Published: 24th June 2020
Meet the man who is bringing the Online Arts Fest to engineering students across Kerala
Sreenath Gopinath's Online Arts Festival brings together Kerala's colleges students through the many competitions they conduct online
For students in Kerala's professional colleges, the Kerala School Kalolsavam, an art festival conducted by the Kerala government annually, has always been a much-needed breather between their incessant semesters. Now, as classes reopen virtually and schedules begin to overflow, students are desparately searching for an outlet for their talent. A BTech graduate from SCMS College of Engineering, Sreenath Gopinath emerged as a messiah for the engineering student community with the Online Arts Festival. Through this programme, students have been offered a platform, albeit online, where they can display their talents via social media.
"I had spoken to a few students about how they had nothing to look forward to in this academic year. And as a former engineering student myself, I completely understood!" says Sreenath, narrating how it all began. "The idea was to engage students from all institutions across the state who are not ready to sit idle and give up their artistic talents during the lockdown." The first session of the Online Arts Festival was held on April 8 through platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram, without spending a single rupee. More that 50,000 students have participated in the programme from over 15 colleges.
AWARD STATE: Sreenath received the Kerala government’s Diamond Jubilee Fellowship for his efforts in folk music
Sreenath, who is a co-founder of the start-up TechByHeart in Kochi, was responsible for bringing students from different institutions together, fixing the dates of the competition, participant registrations, scheduling events and arranging the jury panel. Thanks to the success of the first festival, he was contacted by various engineering and arts colleges in the state including CET Trivandrum, RIT Kottayam and Government Engineering College Kozhikode to organise their annual competitions online. This marked the start of what Sreenath likes to call the 'Online Arts Revolution', about two months ago.
The competitions was held through social media groups on fixed dates, starting from 10 AM in the morning. Topics for literary events, recitations or elocution are provided minutes before the events begin. Dance and music events follow the same procedure. Participant submissions, like essays, drawings and videos, are sent to the event coordinators within the stipulated time as per the guidelines. These are then sent to the appropriate judges of each event through a Google Drive link. When they come to a decision, the results of each event are published online. Any appeals or disputes are quickly dealt with by the event coordinators.
The jury panel is made up of some of the most reputed individuals from various industries, including Dancer Aparna Paul from Assam, Dr Nikita Hari, a researcher from Cambridge University, and Supreme Court lawyer Shubhangi Nasa. The winners are provided with e-certificates and recognised by the universities with marks. The panelists also receives a token of appreciation for their contribution. “The next Online Arts Festival is at MES College of Engineering, Kuttippuram," says Sreenath, adding, "In the pipeline is another festival at Government Medical College Kollam, which will be the first of our festivals to coordinate all the medical colleges in Kerala.” For students waiting for a space to get creative during quarantine, here's the opportunity you've been waiting for!