On the Fringe

On the Fringe is an informal programme on Discord which—through myriad topics—thinks of boundaries and their functions in our world, dissecting what it means to categorize, marginalize, and circumscribe. Diving into nebulous spaces between boundaries, we speak with young adults, creative practitioners, researchers, and activists to reflect upon our established world views. We run one episode each month, dealing with a different and relevant topic each time. So far, we’ve explored On the Fringe through comedy, generation gaps, and conspiracy theories. Upcoming topics in 2021 include urban commons, knowledge systems, and invisible illness.


A programme by - 

Gayatri Manu, Komal Jain, Vasudha Malani

Science Gallery Bengaluru


Programme Design


Science Gallery Bengaluru


2021 - current

Edition 01 of the series

As this was a completing new type of programme for us, we decided to explore a range of topics in the first edition to get a sense where we could direct the project in the future. Following are the details on the six episodes of the series.


Comedy On the Fringe

We explore comedy, humour, and its ties to contagion. By bringing in a comedian and asking them questions about audience reactions, the rippling effect of laughter, the boundaries between criticism and offense, we hope to create an informal space that both tries to understand laughter as a phenomenon that spreads, and also reveals the slippery boundaries comedians must think about in their work.

Guest: Sundeep Rao


Generations On the Fringe

What are millennials eating? Are boomers becoming more spiritual? Is Gen Z changing the way we communicate? Our new episode of On the Fringe explores our age-based categorizations, and the influence they have on our social relationships, workplace dynamics, and education systems. On what basis are these generational divisions made? And what happens to those who don’t fit neatly into these categories? Finally, do these boundaries help us better navigate through life, or do they reinforce a culture of circumscribing communities? Perhaps they do both, perhaps they do neither. 

Guests: Boomer - Jyothirghosh; Gen X - Tanishka Kachru; Millennial - Nomaan; Gen Z - Riz Rishi

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Conspiracies On the Fringe

The earth is flat. The 1969 moon landing was staged. Climate change is a myth. Conspiracy theories may originate on the fringe, but often they become mainstream—inspiring documentaries, spawning cults, and triggering political upheaval. 


But why do conspiracy theories hold power over some of us? How does society view the people who believe them? And how do they take hold and spread from one person to the next? What happens when a fringe theory proves to be true? Discussing language, paranoia, herd mentality and more, our next episode of On the Fringe was all about conspiracies! 


P.S. What happens when a conspiracy is believed not just by a minority, but by a significant number of people?


Geeta Seshu, Journalist

Michael Biddlestone, Social Psychologist

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Urban Commons On the Fringe

Development. A seemingly promising goal to aspire to. But in this rapidly urbanising world with ‘developed’ cities, what happens to lakes, parks, and wetlands? How do we reconfigure our relationship with them? How can these urban commons help us simulate wider conversations about bridging inequalities, reclaiming common rights, and reimagining future cities? On this episode of On the Fringe, come discuss the challenges of reviving, restoring and nurturing the commons in urban environments. Spanning everything from sustainability to ownership, this episode led to rethinking our relationship with the city.


Neha Sami, Urban Planner, Academic Dean, Indian Institute of Human Settlements

Himanshu Burte, Urbanist, Indian Institute Technology-Bombay


illnesses On the Fringe

“It’s all in your head.” “But you look fine!” “Maybe you’re just lazy.” If you’ve ever faced an illness that has no discernible physical symptoms, you might have heard these comments from friends, family, and strangers. There are countless invisible diseases that remain shrouded within the body and mind, outwardly imperceptible. So what happens when the physical body does not betray the signs of an illness? In this episode of On the Fringe, we invited participants to think about invisible illness and disability—from the unique challenges and pressures they pose to the kind of expectations assumed from seemingly able-bodied people. The discussion combined a cultural understanding of disability with lived experience of invisible mental and physical illnesses.


Abhishek Anicca, Writer, Poet, Performer

Suzanne Sanghi, Lupus patient-activist

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Open Access On the Fringe

The internet seems to have brought knowledge to our fingertips. Everything you could possibly want to know, it seems, is a Google search away. Yet critical research is locked away, protected by encryptions and paywalls against people seeking to understand the world by engaging, and building on existing knowledge. How do countries, educational institutions, and powerful individuals work together to restrict access to knowledge? How do we critically engage with the past and contemporary issues when the tools we require, to do so, are out of our reach? The internet—once imagined as an open and free space is now barricaded. How did this transformation occur?
explore the complexities of gatekeeping knowledge, and find out how people both within institutional spaces and outside are pushing for Open Access. Our guests shared their journey in breaking the barriers restricting knowledge that should be free, open, and accessible to everyone.


Anand Chitipothu, Technologist

Anup Kumar Das, Information professional