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Research impact

Today’s research impact focus is on how the University of the West of Scotland is changing lives in India


An innovative project involving the University of the West of Scotland’s highly-regarded Creative Media Academy has established a state-of-the-art multi-media facility in one of the most deprived settlements in the world.
Dharavi, Mumbai, one of the most densely populated urban areas on the planet, is often depicted as dangerous and is constantly under threat of redevelopment and demolition.
Most industries in Dharavi are labour intensive, producing high levels of pollution. Working conditions are typically cramped, unsanitary and hazardous.
Compound 13 Lab was originated by UWS graduate, Dr Ben Parry, whose PhD research began UWS’s engagement with Dharavi’s communities. From 2015, supported by grants from the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund, Professor Graham Jeffery and Dr Parry set about changing perceptions, establishing the pioneering multimedia Lab in partnership with ACORN Foundation India.
The project provides a space for experimental design and learning, offering access to classes, tools and resources, and, in the process, has changed life chances and outcomes for some of India’s most vulnerable young people.
Compound 13 has engaged with local communities and upskilled over 100 marginalised young people. It has also helped to redefine Dharavi as a hotbed of innovation, and a globally significant example of a self-organised informal economy.
The Lab has worked with local business and entrepreneurs, non-governmental organisations and academic partners, leading national planners and international analysts to revalue and rethink the creative potential of the most marginal citizens.

The Lab has been cited as an example of ‘best practice’ at GCRF summits in New Delhi and London.