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S P R I N G  2 0 1 9

Exploring Subjectivity: Mind, Body, Action

Participating in Oceanvale took me to a whole new level. It was as though a parallel University, a sort of an oasis, had suddenly sprung up. I loved reading the varied texts our bright, young scholars had picked up for their presentations, and engaging in lively discussions with them. But my takeaway from this workshop on “Subjectivity” was the soft-spoken Professor Sanil’s eye-opener: “We don’t coincide with even ourselves.”

Alka Rakesh, Associate Professor, Kirori Mal College

I, as an Oceanvale Scholar, feel blessed and privileged to be a part of a programme that is powered by such genuine intentions and efforts. Today’s [13 March / inaugural] session was certainly enough to make us realize that these four days at KMC shall stand out as one of the best experiences of our lives. All thanks to [the Oceanvale committee] and to the wonderful mentors you’ve brought together for us under the prestigious banner.

Ananta Ahuja, MA English, SGTB Khalsa College

I write this with utmost sincerity and a profound feeling of gratitude towards the English Department of Kirori Mal College that facilitated for me not just THE BEST learning experience I have had in the last few years in the form of ‘Oceanvale Workshop’, but also opened its arms so wide that it was enough to make me feel more at “home” in just a week, than I have ever felt in a year at the Arts faculty. This workshop wasn’t just about getting to meet the best scholars of the field or about interacting with them regarding our research, it was also about the shared pieces of naan, the smiles in the corridors, serious discussions over frivolous things, exchanging numbers and building friendships (that last to this day), the joy in our laughter, and the warmth everywhere!

Added to this, the food at KMC was the best I have had at any conference/workshop. Kirori Mal College should pat itself on the back for hosting one of the best and most constructive academic workshops that are open to us.

Iqra Raza, MA English, St. Stephen’s College

Thank you for the wonderful experience. This edition of Oceanvale, I feel, was even more engaging and eye opening than the previous one. The peer review session genuinely helped and it led to more or less everyone reading all the papers and thus we had several very engaging discussions. As for my paper I received very unique ideas from my peers as well as the mentors which have given me new ways to approach the topic. Moreover, I’m particularly thankful to Oceanvale for the mentors who were invited because not only was it amazing listening to them but they were very active and engaged in the whole revision process which I truly appreciate. I don’t know whether I will have the opportunity to be a part of the future Oceanvale editions or not but I sincerely hope I get to since it truly helps me develop and grow as a student. It makes me feel like I’m indeed a Master’s student and being productive.

Poulami Nag, MA English, Miranda House

This workshop was a treat. Thank you for bringing in the wonder that Professor Sanil is. Even outside of the magnificence that his mind and his incredibly lucid ideas are, there was so much that was so rewarding. The students have been a huge change from my perennially disinterested Honours III. For the first time in years, I actually enjoyed going in to work and getting back exhausted and happy.

Saloni Sharma, Assistant Professor, Kirori Mal College

The first day [13 March] of the workshop has been excellent. The idea to formulate the workshop theme, “Exploring Subjectivity,” and to approach it from three different lenses in the introductory sessions was extremely enlightening…

The opening day of the Spring edition has already surpassed the high expectations I had after the Autumn sessions. I must thank [the Oceanvale committee] once again for assembling resource persons who can invite us to think of the workshop theme beyond our solipsistic methodological and theoretical concerns.

Siddhant Datta, MA English, St. Stephen’s College

Throughout the workshop, there was an atmosphere of tremendous focus and energy, which also retained a special air of lightness, cheerfulness and warmth. This is indeed rare and valuable achievement, and the credit for this goes entirely to [the Oceanvale] team, … for conceiving the workshop and carrying it out with such care and thoughtfulness.

Udaya Kumar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Though I enjoy teaching at IIT, I do miss interacting with students and scholars committed to humanities. The long and sustained interactions at Oceanvale made the interlocutors present to each other in a challenging and inspiring manner. During the course of the workshop, I noticed that we gained a free relationship with the topic and the concepts. This made our interactions serious and intense. The format you have devised offers a genuine alternative to the classroom and the seminar hall. The quantity and quality of the work put in by you and your colleagues is frightening!

