Action Hero Narratives: Blank Noise and its Action Heroes At 14 Years

Being an Action Hero to me is about questioning status quo, having uncomfortable conversations to encourage new perspectives inourselves and in others. It means taking responsibility for the world we are in and for effecting change if we don't like it. It means doing what we can to be who we are.  
- Action Hero Shivangini Tandon 

It means taking my power back, knowing that I have a voice and thatI can and should use it.  
- Action Hero Eeshita Kapadiya 

Working with others towards a shared goal  
- Action Hero Lisa Hiessenberg  

Dear Blank Noise Community & Action Heroes,

Gentle friendly reminder to please share your personal Action Hero journey and insights by completing to this form by December 1st, midnight IST. 

Our first ten Action Heroes will receive a present from the office, an all new print of Akeli Awaara Azaad T shirt by mid January 2018!  :)

You have shaped dialogues at Blank Noise through innumerable ways. Thank you for bringing your whole being to the community. Thank you for co creating a trusting environment. Thank you for the interventions, the questions, the rage, critique, for the listening in you offered to each other across forms of media, projects, geographies and time. Thank you for stepping into processes towards creating collective wisdom to investigate, tackle, arrest, attitudes enabling sexual and gender based violence.
Blank Noise is built by its Action Heroes, ie you. Blank Noise creates participatory projects mobilising citizens and persons to become Action Heroes. There are so many of you, stepping in over the fourteen years, from across over 52 cities and towns in India and globally, having participated in varying degrees, in over 300 projects and interventions!
You stepped in and changed the scene.
We now, want to channel your Action Hero story in your words. What does it meant to be an Action Hero? How did you become one?
We are on the brink of starting an oral histories/ mapping project. Please consider this form and its questions a precursor to that. We would appreciate if you could please reply by December 1st.
We would LOVE to include some of this on our upcoming website! ( website is also the effort of many Action Heroes :))
Yours very truly,
Blank Noise Team


After #MeToo

Could a wave be told which way to go? When to pause? Or monitor its force? Locked Tongues. Unleashed.

Yes. #HimToo.

I don't view Raya Sarkar's list as  a methodology to 'name or shame', but instead as a response, a wave, a force. Yes, the wave may have a backlash, may polarise us even,  because it disrupted. But a wave has its life. It will reach new shores, new conversations. New force. New futures.

This is vomit. It has to release itself.

What would be the opposite of not having that reaction. More silence?  Another 'well kept secret' ?

I urge us, to step back and notice this instead. Beyond the 'scandal' of the listed names, it speaks out loud and clear that, institutional systems have often failed to protect those reporting. This needs working. This happening, reveals, once again, it wasn't safe to report. It still isn't safe . Those building it, took the risk of naming their perpetrators and had to be anonymous. Again, I don’t see the list as methodology, but a force that says a truth must to be told.

Most of us may have tucked it all away in long term memory to cope and move on with the everyday. But it isn't forgotten. It finds a way to linger or erupts itself out.I meet women who remember what they experienced days, sometimes months, after a workshop or dialogues held at Blank Noise. We have learnt to shrug, dismiss, blur it out to the point we don't call it out. And then a #MeToo happens.

#MeToo gave us collective permission to remember and share. #MeToo led to catharsis, anger, rage, turbulence, towards both personal and collective healing. #MeToo led many to question 'him', leading to #HimToo . He too, ‘ amongst us ‘, our friend, our colleague, the one of ‘us’ is perpetuating misogyny, rape culture, abuse.

I hear opinions on what constitutes harassment and what does not. This is past opinion.This is the force of raw experiences, rage, and recognising an everyday injustice. Our bodies traverse home, streets, web, campuses,  school, offices, art worlds, play ground, buses, trains, marriages, the television screen , experiencing patriarchy, misogyny, abuse in a range of ways. At Blank Noise we talk about looking, not to say 'don't look', but to question how are you looking? It is in the tone of the gaze. This isn't towards setting a moral code of conduct, but towards creating and enriching collective conscience. This is not about the perceived magnitude of a violation, whose judge is no one, but the person experiencing it. 

At Blank Noise, we talk about looking, not to police your gaze but invite you to look at yourself, looking, doing. Step in to internalise. Conversation has the power to be the beginning and the end to change. It is in the power of equal listening. Beyond opinion.Talk To Me.

I Never Ask For It .

- Jasmeen Patheja

Towards Ending Rape Culture on Campus: 
Step into create an Action Hero Campus Network

Towards A United Call To End Rape Culture and Blame.
Step into create a network of global / regional / local alliances to end victim blame.

Intern Or Volunteer to build I Never Ask For It


#MeToo +

This is a shift.
A leap from the silence, denial and shame. #INeverAskForIt

One #MeToo creating space for another to speak, and be heard.

Co-create I Never Ask For It
email actionhero@blanknoise.org

Towards Ending Rape Culture on Campus: 
Step into create an Action Hero Campus Network

Towards A United Call To End Rape Culture and Blame.
Step into create a network of global / regional / local alliances to end victim blame.

Intern Or Volunteer to build I Never Ask For It



Action Hero Work Jam

 Hello Action Heroes!

