Recasting Durga

Recasting Durga: Whose Stories? Whose Heritage?
Talk by Padmini Ray Murray,
at the conference Video Games and Museums: Educational Digital Tools for the Participatory GLAM Space, National Museum of Finland + the University of Helsinki, 6 – 7 May 2018

Cultural heritage is fast becoming one of the libraries of source material being used in digital media, including videogames – be it the use of iconography, or the use of narrative motifs, it is very visible as a repository of ideas and images. However, ideas of cultural heritage itself can (and should be) contested; especially since it is all too easy to read any representation of culture as a signifier that flattens and makes homogeneous a much larger, complex space, such as Durgapuja.
This talk explores the narratives that have defined the Hindu goddess Durga, and touches upon important questions of representation and how narratives reinforce hierarchies. It also considers how it might be possible to use game mechanics to ensure that different voices, histories and narratives can subvert entrenched structures of power.

Dr. Padmini Ray Murray is a consultant researcher and creative practitioner who founded Design Beku in 2018: a collective that emerged from a desire to explore how technology and design can be more locally rooted, relevant, and ethical. You can find out more about her and Design Beku at

Please find the talk here.