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Museums & the City Workshop


Day 1: Tuesday, September 24, 2019

4:00 pm — 6:00 pm
Welcome and Museum Tour
Tea at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria 
6:00 pm
Keynote Lecture at the CSMVS Visitors’ Centre Auditorium
Jyotindra Jain, Tagore National Fellow, Professor of Arts & Aesthetics (retd.), JNU 

Day 2: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

(All Sessions at the CSMVS Visitors’ Centre Auditorium)

9:30 am — 11:00 am
SESSION 1: Models of Cultural Partnership

For a museum to function as a crucial ingredient of cultural infrastructure it should reimagine its public interface. Talking about models of partnership in the museum sector, particularly with other organizations, will provide examples of how successfully, albeit not without struggles, museums have started a conversation with science and technology institutes, business institutes, educational institutes, financial bigwigs and policy makers. This also involves collaborations in the international sphere – with museums and cultural institutions in other countries which demonstrate how people in different societies engage with culture. This allows museums to reach out, both with a long arm and a short. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity for the museum as an institution, currently in the margins of economy, to shift into the mainstream narrative. Should the museum step out of its safe-zone and begin collaborating with other sectors? What would this require and what could this achieve in the interest of the museum?

  • Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, CSMVS
  • Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School
  • Khushroo N. Suntook, Chairman, National Centre for Performing Arts
  • Vinod Daniel, Chairman, AusHeritage
  • Jeff Steward, Department of Digital Infrastructure and Technologies, Harvard University
  • Moderated by Meena Hewett, Executive Director, Lakshmi Mittal and Family-South Asia Institute, Harvard University
11:00 am — 11:30 am
TEA at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria
11:30 am — 1:00 pm
SESSION 2: Platform vs Container – Programming and Presentation in Museums Today

Programming and presentation in museums today has also seen a surge in a different direction. The museum has become a platform, rather than a container (of collections). The collections in museums are the carriers of pathbreaking ideas relevant to society today and that is being increasingly realized through programs in museums all over the country. Such sentiments also reflect in the design of temporary and permanent galleries. Presentation in museums have elevated from laboratory-like displays to experiential moments that allow the visitor to engage, not just intellectually, but also emotionally and spiritually. On the other hand, the realities of digital learning demand a reshaping of traditional knowledge transfer models in museums, the idea of engagement stretches beyond a physical visit and takes it to a plane of conversation rather than one-way knowledge transfer. But are museums engaging with the digital in a meaningful way? Should the museum play a larger social role? Can it do so through its core resources and collections? And most importantly, will this help in their survival?

  • Ranjit Hoskote, Consultant, Academic Programming, CSMVS and Cultural Theorist
  • Vaidehi Savnal, International Relations, CSMVS
  • Nandini Somaya Sampat, Somaya and Kalappa Associates
  • Moderated by Joyoti Roy, Head of Marketing and Strategy, CSMVS
1:00 pm — 2:00 pm
LUNCH at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria
2:00 pm — 3:30 pm
SESSION 3: Museum Governance and Patronage

The role of museum leadership has also changed over the years. Museum directors and patrons are steering the museum institution through unseen territories that challenge its capacity, its interventive role and its business model. Government museums, private museums and even contemporary art galleries are now invested in creating museums, moving out of their traditional role of art-dealing. Museum governance and patronage is not only driving museums into innovation, they are also taking up brave-bold steps to expand and create new models of resource building and scaling up. But what comes in the way of innovation in museums? What are the biggest financial challenges museums face today? What are the biggest leadership challenges museums grapple with?

  • TR Doongaji, Trustee, CSMVS
  • Debasis Ghosh, Citi India
  • Anjani Kumar, Nodal Officer, Bihar Museum
  • Alka Pande, Curator, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre
  • Jayanta Sengupta, Secretary and Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
  • Moderated by Kamini Sawhney, former Curator, JNAF, Mumbai
3:30 pm — 4:00 pm
TEA at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria
4:00 pm — 5:00 pm
SESSION 4: Museum and the City

Amidst several other institutions in a city, particularly cultural institutions, the museum has remained underutilized in its potential. The fact that it is a fundamental building block of cultural infrastructure that can change the manner in which public engagement can happen in urban environs has often been neglected. The umbilical relationship between museums and cities needs to be re-visualized for the next generation. We need to understand how the museum will locate itself in the future and how will that impact public participation, not necessarily only in numbers but also in spirit. Can this be achieved only by the museum or does the city need to think about it as well?

  • Bose Krishnamachari, Artist and Founder of The Kochi Biennale
  • Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Moderated by Mustansir Dalvi, Professor of Architecture, Sir JJ School of Art

Day 3: Thursday, September 26, 2019

9:30 am — 11:00 am
SESSION 5: The Museum as Cultural Infrastructure

Not limited to metropolises, even smaller cities in India are experimenting with existing museums and giving them new purpose. It is particularly interesting to see that when cities like Patna, Jodhpur, Bhopal, Amritsar, Jaipur, Goa and Kochi undertake any cultural intervention, it grips the city and the country in its folds. In the last decade all these cities have carved a cultural identity of theirs that stem from successful and innovative cultural projects – new museum facilities, art fairs, literary festivals, social projects and several such. Many of them have strong business plans that can ensure their survival and growth in the coming years. How has this been possible and why are they so crucial to the society in which they thrive? How has the city invested in them as their partners in image building? Has the museum realized its full potential as an important building block of cultural infrastructure?

  • Dadiba Pundole, Pundole Art Gallery
  • Deborah Thiagarajan, Founder-Director, Dakshinachitra, Tamil Nadu
  • Tapati Guha Thakurta, Centre for Social Science Research, Kolkata, West Bengal
  • Moderated by Ranjit Hoskote, Writer, poet and Cultural Theorist
11:00 am — 11:30 am
TEA at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria
11:30 am — 1:00 pm
SESSION 5 continued 
  • Karni Singh Jasol, Director, Mehrangarh Museum, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
  • Mallika Ahluwalia, CEO, The Partition Museum, Amritsar, Punjab
  • Benny Kuriakose, The Muziris Project
  • Moderated by Kaiwan Mehta, theorist and critic of visual culture
1:00 pm — 2:00 pm
LUNCH at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria
2:00 pm — 3:30 pm
SESSION 6: The Future of Conservation

In a dedicated session on the future of conservation there will be discussions on how to chart out a path where technical fields such as conservation and preservation can also interact with other arts faculties – art history, material science, digital learning, training, infrastructure building and design. How can conservation be communicated in the mainstream? How can it become a multi-disciplinary field? How should India think about training and curriculum development for conservation?

  • Shikha Jain, Dronah Foundation, Gurgaon
  • Nilabh Sinha, INTACH Art Conservation Centre, Delhi
  • Anupam Sah, Head of Conservation, CSMVS
  • Moderated by Vinod Daniel, Chairman of Board, AusHeritage
3:30 pm — 4:00 pm
TEA at the Visitors’ Centre Cafeteria 
4:00 pm — 5:30 pm
SESSION 7 : Wrap-Up Discussion

Closing session.

  • TR Doongaji, Rahul Mehrotra, and Shikha Jain
  • Moderated by Sabyasachi Mukherjee