 Sign up for our next Work Jam , kindly hosted by Max Mueller Bhavan, Bangalore, on Friday the 20th of October between 6 and 9 pm. Bring your laptop , charger, notebook and your Action Hero self. Work Jam agenda includes preparing for the next Meet To Sleep intervention, from strategizing, coordinating, campaigning for December 16th. Efforts continue to end victim blame, through the I Never Ask For It mission. Skills required towards research, archiving, communication. Show up if you signed in to volunteer, intern or participate this year or the last!

Yours truly,
Blank Noise Team

Location: Max Mueller Bhavan
Time: 6 pm - 9 pm photos from #WorkJam

Host our Work Jam

We'd love to work with different partners, who can host Blank Noise for 5 hours for the Work Jam, once a week, and only ask for electricity, internet and some chairs! ( some tea would be a bonus). We are looking for venues across parts of Bangalore city, so that Action Heroes spread across can access it. 

If you would like to host us, or know someone who can, please connect at actionhero@blanknoise.org



Enable Us To Walk Our Vision . 
Step In To End Violence Against Girls, Women, and All Persons. 
Step in to Co Create Safe and Inclusive Environments. 
Step in to enable us, enable many to fight fear, street harassment, abuse, and victim blame. 


Super Hero Assistant . Wanted.


I am looking for a * SUPER HERO * person to assist me with work at Blank Noise! 

This is a full time , paid position. Assisting me at Blank Noise includes meeting both organisation, and movement building needs. The candidate, should be fantastic at organising, scheduling, and communication.

The Super Hero Assistant will work closely with me, to manage the day to day activities at the Blank Noise Office, from : community coordination, information management , archiving, programming and scheduling events, being a production assistant for online and offline interventions, accounts and travel arrangement, being resourceful and meeting new emerging needs.

If you are super resourceful, hard working, a multi tasker, generous, perfectionist. If you find yourself caring deeply about what we do at Blank Noise,  and also, how we do it - send your resume, and an email of interest to actionhero@blanknoise.org

Thank you,
Jasmeen Patheja


I Never Ask For It : Nagoya International School

* Thrilled to report *

High School Action Heroes !
A pilot programme by Blank Noise, towards building Action Heroes at school; a community of high school students identifying, examining, and building capacity to tackle sexual violence.

Blank Noise licenses I Never Ask For It, to students of Nagoya International School, Japan.

Five, all new, high school Action Heroes have signed up to build I Never Ask For It, Blank Noise dialogues in Nagoya. The programme will run between now until January 2018.

Initiated by their teacher, and Action Hero, Tulika Bathija, the initiative will be student led. Tulika is from Mumbai and lives in Nagoya now. She has worked extensively in the field of human rights and peace building through classroom and educational initiatives. Tulika had reached out , and wanted to introduce her students to the initiatives here.



In Tulika's words:
"I had read about the work that Blank Noise does, on social media. But at my previous school, my colleague, History teacher, when she was doing a unit on women empowerment shared that young boys from my grade 8 class strongly believed that women are sometimes responsible for incidents of sexual violence and harassment. If they are more cautious about the dress that they wear, it is a preventive measure. I have heard of instances where teachers found boys protecting girls on school trips or suggesting the teacher that the girl be asked to change her outfit, adorable! I have witnessed this conditioning first hand. Having seen these attitudes ingrained in children, it only makes sense why the climate of sexual violence exists. Since I came to Nagoya, I also realised that many boys at school think that feminist is a bad word. There is a growing sense of resentment toward feminism as a way of life and ideology. It is also because men don't feel that they are invited in a conversation. More importantly, our school lives in a bubble in Japan. Japanese students are very few; however, the mixed cultural environment -- Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Portuguese, Dutch, French, American, Canadian will allow a deeper and richer engagement with this subject, with different students sharing their experiences from their cultures, finding commonalities and patterns. And who knows? They might take this forward too in their countries? "

Are you in high school?
Are you a teacher?
To create an Action Hero high school, do send an email of interest at actionhero@blanknoise.org
This is a pilot programme and will be offered to schools in 2018


Every Tuesday, an Action Hero from the Blank Noise community will curate the @BlankNoise twitter handle, sharing what it means to be an Action Hero,  facilitate new conversations based on what the individual Action Hero wants to explore, with you!

Say hello to the new programme
starting this October, on twitter @BlankNoise

October 10th, with Action Hero, Annie Zaidi
October 17th , with Action Hero Satya Gummuluri
October 24th,  with Action Hero Bedatri Chowdhury

  • Have you ever participated in a Blank Noise event, online or offline?
  • Have you been a coordinator , or collaborator between 2003 and now?
  • Have you acted in the capacity and potential of an Action Hero, outside of a Blank Noise event, and into your everyday life?
If you answered yes, to any of the above, you are invited to lead #ActionHeroTuesday
Every participating Action Hero will nominate another Action Hero to continue conversation in the coming weeks. Get in touch, if you would like to guest curate for on a Tuesday.  

Blank Noise has been a space for plurality, bringing together different life experiences and points of view, for listening, and leading to new collective insight. It has been built by thousands of Action Heroes, ie you, since 2003. We are also inching towards an oral history/ mapping Action Heroes project, and this feels like a tiny step towards that.

See you Action Heroes!

Blank Noise Team

Action Hero Bedatri, Safe City Pledge, 2013

Meet-To-Sleep Satya.jpg
Action Hero Satya, Meet To Sleep, 2015


Action Hero Annie , Being Idle, 2006