There’s a storyteller in all of us, waiting for the opportune moment to unveil himself. This is a philosophy I personally believe in, when I walk down the roads and talk to the most unassuming people, and am more often than not appalled by the stories that they can share. To be true, I’ve stopped doing this for many different reasons, but majorly because I grew up and with age comes the fear of judgement. Yet there were people still out there, who just wanted just someone to hear their stories. They didn’t care about the genres or the haiku rules. They just had to just talk about practically anything and everything under the sun. It wasn’t until recently that I came across a wonderful new platform which practically adopted this concept of community storytelling into a comprehensive web space. The platform in question – InkscapeCo. I came to know about the wonderful things being written upon and contributed to the platform through some friends of mine, and as was the most obvious thing to satiate my curiosity, I got talking to the founding member of the platform Ms.Drishti Nagda. She had the most wonderful things to share with Voxspace, the excerpts of which come below…
First things first, what is InkscapeCo all about. The name, the inception and the soul of it. And what prompted you to perhaps start a Portal which only catered to hosting Stories from around the world?
InkscapeCo is simply a platform to bring together people who find it necessary to express using artform including but not restricted to writing, oration, photography, etc.. It is a micro-community where they can meet and grow together. InkscapeCo is foremost this community and the website is just a part of it which serves as a display frame that showcases the talent if this community. InkscapeCo, referring to the community, was started with the basic idea to showcase the “amateur” talent and share their ideas in different writing styles. It has grown further to include slam poetry, storytelling and community interaction platform through its offline events.
InkscapeCo is still in its early days, in terms of the participants and the story archives, although it does hold immense promise. Where do you think you want to drive the website to in the near future?
To be honest, I didn’t plan. I have never planned with InkscapeCo. Most things seem to have taken a natural course. We started off as just a WhatsApp group and now we are a website, a community and soon to be an organisation. But the way things are moving ahead, offline events is where we are seeing ourselves for the next few months. Some our own like “The Speakers Tavern” and somewhere we collaborate with other such organisations. In fact, We are all set to launch our next big poetry drive titled “Hyderabad Poetry Project” that (as the name suggests) hopes to encompass all of the Hyderabad. It’s a search for spoken word artists cocooned and nestled within the city.(Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Instagram page to know further) We also are collaborating with Soul Journal for the second edition of SoulSlam Hyderabad that is due this April. All in efforts to build a network.
Not much is known about the people involved in maintaining and promoting the content on InkscapeCo. Could you throw in some little nods to them and their capacities of work?
InkscapeCo is managed by a group of versatile people from different fields. Some are working professionals, some are still students! Would you believe me if I said I myself haven’t met 3/4th of my team? We are spread all across India and we have the work divided. And those who are willing to work, take it up! Also, InkscapeCo tries to promote a community initiative, hence a single job is taken up by and passed on amongst several people over time, giving a new flavour every time. Hence, graphics can be handled by one person and then another can take their place until the first one wants to come back! And sometimes we just take long sabbaticals and comeback with a completely new role waiting for us! We are all InkscapeCo!
With websites like Deviantart, Medium, and web apps like Lettrs, perhaps walking down the same road as you are, where do you stand to differentiate yourself?
We all have different names and ideas to share and a common mission to build and get together people to express themselves through their talents. Art houses, music groups, coffee shop slams, travellers, or a mix of all! We are similar but not the same as them. Rather we are more accessible to a group of people in a particular geographical area. We have our own ideas of building a community and inspiring harmonious collaborations! When we say building a community, we say, an hour where no one is judged for their talents, be it arts or maths or driving a car. Just share with us, we would love to hear you.
In a short time, InkscapeCo has been able to go beyond the website confines and author some events and meetups in various cities. Comment.
Those are the stepping stones. We held our first offline event in Hyderabad. It was meant to be a spoken word event but we gave enough freedom to people to share simple stories and thoughts. We have also collaborated with Mirakee and we love their concept of Insta for writers.
And we are lucky enough to have 2 other secret collaborations waiting in the pipelines! Hopefully, we keep growing and collaborating and forming an intrinsic web of communities to facilitate those who get to do what they love to do the most. India, Hyderabad more so, is still growing and discovering art. Being from Hyderabad makes me realise how necessary it is that these communities come together to spread the simple msg that life is beyond working your life away and that it is not a checklist that needs ticking off.
What has been the single most difficult task in coming up with InkscapeCo on an executory level.. Was it the designing and formatting? Or approaching people? Or perhaps something else?
Community initiative programs are hard to manage. It is like carrying water in your hands. It trickles out from the gaps. Since everyone here is on a voluntary basis we lose good people we gain good people. We lose time and we gain time. It is exhaustive, considering the managerial aspect. But this is just a push. We aim to create a snowball, which grows bigger! Approaching people is easy. Convincing them takes a toll but works out. Managing them and the progress is like being the heart and soul of a human, always working tirelessly.
What does the future hold for InkscapeCo? Do you see it coming to multiple media forms anytime soon? Also, any book publishing ideas on the horizon.
World Dominance! Or at least attempts at forming a world wide web of creatives. However, we are novices and we are starting slow. So right now we aim to make our presence felt among young people who can make use of this ideology to spend some time together away from judgments and competitions and express talents using other such community organisations too! We never really know where we are headed, but one thing we can assure you is we are always looking at new avenues and horizons to spread into.
For a simply interested writer, what would be the procedure to enrol himself as a featured writer at InkscapeCo? What kind of support and motivation do you provide from your side so that the flow of stories never goes dry?
Send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. A few works or interests. And let us know you really want to be a featured writer. And voila! We’ll share your work, give you an author symbol and name of choice and place on our web page! And of course, weekly challenges to keep your cogs turning.
Lastly, why the name InkscapeCo? And if you had to name it something else, what would your options be? And as a writer yourself, how has InkscapeCo changed you in your art? Any specific people or works you feel proud of on the portal?
Why does any name be that? Because it sounds right. When we started InkscapeCo We were hardly 4-5 of us all looking for an escape from our mundane routines of exams and late-nights and caffeinated mornings. Hence we chose InkscapeCo (The Co bit came in later when we realised that Inkscape was an actual thing that dealt with graphics)InkscapeCo was our escape into a world of words and verses and para’s and poems and stories that made up most of our lives. It made us a clan. Pranshu did think of Letterally! But that was another initiative altogether.
InkscapeCo turned my hobby into a passionate pursuit. It facilitated me meeting and sharing stories and bits of lives of people sitting half way around the world. It made me see how much more I am to grow as a writer and provided me with the support of an entire community to do better.
I am sorry but I cannot get myself to choose. Everyone has their own quirks. Pranshu with his abstract poetry and organised management. Nisarg in his published works. Qais with his interpretations and Kamal with his piece of mind to share. Gayatri for her initiatives to help in any and every role and Ishani with her unending dedication to learning and grow better. Gabe for his slam-pieces and voice! Naina for duly sharing her insights, Akhil and Vandana for the classy website and Kutts and Pranav for the graphics till date. Poorva for her never ending support to get us till here, And about every one of those thousands of people, Instagram followers and Mirakeans that believe in us and contribute to us helping us build this community.
So that was InkscapeCo, a wonderful platform for writers and artists to showcase their talent. Be sure to follow their Facebook page and their Website for more awesome works. If you wish to feature your works on the platform drop a mail here and you are good to go.