This anthology led by the Kadak Collective, is a collection of comic and graphic narratives for print and web – about geography and gender, identity and self, boundary and exclusion, experienced through the lens of the bystander.
Bystander n.‘a person who is present at an event or incident but does not take part.’
The word bystander has existed for hundreds of years, but we’ve never really questioned the idea of being a bystander until just recently.
In our discussions today around race, caste, displacement, climate change, consent and sexual violence, the question of taking action is immediate, and needs to be addressed with depth and sensitivity. The topic of the bystander is viscerally important now, but who engages, who witnesses? Whose voice is heard and whose is ignored?
The bystander effect tells us that people don’t or can’t act for many reasons. Do they feel that someone else will? Do they fear retaliation? Do they lack power?
In the subcontinent, the word ‘bystander’ also contains many tensions and connotations: in language, behaviour, culture. As a group of South Asian creators from all across the world, our perspective on this is unique, as each of us has faced marginalisation based on a range of intersecting identities – be it gender, sexuality, caste, class, language, race, region, religion, colour – and each of us has experienced different aspects of being a bystander at some point in time.
Many of our South Asian peers are already responding to these complex issues through comics, design, art, writing – and we're bringing them all together in the BYSTANDER anthology.
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
The BYSTANDER anthology is comprised of both a print and a web component. The print output will be a beautiful and stunning book offered alongside a variety of rewards like delicious zines, posters, postcards, stickers… which are all up for grabs! We're also creating a separate web-based anthology with digital and experimental comics that will be available online.
Also in planning (though we’re not fundraising right now) are a series of on-ground workshops running across continents, that engage with the theme of the bystander.
Some people have already noticed what we’re up to; BBC Radio 4 is following the Kadak Collective and the Bystander Anthology project for one year, from inception through to release, creating a radio piece for broadcast on BBC World Service in 2020.
In this anthology, our contributors are exploring a dizzying number of ideas: the ways in which bodies and identities are marked by religion, caste, and class, generational trauma, sexism and patriarchy in families and relationships, systematic displacement and violence, mental health, disability, activism, questions of occupying private and public spaces, being visibly and invisibly queer...
We believe this anthology is an important, timely, and necessary project, that will enable people in South Asia and beyond to engage with the region’s complicated social and political context, through distinct and diverse perspectives.
WHO’S IN IT?
The Bystander Anthology is an incredible and original project that foregrounds some of the most brilliant image makers and writers from South Asia and the South Asian diaspora – many of whose work is collected alongside each other’s for the first time! It also consists of a design, editorial, and production team comprised of South Asians.
Our project features one of the most diverse, inclusive, and largest line-up of practitioners, representing a range of South Asian voices that are largely women, non binary, and queer. Trust us, we spent over four months getting this group together!
We now have 50+contributors confirmed for the project, working across 13 countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and Australia.
They span a range of identities and interests – writers, illustrators, designers, artists, film makers, architects, researchers, activists, poets, performers... (So much talent, phew!)
Aziza Ahmad, Sabika Abbas, Upasana Agarwal, Aravani Art Project, Samya Arif, Ayirani Balachanthiran, Mrigaja Bajracharya, Gopika Bashi, Priya Dali, Shilpa Das, Soumya Dhulekar, Pavithra Dikshit, Zara Fayaz, Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, Wang Rana Gurung (Thimphu Comics), Jasjyot Singh Hans, Nabigal-Nayagam Haider Ali, Isuri M H, Swati Janu, Kripa Joshi, Humayra Kabir, Sense Kaleidoscopes, Divya Kandukuri, Sabba Khan, Saffa Khan, Reem Khurshid, Akhila Krishnan, Shreyas R Krishnan, Lungshai Leisan, Mira F Malhotra, Shehzil Malik, Ayangbe Mannen, Sab Meynert, Nandini Moitra, Prachi Mokashi, Sana Nasir, Aleesha Nandhra, Aarthi Parthasarathy, Thilini Perera, Ibrahim Rayintakath, Saheb Ram Tudu, Sumedha Sah, Shrujana Shridhar, Janine Shroff, Sindu Sivayogam, Kruttika Susarla, Supriya Tirkey, Kritika Trehan, Sinthujan Varatharajah, Valentino Vecchietti & Xinaneo
We’ve never seen a comics project of this nature, scale and authorship from South Asia before. The Kadak Collective is thrilled to be realising it and we need YOUR help and support to make this dream a reality!
WHAT IS KADAK?
The Bystander Anthology is led and presented by the Kadak Collective. We are a collective of South Asian women, non-binary, and queer folk who work with graphic storytelling of different kinds. An ever-expanding group of creators, we work on self-authored projects and zines. ‘Kadak’ in some South Asian languages means strong, severe, sharp — like our tea.
We came together as a collective in 2016 and since then we’ve received commissions from various sources, including The Goethe Institute & Sandbox Collective, British Council, Akshara Centre, and the Gaysi Zine among others. We’ve been invited to show our work at the Fumetto Comics Festival, East London Comic Arts Festival, Chicago Art Book Fair, and LA Zine Fest, to name a few. We’ve also been profiled in a number of publications including Broken Frontier, It’s Nice That, Scroll.in, Feminism in India, Verve Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle (and lots more, we promise), and will be part of an upcoming international publication on women led collectives from around the world.
