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The Advanced Practices programme has contributed to my ability to approach curatorial challenges.
The first appeal of the Advanced Practices (Curatorial/ Knowledge) PhD programme at Goldsmiths College, for someone engaged in full-time teaching, as I am at the Visva Bharati University (Santiniketan, India), is its unique flexibility that allows working professionals to simultaneously pursue their study. Furthermore, the dialogic design and the interdisciplinary direction of the programme, opens up multiple possibilities in the fields of curation and critical thought, for a researcher-practitioner. This approach to curating, which lays equal stress on the visual and the conceptual, helped to strengthen my research ideas around ‘Borderlands’, an area of curatorial engagement I thought significant in the contemporary context, but least attended to in 2007, when I started my PhD.
The orientation of the programme also encouraged me to approach other projects actively during the tenure of the PhD study, as opportunities to work out curatorial ideas generated in the process. The Santhal Family exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art (MuHKA) in Antwerp, Belgium (2007-08), was one such, where I was co-curator. Conceptualised around a particular site-specific sculpture located in Santiniketan, a past context of migration was revisited in this exhibition, with a new critical, transnational and cross-cultural focus. In 2014, I worked in the Tagore Pedagogy and Modernity project, which straddled three locations- Santiniketan (India), INIVA (London) and NGBK (Berlin), and approached the Tagorean idea of education from multiple points of view and from the recipients’ perspectives. I collaboratively developed the Black House Project, around the Black House building in Santiniketan, in 2015. This was an interdisciplinary project involving architecture and visual practices, which attempted to contemporise an indigenous, early twentieth-century experiment in architecture, through public interactivity. Currently, I am engaged as official Indian researcher for the forthcoming Bauhaus100 project, and am also working as a curatorial collaborator, connecting the pedagogic aspects of Rabindranath Tagore’s educational programme for a project by Valand Academy, Sweden. I believe my association with the Advanced Practices (Curatorial/ Knowledge) programme has significantly contributed to my ability to approach curatorial challenges with a new framework informed by global intercultural interaction.
Image: Project Borderland – A workshop scene from Assam, 2012