Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women


  • 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.

Archives (Oral History Recordings, Media Watch, Video Documentation, Photographic Project, Multi-Lingual Collections);
Annual Reports;

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 …

… Several important photographic and other collections were done in the first four years with the help of donations from friends and supporters of SPARROW. Along with these activities, there was also the work of sending letters to various funding agencies requesting financial support. Almost all the funding agencies responded with enthusiasm and wished us the best of luck in our ventures, but felt that what we had planned did not quite fall within their funding design. Third World countries were supposed to worry about slums, environment, legal aid for women, health care, rural development and so on. Setting up a Women’s Archives did not figure anywhere in anybody’s plans either in India or abroad. Many government officials were visited. One of them wanted to know what oral history was and when he was told what exactly it was, he exclaimed, “You mean you want to call chit-chat of women, history?” … (full long text).

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