2022 UCF award winners

Street art for COVID-19 preparedness and response among Urban Poor of New Delhi in India

The International Association for Media and Communication Research -IAMCR- and the Urban Communication Foundation are pleased to announce that the 2022 Urban Communication Research Grant will be awarded to Dishha Medhavi and Kulveen Trehan, both from the School of Mass Communication, Guru Gobind Singh University, New Delhi, India, for their project Street art for COVID-19 preparedness and response among Urban Poor of New Delhi in India: A case study of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan. The awards will be formally granted during IAMCR's 2022 online conference.

Announcing the decision, Janet Wasko, chair of the Urban Communication Grant Selection Committee, said: "The committee found that the proposal represented a very solid and innovative project, interestingly linking the street art topic to urban communication. We feel that the project promises to make an important contribution to research and policy in the urban communication studies area."

The award will be formally made at the opening plenary of IAMCR 2022.

UCF/IAMCR Urban Communication Research Grant Award Winner for 2022

Kulveen Trehan and Dishha Medhavi (Guru Gobind Singh University)

Project title: Street art for COVID-19 preparedness and response among Urban Poor of New Delhi in India: A case study of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan

Dr. Kulveen Trehan


In the capital city of India –New Delhi, effects of Covid -19 have been severe, especially for the Urban Poor. Without adequate finances for electricity, internet connection, and required devices, the urban poor were left out of the digital ecosystem during Covid-19.  Seeing the digital disparity in access to information a network of youth volunteers, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (Govt. of India) with a network of 8.5 million youth (NYKS, 2020) initiated communication on Covid19 through street art and wall paintings. Their street art drawing from cultural semiology and intertextuality featured variegated verbal and visual representations through slogans, murals, illustrations, drawings encoding the symbolic fight against coronavirus and in the process, constructing the city’s history as a reminder of resilience.  Spatially focused on street art that populates the walls of New Delhi, our study assumes importance since street art enciphers within its iconography issues of identity and power, more apparent in times of crisis. 

It’s an exploratory study that attempts to analyse street art as a tool of communication for the Urban poor and to know how the target community responded to the murals created by NYKS in terms of awareness, attitude, informed choices, and changed practices towards the pandemic. Adopting a mixed-methods approach, a survey of urban poor population of Delhi and in-depth interviews with NYKS volunteers, who created art on streets of the city will be done. Examining how street art addressed disproportionate information access, knowledge gap and needs of the urban poor with respect to the pandemic would contribute to understanding the dynamics between urban poor communities and street art as a medium. The data and discussion will facilitate a structured mapping and communication system to reach the urban poor. 

Dr. Kulveen Trehan is a Senior Assistant Professor at University School of Mass Communication, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Govt. of NCT of Delhi. Her work on creative communication, popular culture, digital advocacy, sports communication and advertising literacy has been published in reputed international journals and books.  Her recent research projects are centered around SDGs, media literacy, advocacy and creative executions. She is currently involved in a research project funded by UNICEF & IAMCR on C4D. She was part of the team that prepared the Global report on Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo 2020.

Ms. Dishha Medhavi is Currently pursuing a Ph.D. from University School of  Mass Communication, Guru Gobind Singh University, New Delhi. Her research interests lie in culture & communication, digital cultures, urban communication, and consumer behaviour studies. Prior to joining the doctoral programme, she worked in the domain of Marketing Research focused on commercial quantitative research projects of Indian and International brands.

Funded by the Urban Communication Foundation, the annual $1,750 research grant supports communication and media research that advances our understanding of the growing complexity of the urban environment. It is predicated on the assumption that communication scholars have a valuable contribution to make to understanding the urban landscape.

Members of the Selection Committee:

  • Janet Wasko (Chair), University of Oregon, USA
  • Susan Drucker, Hofstra University, USA
  • Gary Gumpert, Urban Communication Foundation, USA
  • Cees Hamelink, Netherlands
  • Nico Carpentier, Charles University, Czech Republic