About the project

The story

This story draws on knowledge and experience shared by fourteen domestic workers as part of a collaborative storyboarding workshop organised by Supurna Banerjee, Anchita Ghatak, and Lauren Wilks and facilitated by Parichiti in Kolkata in January 2020. 

It also draws more broadly on Lauren and Supurna’s research, and Parichiti’s experience supporting domestic workers. It highlights the daily negotiations that are involved in commuting for paid domestic work in Kolkata/India. The workshop and wider project were funded as part of a UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Postdoctoral Fellowship held by Lauren Wilks at the University of Edinburgh (grant ref: ES/T008970/1).


The authors are immensely grateful to the domestic workers who participated in the workshop and generously shared knowledge and experience to shape the story and design.

Huge thanks are also due to: Samia Singh, our illustrator and designer, for her enthusiasm, talent, and expertise; Rishabh Arora, for his beautiful animation work on the introductory video; Mohona Maitra, Sagnik Sengupta, and Aniruddha Deb, for assistance with interpreting and translation; Hugo Gorringe, for his feedback on the story; Clare de Mowbray, Marie Storrar, Jennifer Chambers,and the wider SSPS Communications and Engagement Team, for assistance with book and website design; Theo Andrew for assistance with publication and hosting; Eugen Stoica, for guidance on copyright; and the University of Edinburgh Printing Services Team, for assistance with printing and binding. Lauren would also like to thank Karen Gregory at the University of Edinburgh for her mentorship.

The project was supported by: the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS); the Department of Sociology, the School  of  Social  and  Political  Science  (SSPS),  and  the  SSPS Research  Office  at  the  University  of  Edinburgh; the  Institute  of  Development Studies Kolkata (IDSK); and Parichiti. The authors owe a special thanks to these organisations/bodies for their help and guidance.

Finally, inspiration for this project came from activities and outputs associated with the Teaching Feminisms, Transforming Lives  project led by Radhika Govinda at the University of Edinburgh and the Towards Ethical Testimonies project led by Nayanika Mookherjee at the University of Durham. The authors would like to thank these individuals and projects for providing the initial spark and demonstrating creative ways of engaging in and communicating research.

Further details

How to cite: Supurna Banerjee, Anchita Ghatak, Samia Singh and Lauren Wilks (2021). The Red and Gold Pen. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh. Freely available to read and download at: http://www.red-and-gold-pen.sps.ed.ac.uk

For further information and printed copies of the story, please email redgoldpen@gmail.com

Copyright © 2021 University of Edinburgh. This is an open-access story distributed under the terms of CC-BY-NC-SA. The use, distribution, or reproduction in other forums is permitted only for non-commercial purposes, and provided the original authors and illustrator are credited and the original publication is cited. 

*Correspondence: Lauren Wilks: redgoldpen@gmail.com