Alli Serona Bus Stop

Spatial Installation for social impact, using participatory design

Participatory design, Architecture, Interaction design, Production & Build
Year: 2023
An interactive mobile bus stop, co-created with women working in the informal workforce. A symbol for thousands of unheard voices collectively demanding to be connected to the grid through a simple ask, a Bus stop in the neighborhood. Bengaluru's first collapsible bus stop will tour through 4 chosen communities in the city where there is a need for a bus stop. This is an opportunity for the women of the collective to engage with others in the community, other CSOs in the city working on climate mitigation/public transport, decision makers and media.
The Objective
The Alli Serona bus stop is specifically traveling to those communities which lack public transport infrastructure - including frequent buses and safe/accessible bus stops. Alli Serona conducted community walking audits in 9 informal and resettlement colonies in the last year along with 100+ women leaders to learn about the mobility needs of informal sector workers. These locations have been shortlisted after careful consideration and insights from the walking audits.

Safe and accessible transport is a key enabler for communities who tend to be at the margins of the city and urban policymaking. The absence of such a well-linked public transport system, negatively impacts people’s access to livelihood, services and amenities. The mobile Alli Serona Bus Stop demonstrates how a good public transport system can bring people into the fold of the city; opening up opportunities and services to residents of informal and rehabilitation settlements.

This bus stop is also a platform created by the Alli Serona collective, to engage with decision makers in the city and ensure that women from the informal workforce have a say in decision making when it comes to public transport policies.
Alli Serona: 'Let us meet there'
Alli Serona is a collective of civil society organizations, creators, think tanks and women from the informal workforce that is working together to bring the voices of the informal work force  of Bengaluru to the center of the city’s shift to a low-carbon city. Participatory practices and co-creation has been at the heart of bringing this collective together. The hundreds of women leaders who are associated with this collective have been mobilizing around the need for improved public transport in and around their communities and are starting to get recognition and acknowledgement for their insights and solutions.
Participatory Design workshops
Women in the informal workforce are often the most impacted by policy changes, public transport as well as climate change. Additionally, they may face multiple barriers to accessing information, resources, and decision-making processes related to climate change. Despite these challenges, they are rarely consulted or included in decision-making processes related to climate change and public policy.

That's why it's critical to center the perspectives and experiences of women in the informal workforce in Bangalore in the transition to a low carbon economy. By doing so, we can create a transition that is truly just and equitable, and that benefits everyone, including the most vulnerable.

We conducted three workshops under the able guidance of Harshil Parikh, to begin co-creating this bus stop with the women of Hosanagar, Bangalore. Below are glimpses of the promising participatory design workshops with these inspiring, dynamic women.

Workshop 1 : Knowing each other
Being our very first workshop with the women of Hosanagar, knowing the Community, and letting the community know us was of prime importance to bring out the best of the participatory workshops. The flow and interactions of this workshop were aimed at building trust, creating comfort in interaction and introduction of the participatory method and co-creation.

Key considerations:
Creating an Identity for the Installation that is a true reflection of the community’s aspiration-through pride, memories, popular culture, inter-relationships, taboo, media etc.
Develop a sense of belonging to the installation
Identifying familiar material pallete and techniques of making.
Understanding skill sets and agency of the participants involved.
Workshop 2 : Making a 'holder of memories'
The second participatory workshop was aimed at connecting “memory” (the most prominent keyword identified from first workshop) with the installation output.

Below were the key considerations of the interaction:
Memories can be displayed in various media from an illustration to a video or tactile piece.
Introducing the installation as a concept to start designing becomes very vague for a workshop, however breaking it down to components or a simple exercise allows for iteration within parameters that allow for exploration.
The installation therefore can become a holder/container of these 'collective and individual memories'.
Generating a strong conceptual brief was most important for an action and doing oriented workshop in order to have set direction and aim.
Workshop 3 : Illi Seriddeve (We have gathered here)
From 'Alli Serona' to ' Illi Seriddeve', the third workshop was designed for utilizing 1:1 Scaled prototyping on site for design development with the women themselves. The women spent their time in helping us understand their aspirations and imaginations of what they believe is an ideal bus stop!

