A One Week Course for Urban Practitioners, Scholars and Policy Makers

20th to 26th November 2023

Venue: Kerala Institute of Local Administration, Thrissur, Kerala

Last Date of submission of application – 29th October 2023

We invite applications for Urban Action School (UAS) 2023: Unpacking the Urban-Rural Continuum Towards Sustainable Futures for All, the one-week course covering various sociological, economic, political, cultural aspects of the urban rural continuum with a focus on the Global South. This course has been designed essentially for mid and senior-level activists, policy advocates, lawyers, journalists, researchers, and all categories of urban policy practitioners. We have designed UAS’23 to benefit action researchers and social activists, build the participants’ knowledge base, and complement action research and field-based activism. We hope that UAS’23 becomes a space for knowledge upgradation, reflection, sharing and equipping the participants to acquire new skills to function better in their day-to-day work. In addition, we seek to make a difference to the participants and organizations/movements where they work. The Urban Action School on Unpacking the Urban-Rural Continuum will throw light on rural-urban dynamics through discussion of structures, spatiality, mobility, and identities. Theoretical frameworks and key concepts for conceptualising urban-rural dynamics including agrarian distress, labour migration, dispossession of land, issues of housing, basic public services, issues of commons, ecological distress, climate change and others, including various models of rural-urban and regional growth would be discussed and questioned. Understanding and discussion of the way forward, in terms of development and perspectives on the urban-rural continuum, as well as reclaiming the urban-rural question would take place.
The course is open to all, demonstrating a commitment to engaging with urban issues. Social workers, practitioners, people working with community organizations, social movements, trade unions, urban local bodies, media persons, government officials, research students, scholars, and elected peoples’ representatives working and dealing with the ‘Urban Issues’ are eligible to apply for this course. Experienced participants are preferred for this course as it is essentially designed to build the skills of experienced practitioners and mid-career professionals.
Each year the course, the UAS curriculum, is redesigned to reflect the emerging ideas, issues, and concerns about a particular topic. The intention is to make each iteration of the UAS a credible and significant contribution towards the understanding of cities, citizens, and people-oriented sustainable planning with an attempt to deal with and find solutions to growing urban poverty, migration, alienation, exclusion, violence, and lack of recognition, regulation and planning. Thus, the UAS 2023, on the theme of “Unpacking the Urban-Rural Continuum Towards Sustainable Futures for All”, will be an effort to further the social, economic, cultural, political and ecological understanding of the urban rural continuum. It aims to deliberate on the fair, creative and multidisciplinary approaches to unpacking the urban-rural continuum and equity embedded in collective practices and actions.
Day 1: Historical, philosophical, and current perspectives on the Urban-Rural dichotomy
Learning objectives: To understand the concepts behind the separation of urban and rural, their place in the Indian reality, and to explore the alternate perspective of the continuum.
Day 2: How and why the urban-rural continuum exists, with a focus on Global South perspectives
Learning objectives: to explore the real life examples of how the lines between urban and rural are blurring, and how ecosystems are changing in both urban and rural areas. To understand and unpack the driving factors behind the continuum like agrarian distress, cyclical migration and industrial growth among others.
Days 3 and 4: Communities at the Cusp
Learning objectives: to understand the impact that urbanism and the factors driving the creation of blurred urban-rural spaces have on the lives of marginalised and socially disadvantaged communities with respect to livelihoods, access to land and commons, cultural traditions and knowledge, living conditions, social bonds, etc.
Day 5: Field Visits
Day 6: Towards a modern, alternative perspective on the urban-rural dichotomy
Learning objectives: to understand and explore how to advocate for and build policies based on the urban-rural continuum that reflect reality and the way forward. To explore and discuss ways to include the continuum in planning and policy creation, to ensure support for all.
Day 7: Reflections and Way Forward
Learning objectives: To build the momentum for further action on the urban-rural continuum by revisiting the learnings from the Urban Action School and preparing a plan of action.
ActionAid Association India (www.actionaidindia.org)
Kerala Institute of Local Administration (www.kila.ac.in)
Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung South Asia (www.rosalux.in)
Only selected candidates will be called to attend the workshop based on applicant information and interaction with shortlisted candidates. The organisers will bear the workshop expenses, including course fees, accommodation, food and training materials.
We will provide need-based travel support based on individual requests after the shortlisting of participants.
Prospective participants may fill out the online application form available here:
We will only consider applications that reach us latest by 20th October 2023 midnight (IST).
The Course Coordinator,
Urban Action School,
ActionAid Association,
F-5, First Floor Kailash Colony,
New Delhi -110048
Phone: + +91-11-40640559; + 91-11- 40640546;
Mobile: +91-9811813379, +91-9038477566; +91-9971871685;
Email: iyce.malhotra@actionaid.org, koustav.majumdar@actionaid.org, vidhika.gadia@actionaid.org