With YOUR help this will be the first major self-published project initiated by Kadak.
OKAY, LET’S TALK SPECIFICS!
- May 1, 2019 All contributors have submitted concept notes for their pieces. We’re already planning for the coming months, that’s how much we want to do this!
- May-June 2019 Crowdfunding Campaign! (We just met you, this is crazy, here’s our campaign, fund us maybe?)
- Mid-June 2019 Contributors start work on their amazing comics/narratives
- July end 2019 Contributors turn in their finished pages
- August- September 2019 Editorial and Design work
- October 2019 Prep for Printing and Production
- November 2019 We seize the day (and the means of production!) Book and website go into actual production, prior to the launch
- January 2020 LAUNCH! (and all your rewards make their way to you!)
The budget for this project includes costs
- for paying contributors
- for production (including hosting) for the web and print anthology, and
- for paying the administrative, editorial & design teams required for a project of this scale.
All our contributors will be paid at a per page international rate for this anthology – a big commitment on our part. Creative work is always undervalued, especially for creatives geographically based in the subcontinent who are frequently paid at a lower rate than their peers in the west. We are actively addressing this imbalance in our anthology; we want to create a new normal.
The budget breaks down like this:
24% Contributors fees (web and print)
44% Production fees (including web hosting and printing)
13% Design and administration fees (over 1 year)
10% Editorial and project management fees (over 1 year)
9% Kickstarter fees plus overheads
The Bystander Anthology is very ambitious in every way, and we can ONLY make it across the finish line with your help! A lot of thought and care has gone into designing and curating all of the rewards we are offering our generous supporters. Not just zines, prints, and original artworks, the actual Bystander Anthology book itself is something you can have and hold. But most importantly, by funding this anthology, you participate in making a very timely, necessary project happen, and help in amplifying the voices and works of South Asian creatives!
51 contributors! 13 countries! Brilliant artists! Excellent Editors! Many stories! Many kinds of comics! Beautiful comics! Print! Web!
Don't be a bystander to this project, fund us!
Girls, non-binary, queer, and marginalised folks just wanna have funds.
HERE'S A RECAP OF THE GOODIES WE HAVE FOR YOU!
Pledge £5 and more!
Pledge £10 and more!
Pledge £12 and more!
Pledge £15 and more!
42,000£ - 46,000£
CONTRIBUTOR VIDEO CAPSULE(S)
This is a very special, unique comics anthology and the first time so many artists from such diverse backgrounds are coming together. We’d like to be able to document this process formally - creating a set of high quality films that preserve a record of this group of people, at this moment in time; following them and elaborating on the processes they use to create their work.
These films would be hosted online on our web anthology and be available for public viewing on it. We’d like to make at least 3-5 films about different contributors, and in addition, document our launch event at Blossom Book House in Bangalore in January 2020.
46,000£ - 51,000£
WORKSHOPS ACROSS 3 CITIES
We’d (The editorial team) like to run workshops in 3 cities (across 3 continents) on the themes and ideas behind the Bystander Anthology project.
These would focus not just on Bystander Intervention, but also Bystander Guilt, Bystander Fear, the effect of policy and urban design on Bystander Behaviour, the politics of identity on Bystander Action etc.
The creative output from these workshops would be hosted on the web anthology, and potentially some of it could be included in the printed anthology as well.
51,000£ - 56,000£
WORKSHOPS (6 CITIES) + PHOTO DOCUMENTATION
We’d (The editorial team + some contributing artists) like to run workshops in 6 cities across 3 or more continents on the themes and ideas behind the Bystander Anthology project.
These would focus on the various aspects of the theme as mentioned above, but would also be able to reach more people in more locations.
We’d also like to be able to document these workshops as well, working with photographers (who will be paid for their work of course) to capture the workshops and create an archive of this process that would be hosted on the web anthology, and potentially some of the work could be included in the book as well.
Risks and challenges
We know this is our first major crowdfunded self-publishing project. Each of us – Aarthi, Akhila, Gopika, Mira, Sabika and Shreyas – bring in a lot of experience from our own practices and self-publishing, as well as in our work with Kadak.
Between us we have more than a decade of experience in publishing and editorial for organisations including Penguin, Harper Collins, Random House, British Council, Oxfam, The Metropolitan Museum, Hindustan Times, Johns Hopkins, Pratham Books, Octopus Publishing, Facebook, Adobe, The Times Group, to name a few.
We’ve spent a LOT of time planning and revising our timelines and budgets to make sure we have accounted for rewards, production, payments and shipping. We have three bases for shipping for this project; in India, in the UK and the USA - which has enabled us to offer a price for the book and rewards that is inclusive of shipping.
ALL of our contributors have signed on to this project on the strength of our work and what Kadak has done. They believe in this, we believe in this. The missing ingredient in this project is you.
Publishing is challenging and there are unpredictable risks and problems that may arise, but we are COMMITTED to seeing this project through with transparent communication, our own experience and perseverance. Please help us make this dream a reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)