Sound & Picture ARchives for Research On Women

Linked with Flavia Agnes – India.


  • A trust set up in 1988 [Register Number E-11958] in Maharashtra to build a national archives for women with print, oral history and pictorial material.
  • A live archives reaching out to schools, colleges, women’s groups and other organisations.
  • An active agent of conscientisation.
  • A forum for discussions.
  • An interactive space.
  • A daring flight into unexplored areas of experience and expression.
  • A commitment.

annual reports;
address: Sparrow, B – 32, Jeet Nagar, J. P. Road, Versova, Mumbai – 400 061, India;

About /Profile: The idea of setting up SPARROW took root in 1988. Before that, those who are now the trustees of SPARROW had met several times and discussed the possibilities of setting up a Women’s Archives with a difference.

The need for such a specialised archives has emerged from their own work in Women’s Studies. The idea was not to set up a Women’s Archives as just a collection centre but to create an archives which would be more vibrant and more communicative.

The Women’s Archives was conceived as an organisation which would bring people together; an archive which would be an agent of conscientisation …

… In 1994, Mumbai was still awakening from the shock of the communal riots that had taken place after the Babri Masjid demolition. SPARROW organised a three-day oral history and visual summer workshop with college students. The funds for this came partly from the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, Dhorabji Tata Trust and Vikas Adhyayan Kendra. Just when we thought we were a little secure to launch our archival work, SPARROW got thrown out and ended up in a garage for nearly two years with work again shifting to Lakshmi’s residence.

Once again the trips to the Municipal Corporation began in earnest. At one point it almost seemed that we would be alloted a couple of rooms in a Municipal School that had a new building. Locating that school in an area where big buildings are coming up and roads were yet to be done, was an adventure by itself. Once the school was located we realised that it was a new structure with no water or electricity, surrounded by overgrown thorn bushes. S.N.D.T. University was approached and after much hope the University refused to give space. A private college with a supportive Principal again raised our hopes, which were shattered by the trustees of the college. In 1996, Rohini Banaji, a writer, scholar and an activist, allowed us to use her small flat at Yari Road, Versova. A college student came and did part-time work and we had an enthusiastic woman as a peon. Individual donations still came in and to secure more donations, SPARROW printed a brochure with a donation form. Donations began to trickle in mainly from friends and organisations that believed in our work … (full long text).

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