ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

Engaging with conflict in the diaspora: artistic responses to the farmers protests in the UK and beyond


Clini Clelia - Loughborough University London, Institute of Media and Creative Industries, London, United Kingdom


30- Creative and social engagement with conflict: a perspective from the South Asian Diaspora


Between 2020 and 2021 India saw one of the biggest mobilisations in the history of the country, as thousands of farmers from Punjab and Haryana staged a year-long protest against a series of agricultural reforms passed by the government. The confrontation between farmers and the Indian government took place not only on the ground, but also at the level of communication, with farmers and their supporters spreading their information mostly through social media channels to counter hostile coverage and gain support in India and abroad. Indeed, protesters and protesters’ supporters used social media platforms, both in India and in the diaspora. to offer insights into the movement, but to also share “paintings, poems, songs” inspired by the process (Deol 2022, 226). This paper will discuss precisely the diasporic artistic response to the protest. In particular, it will discuss how the events in Delhi prompted reflections on the relationship between India and its diaspora and on the meaning of Punjabi and/or Sikh identities abroad.