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Janvi Ghatalia (’21) is Developing New Methods of Communal Grieving in the Age of COVID-19

The Grief Deck game cards layed out on a white background.

Rising second year Janvi Ghatalia (‘21) has spent her summer interning with Andrew Freiband at the Artists’ Literacies Institute.

Over the past few months, she has been working with ALI on a project in collaboration with the United Nations. In honor of their 75th anniversary, the UN has launched a global dialogue initiative called UN75: ‘The Future is Unwritten’ to address and plan for the sustainable development of today’s pressing challenges–from the climate crisis to inequalities, new forms of violence, and rapid changes in technology and population. ALI and The Future is Unwritten have partnered to help make sense of these conversations taking place globally amongst arts and culture institutions and artists to develop insightful and action oriented reports. Janvi is assisting them with qualitative data coding and analysis, research and report design.

Recently, she began working on their latest project, The Grief Deck: an artist-generated toolkit for processing loss, even in isolation, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. On August 17th, Janvi and her team launched a kickstarter campaign to help bring this project to life. Going forward, she will work on gameplay UX design and implementation of the project.

Disaster relief organizations have identified the inability to grieve communally as one of the major unmet needs of the pandemic response, as it hinders human potential for healing, finding meaning, and fostering growth. “COVID-19 has challenged our capacities as humans not only by causing so much loss–of life, livelihood, certainty–but also by robbing humans of the ability to come together in safety and community,” Janvi said of the necessity for the project, “so we are mobilizing artists as ‘second responders’ to the ongoing global pandemic.” 

The Artists’ Literacies Institute worked in collaboration with the NYC Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NYCVOAD), and are seeking additional input from the public. Interested parties are encouraged to submit a grieving ritual prompt or artwork via this google form.

Image provided via The Grief Deck Kickstarter page.