow at ICAS: MP, Delhi and at the Max-Weber Kolleg, Erfurt.


After a  PhD at the EHESS on metallurgical workers in Bhopal and their confrontation with uncertainty, Arnaud Kaba is carrying out a new cycle of research on the glass cluster of Firozabad. He is performing an ethnography onf the worker's collective subjectivities thanks to an anthropology of techniques, an anthropology of the glass worker's memories based on the collection of life narrative and on a participating observation of the everyday life of labour.


Shankare Gowda

Independant sociologist


After a JNU PhD Shakare Gowda, specializes in Urban sociology and in direct support to the field within research teams. He notably worked with Véronique Dupont (IRD) on the slum of Katarpur (Delhi), and co-published numerous articles with her, as well as with Rémi de Bercegol (CNRS), on the medium-sized cities of Uttar Pradesh, on water distribution networks in Delhi and finally on plastic recyclers. He has co-directed People of the waste, a documentary on Delhi waste workers. He is now co-directing this documentary on Firozabad.


Link to the People of Waste documentary:



Pascal Bernhardt

Visual anthropologist and documentary maker

Pascal Bernhardt has worked for the last 3 years as a cameraman, assistant director and research assistant on the ERC ARTIVISM project in the context of which he experimented and refined on different fields of this research methods. He therefore lived with actors whom he followed, camera at hand, in their processes of exchanges, elaboration and creation of ideas, of their technical realization (construction of chariots, masks ...) until the cathartic phases of the carnivalesque performativity. His techniques consists in the creation of an audiovisual language descriptive of gestures, bodies, thoughts and subjectivities expressed in free flow and in situation




Allocation of funds

Your financial assistance will be invaluable in the making of this 15-minute film. Very concretely, the money will be used to defray our documentary colleague Pascal Bernhardt, that is to say to pay his ticket, his visa, a wage for his help and our hotel and food expenses on the spot. Pascal will help us to perfect the method visual of technography already undertaken. The technique is seen and repeated before being spoken, which is why this documentary is a central part of our work. We will therefore follow 7 actors in their daily lives and film them in the full process of elaboration and shaping of matter and objects. We will film them when they speak about their relationship to work. Portraits, factory sounds and images of work, will overlap to reconstruct the thread of global and local value chains that link around this industrial basin


This ambitious project is clearly achievable thanks to our expertise and our knowledge of a field which is also the subject of editorial publications. The film will be broadcasted in Firozabad, to provide an outcome to the actors who made it possible, but also at the Max Weber Kolleg in Erfurt and then at various events in France, Delhi and Germany. We will air it in particular at the workshop: “LES MARGES”, organized by LABEX DYNAMITE at the Condorcet campus this June. A screening / launch party will also take place in Paris in June.



AR Milan-Delhi: 600 euros

Visa fees: 80 euros

Fees for 7 days of shooting: 700 euros

Hotel and food for three people: 30 euros * 7 * 3 = 630 euros

Transport Delhi-Firozabad AR: 26 euros * 3 = 78

Taxi costs to go to the artisan cities connected to Firozabad: 20 euros * 2 days = 40 euros

Total: € 2,128

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