V. Sanil, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
From (anonymous) participant response sheets:

BA

  • Oceanvale gives you and your thoughts so much consideration, that you wish to go back and have that experience again and again.
  • Two sentences or this space given to us would not do justice to the love and warmth we get here as undergraduate students. This is an experience which will be central to my journey of undergraduate studies at Delhi University. And I won’t be exaggerating if I say that Oceanvale has become a motivation for me to prepare for my DU entrances so that I can come here again as a postgraduate student.
  • There was little interaction with PG students. Lunch and tea breaks are a good time to meet PG students but they make their groups and stand in groups of smart people, it’s a little intimidating to approach.
  • The UG and the PG sessions can be done consecutively instead of simultaneously… so that different peer groups can interact better.
  • The interaction between the undergrad and postgrad students was quite low.
  • A wholesome experience, safe place to learn and have fun at the same time.
  • The best of the Oceanvale workshop was the personalised experience—from the feedback to the warmth of interaction with KMC staff and students.
  • The duration to work on the second draft could be extended.
  • I feel the timings of the presentations could have been regulated better. Some students in the UG category received over fifty minutes, while others had to accommodate shorter durations due to the same.
  • Time could be better regulated per participant during the presentations.
  • In addition to a revision period before the presentations, the peer review process needs to be introduced to the participants.
  • The presentation and the peer review process felt flat due to the lack of time for revision of our papers.
  • The quality and extent of ideas received have really opened up the horizons of my scholarship and thought. Thank you so much.
  • The workshops with the mentors were incredibly helpful and stimulating, especially the space and time provided for the same. I believe the informal, conversational nature of these workshops made them especially amazing, since ideas could flow freely, unhindered, in an easy environment.
  • The workshop boosted my confidence and helped to hone my critical thinking abilities.
  • My sessions with the facilitators and the mentors were far and beyond the most amazing part of the entire workshop. I have never received such earnest, intelligent and reflective feedback upon my work.
  • The intensity and academic rigour were outstanding, as were the review sessions.
  • The workshop was too short. I think apart from the central four days, a single day workshop can be scheduled later in the semester to check upon our revised work and refine it further.
  • I don’t think there is a problem in having the workshop on four days consecutively. There is more coherence in structure and no pressure to immediately revise our paper.
  • [It would be great] if we could get some chance to discuss our paper with all the mentors.
  • The workshop was fun and not at all severe as I had expected. The discussions and interactions were interesting and eye-opening.
  • The workshop was a blast as both a learning and social experience.
  • The best part of the Oceanvale workshop was the mentors, the KMC faculty, the organisation, the food, Sashanka Sir’s motivational emails.
  • I made some great friends, but I didn’t get enough time to interact with everyone.
  • Special thanks to the KMC volunteers for taking care of our every need.
  • Great website!
  • The website was easily accessible—whether the readings or papers of participants.
  • Perhaps a social media presence on Facebook could help [to circulate information about the workshop].
  • A social media presence might help with the circulation [of information about the workshop] a lot.
  • Chai could be better—sweeter and kadak.
  • Less spicy food please 🙂
  • Great food!

MA

  • The orientation could probably include a lecture on academic writing and research methodology.
  • If the revised paper could be put up on the website before the presentations actually take place, it would be more beneficial in receiving response on our evolved thoughts and ideas.
  • The involvement and engagement of my peers with my presentation during the feedback session will remain an abiding memory.
  • The peer review session could have been more informal.
  • The best of the Oceanvale workshop was the peer review sessions, the food, the guidance from mentors, new friends.
  • The peer interaction was valuable. It is important to be acquainted with the high standard your friends produce.
  • I wish the facilitators were available to us longer.
  • There is no scope for interaction with the mentors again, except over email.
  • Too little time. I wish the workshop spanned a couple more days.
  • It would be great if everything, if possible, was extended time-wise because this is a great opportunity, but too short, sadly.
  • It would have been better to have sessions with all three mentors, and more time for revision.
  • The Oceanvale workshop makes available the best team of mentors one could think of. Thank you.
  • I like how Oceanvale complicates the clarity one may have about one’s chosen topic, and provides an opportunity to think differently.
  • No other platform or workshop offers the opportunity to students to learn about academic writing and exploring all the varied ideas like Oceanvale does, so I would definitely like to come back again to explore more.
  • The workshop propels the scholars to critically ‘think’ which does not happen very much in the university system.
  • The first workshop [with KMC mentors] was excellent. I wish the subsequent workshops were as focused as the first in terms of the writing process. Later sessions were more thematic…
  • I have to really appreciate the commitment of the [invited] mentors and the home [KMC] professors. The level of dedication and time the professors have taken to review and criticize (especially in the first workshop [with KMC mentors]) our writing process really moved me, especially since this commitment is not even thought of at the Masters level at DU, which is terribly disheartening and, frankly, depressing. This opportunity to receive feedback and have peer interaction has been a fruitful experience and I must thank everyone at KMC for taking time to do this.
  • The workshop could have been better in terms of [our (i.e. MA students)] engagement with undergrad kids.
  • Interaction between undergraduate and postgraduate students [could have been structured better], including a chance for both categories of students to attend all presentations.
  • Could we make a Google group once the Spring group finishes its session? Google group only, nothing on social media please, …at least I am not on it.
  • A Facebook / Instagram page could be set up to ensure that word [about the workshop] reaches as many people as it can.
  • The website is very useful, just the way it is.
  • The website is perfect.
  • Bring the gulab jamuns back please!
  • Gulab jamun > jalebi

