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CACIM is an experimental initiative towards cultivating and nurturing a culture of critical reflexivity and action in individual and public work. We aim to primarily do this by building and maintaining real and virtual spaces for fundamental research and critical reflection, exploration, action, and creation in the field of ‘movement’. We understand movement, taken in its generic sense, as being fundamental to culture, evolution, and development. Initially focussing on social and political movement, over time we hope to look at motion / movement and energy / power as a fundamental aspect of all life process – and which is consequently richly manifested and explored in so many fields of human endeavour; and to learn across fields and traditions. We believe that is not an accident that the term ‘movement’ occurs in so many fields; there is meaning in this coincidence and our hunch is that culturally sensitive explorations of this coincidence, in time and in space, can offer us new insights into movement, in all these fields - and perhaps also contamination across them.
Organisationally, CACIM is an informal association between individuals and organisations located in different parts of India and the world. We see the world as our stage. CACIM has grown out of Critical Action (CA), an experiment since about 2001 in informal, voluntary association between individuals based in different parts of India and other countries who are engaged with movement in different ways. This experiment focussed on the critical study of, reflection and exchange on, and engagement in emerging social and political movement, and in particular terms, perhaps especially through critical involvement and engagement with the World Social Forum.
In a longer frame, CACIM has also grown out of an earlier experiment and initiative named Unnayan, a civil organisation based in Kolkata, India, formed in the mid-late 70s and that worked through the 80s and 90s, with which several members of CACIM and CA have been and remain associated. ‘Unnayan’ is a Bengali word meaning ‘development’ in the sense of unfolding and self-realisation (and not just ‘progress’).
Through its work, CACIM now extensively networks with individuals and organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Europe. So, although initiated in India CACIM is insistently transnational and interdisciplinary in vision, culture, and scope.
We are therefore now working to encourage exchange and learning across disciplines and across cultures and to support and encourage all those involved in different ways with 'movement' - activists, researchers and teachers, professionals, artists performers and composers, and critics commentators and thinkers, both the more mature and young, and both from the civil and incivil worlds. Both as individuals and as organisations, and in networks. Starting work in late 2005 – but based on some five years of preparatory discussion -, our present focus is on exploring cultures of politics in movement, the exploration of open space as a political-cultural concept, and by exploring this both through discussions and actions, the exploration of cyberspace as open space.
As we understand it, the nature of CACIM as a network and platform will unfold through the very act of its creation and of its progressive construction. It will fulfil its functions even as it is built.
CACIM networks at different levels in different modes, using both real and virtual spaces. It calls meetings, organises seminars and conferences, maintains this and another webspace, runs weblists, and sends out newsbulletins. In order to progressively build up a community of concern it has also started since 2005 to convene real-space colloquia, spread over two or more days, for small groups of people already associated with CACIM and some whom we additionally invite, to share and to critically engage with each others’ ideas and concerns.
For the moment, the CACIM Colloquia are in India; we look forward however, to such colloquia also taking shape and place in other parts of the world.