Taking Stock, and Moving Forward

Kandassankadavu, Picture: S. Harikrishnan

In May 2019, Ala turned six months old. Here, we take a quick look back at how much we have evolved, and what we hold in store. Ala now proudly hosts nine issues’ worth of original content on diverse topics that relate to Kerala and its culture. The scale of time that we have covered is vast—from articles on the ancient rock-arts in Kerala and on Sangam literature to the modern history of Travancore and contemporary debates in the health. employment and education sectors. The scope also means that we have articles ranging from micro-case studies, such as Marva’s piece on the Islamic maternity carers of Ponnani and neighbouring taluks, to the impact of the Arabian Sea on culture and religion in Kerala. Our contributors range from senior academics to photographers, bloggers, educators and students. Some of our articles have already been shared on widely read blogs and the Kerala government’s official print publications. For a young venture, this recognition is humbling and gratifying.

In January 2019, we rebranded our website to make it more reader-friendly and adopted the new logo. We have also set up a social media presence where we share updates on our latest issues and reach out to potential readers and contributors. So we can strive for quality of content over quantity, we also decided to move from fortnightly issues to monthly ones. This has helped us invest in a more rigorous editorial process, working with contributors to bring out the best in their output. The encouragement we have received over the last few months from readers through comments, emails and messages have helped us immensely to improve our own efforts as a team. Since we started in November, we have also had two new members join the editorial team. While we are proud of our achievements so far, we are also excited about setting the bar higher in the time to come. Projects in the pipeline include those focussing on the visual arts in Kerala, and on commentaries and curated debates on current affairs.

When we launched the first Issue of Ala on November 1st 2018, we weren’t sure what to expect. We hoped to build a platform that will present quality research and creative work in an accessible format; to take historiography, social theory and art appreciation beyond “expert” circles. In the past six months, our talented contributors have risen to the challenge of presenting their specialized work to a diverse audience, and we have a growing readership that values our perspective. We look forward to your continued support and readership as we take Ala forward. Please get in touch with us to share your valuable feedback or to submit your work.

Thank you,
The Editors.

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