Below were the key elements and takeaways from the interaction:
Materials for prototyping should allow for quick makeshift temporary mockups for multiple trials.
To give a sense of scale, layouts and potential of use of the “space” in the installation beyond a visual marker.
To get ideas on what makes this bus stop what it is.
How do we organise ourselves in this space?
How do we see/enter/inhabit this space?
What can we do in this space? Can the kids and adults play here? Can we listen to music together here?
How do you create a sense of belonging?
All Aboard!
Next stop: The Alli Serona Bus Stop 🚌🚦
The Alli Serona Bus Stop Installation was live in the month of October 2023! The bus stop presented a unique opportunity of engaging with the installation and interacting with the Alli Serona Collective.
bus stop png
Where the bus stop went, and the votes it got:

Location 1: Hosa Nagar
05 Oct - 07 Oct
500+ Votes

Location 2: Seegehalli & Priyanka Nagar
09 Oct - 10 Oct
1100+ Votes

Location 3: AKG Colony
16 Oct - 18 Oct
800+ Votes

Location 4: Byrasandra, Jayanagar
20 Oct - 21 Oct
1800+ Votes

Bajji Bonda Session
Design Walkthrough with the Team
Through Fully Sorted, we hosted a design walkthrough session for creative practitioners, architects, and students. The session delved into the creative participatory approach used to co-create the Alli Serona bus stop with the women of Hosanagar.
In the news
Alli Serona has been prominently featured across more than 55 media platforms, spanning print, digital, radio, podcasts, and television. These platforms include prestigious publications such as the Deccan Herald, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Bangalore Mirror, The New Indian Express, the Indian Express, Vaartha Bharati as well as radio channels such as the Radio Mirchi and Radio City. 
Studio Sorted featured in Deccan Herald
Studio Sorted featured in the indian expressStudio Sorted featured in The Hindu
Studio Sorted featured in Curly TalesStudio Sorted featured in the Hindustan Times
Behind the Scenes
Alli Serona: Together in Art
Studio Sorted had the pleasure of being invited to a celebrated event and film screening organised and curated by The Alli Serona Collective at Alliance Francais, Bangalore. The event seeked to celebrate the power of participatory art practices in bringing communities together, fostering active participation and engagement on important climate issues.

We were also presented the opportunity of exhibiting our ongoing work on the Alli Serona bus stop at the event, where we featured some of the most candid images and excerpts from the workshops.

Netra Ajjampur also shared the stage at the panel discussion alongside esteemed panelists Bindu Chandana, Shanthi Muniswamy, Tanisha Arora and Indu Anthony. The panel discussion-'Art Beyond Spectators' was moderated by Shreya Krishnan and delved into meaningful conversations about social change, inclusion, and the role of Participatory Art Practices (PAP) in design and community engagement.

The Film
Alli Serona: Together in Art (15 mins)** was a documentation of the collective's journey of engaging with the women of Marathahalli Slum Board Quarters through art. The film unpacks how participatory art practices, where participants become active contributors in the creation, has the ability to transcend language barriers, cultural differences, and social divides, creating a common ground for dialogue, expression, and connection. The film showcases how this approach can become a catalyst for empowerment and bringing communities together to engage on important climate issues.
Please scroll to the bottom of this page for credits and details about this film, and its story.

Watch the film here!
Design & Architecture: Netra Ajjampur, Sandra George, Samriddhi Arora
Production & Project management: Aishwarya Patil
Participatory design consultant: Harshil Parikh
Graphic design & Illustration: Ananya Sharma (Alli Serona), Abhishek Durani, Tanmay Acharya, Darshan Ramarao
Tech interaction design: Samriddhi Arora
Tech interaction development:
Abhiroop Roy
Workshop facilitation assistance: Madhuri, Supreeth Suresh
Production contractor: Vijay
Photography: Karthik VG

Creative Strategy and Art Direction:
Tanisha Arora (Alli Serona)
Project Lead: Mallika Arya (Alli Serona)
Project Manager: Komal Chaudhry (Alli Serona)
Impact Measurement and Learning Lead: Mrinalini Ray Mehta (Alli Serona)

Special thanks:
APSA : Community Engagement, Permissions and Logistic support : Impact Measurement and Learning : Kowdhi handicraft
Aravani Art Project : Co-creation of Alli Serona identity
Bengawalk : Community Walking Audits & Proposed Feeder Bus Routes

**Credits for the Alli Serona Film
Marathahalli Slum Board Quarters is a housing project in Bengaluru under the Karnataka Slum Development Board, where people from surrounding informal settlements were relocated over the course of a few years. It houses a diverse community of people from different cultures, geographies, and languages, most of whom belong to the informal workforce. Being a relatively new settlement, invisible deep rooted rifts exist among the people.

Project Partners: Alli Serona in collaboration with  @aravaniartproject2707 @SRISHTIARTDESIGN
Filmmakers: @FalanaFilms
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