A U T U M N  2 0 1 8

The Idea of the Text

September has been a month of joyfully flitting in and out of KMC, and this [the workshop] week especially has been something I will remember for a long time. Thank you – for the workshop, for the many layers of feedback, and for the never-ending warmth.

Anagha Gopal, MA English, St. Stephen’s College

[To the Oceanvale Committee at KMC], thank you, for taking the pains to put together such a wonderful workshop. My contribution was very small, in comparison to the vast scope of the project as a whole. I firmly believe that the intricate structure of the workshop, conceived by you, generated a certain quality of engagement from all the participants and I only played the role assigned to me within the overall Oceanvale scheme. I do hope that this inaugural event will be succeeded by other editions of Oceanvale and I wish you every success for the future.

N.A. Jacob, Assistant Professor, Ramjas College

I am not exaggerating at all when I say I have felt more at home in KMC within the short period of a week than I have felt through the year in the Arts Faculty. Anshul, Anagha and I even decided to somehow apply to KMC again once we were done with our Masters.

Poulami Nag, MA English, Miranda House

A week of close literary engagement with a bunch of enthusiastic young minds. Excruciating, draining and deeply rewarding. [The Oceanvale Committee] at KM College, Delhi University, may have initiated something with far-reaching consequences. Silently.

…I did not indulge in hyperbole when I said that the last [workshop] week has been a defining moment in my past eleven years of being in DU.

Prasanta Chakravarty, Associate Professor, Delhi University

I still haven’t come to terms with the fantastic finale we had today [29 September 2018]. I have thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and cannot wait to work on my paper in tune with the feedback. Oceanvale was a revelation not just for the expert workshops that were held with the panellists, but also for the sessions we had with the KMC faculty.

Richa Das, BA (Honours) English, Indraprastha College for Women

I enjoyed the workshop very much, but even more my heart-warming contact with the kind of academic teamwork and camaraderie, extending across students, teachers and even the Principal, that gets rarer with each passing year…. Let me again congratulate each of you individually, but still more, all of you collectively – what a blessing it is when you have a team of colleagues who sync so well and work so seamlessly together.

Sukanta Chaudhuri, Professor Emeritus, Jadavpur University
From (anonymous) participant response sheets:

BA

  • The application process was satisfactory but letters of recommendation could have been avoided. It can get quite difficult to obtain them for more than one reasons.
  • If possible, the requirement of recommendation letters could be minimized.
  • I wish all the participants had introduced themselves and their projects at the Orientation so that we would have known each other better from the very start.
  • This was an experience unlike any other. I came to find a world that I was hoping was there, and I found people who were just as crazy about literature as me. Hope to come back again.
  • The mentors, the workshop theme and my learning were the best part of the workshop for me.
  • The panel was very homogeneous. It could have been more helpful had there been a young face in the panel. Preferably, a woman.
  • Session with all the mentors would have been great. The panel was homogeneous, I wish there was more representation from different literary discourses.
  • The quality of the panel was the best aspect of the workshop for me.
  • The best of this workshop is probably the wonderful teachers that I met here.
  • The best part of the workshop would be the renowned panellists with whom we could have one to one interaction.
  • The quality of the papers and the invaluable inputs received from the experts were the highlights of the workshop for me.
  • I was really surprised to notice how greatly my paper evolved during the workshop because of the ideas I received from other scholars’ papers.
  • The rigorous workshop enabled me to challenge my boundaries.
  • Being an undergrad, it is quite difficult to chart one’s way through academia and the genre of research writing; the workshop helped and taught me a lot in that sense. Having been able to know so much as an amateur academic was a joy.
  • The workshop was a very warm, engaging, sincere [experience], and academically superior to several discussion forum[s] I have encountered so far.
  • This workshop has been a stimulating and an uplifting experience. The extent of my imagination has been stretched, and the scope of my abilities has been enlarged. The peers have been a friendly circle.
  • The workshop is an excellent platform for people who wish to learn more about writing. If possible, I would like to participate again.
  • I made some friends and could be called a ‘scholar’ for the first time. It felt like you people gave us a certain respect, which is lacking for us otherwise by the virtue of being students. Thank you for providing us this space and status.
  • The peer interaction and the quality of engagement provided by the panel make me want to return to the workshop again and again.
  • An introductory session for peer interaction would have made the presentations more interactive and informative.
  • The groups did not see themselves as one. Everyone was interested in their individual papers and presentations. Thematic commonalities took a backseat.
  • The [six-day] workshop was too short. It would have been great if it could have gone on for more days.
  • Would have been better if the workshop was longer and more comprehensive.
  • We could have gotten more time to work on the paper and the word limit could have been higher.
  • It was too short a time and would have been great if it could have gone on for more days.
  • The website is wonderful.
    The website was very well designed and it was very useful.
  • I was really happy with the reception and hospitality of the KMC students and teachers. The food was something that I shall really miss. The workshop was a great learning experience for me.
  • One of the best aspects of the workshop was the food. But why was there no chicken? I loved the elaborate and friendly emails [from oceanvale.kmc@gmail.com], but why no chicken? It was excellent to engage with professors who gave lovely feedback. But there was no chicken. Eccentric professors.… P.S. WHY NO CHICKEN?
  • The bright faces at lunch and the passion with which people talked about their projects will be my most abiding memory of the workshop.
  • My abiding memory of the workshop will be the chhola-bhatura and the great insights I got into the paper I was working on.
  • My abiding memory of the workshop would be walking out of the Academic Auditorium thinking the food is going to suck as usual, but there it was: butter naan and gulab jamuns lit up my world. Also, Rusty (the dog) is too adorable to be true. Take good care of him.
  • Delicious, delicious food. Like everything, even the experience of the food was very performative… for the welcoming and friendly attitude [it] displayed towards us.

MA

  • It will be really helpful if the letter of recommendation is reduced to one from two.
  • Submitting the application was a bit of an issue for MA Previous students on account of being allotted new colleges, the difficulties with regard to letters of recommendation.
  • The orientation was very helpful and provided a firm foothold on what was expected.
  • I am already looking forward to the next session. I have learnt so much through this workshop that I am asking my friends to apply for the next session of Oceanvale. The workshop has provided a definite direction to my research.
  • The idea of organising the workshop into different sessions of discussion, revision and presentation was an enriching one.
  • I want to express my thanks to the Oceanvale Committee for organising such an enriching workshop. Oceanvale will always be an integral part of the research I am planning for my future. It made me understand the importance of revision in any research work.
  • I had a great time with everyone: the scholars, KMC teachers, the panel, the people at the mess, at the tea table. The amicable environment was perfect for discussions.
  • The layered and informed feedback from KMC faculty and the panel was superb. Also the tea was quite lovely!
  • I would wish to participate again for all that the workshop has to offer: intensive individual/group sessions with experts, scholar-oriented sessions, and of course an impetus to research at UG and PG levels.
  • Individual sessions meant for each and every scholar made for a very personalised feedback. Perfectly organised workshop. The best part: working in a time abiding framework!
  • The Oceanvale workshop provided me a space for peer interaction and review which is not otherwise available to MA students at the Department.
  • The workshop challenges us to write, an opportunity sadly missing at the MA level at DU.
  • The informality and the informativity of the sessions with the professors was a refreshing combination. I truly enjoyed interacting with my colleagues in between and during the sessions.
  • The different ways in which the three facilitators approached our papers was very useful.
  • There was too little time for revision before presentations. While the different sessions of the workshop did provide much clarity with respect to the direction I want my paper to take, I did not have the time to incorporate this clarity into my presentation.
  • The Oceanvale Workshop provided to me a space for peer interaction and review which is not otherwise available to Master’s students at the Department.
  • It has been an excellent learning experience and the theme of the workshop was particularly unique. For someone who wishes to stay in academics, workshops like these are very necessary.
  • Excellent website!
  • Please have it [the workshop] again next year.