We are a team of researchers, editors, writers and creatives united by a shared goal of building more equitable resources for the study of art histories from the Indian subcontinent. We work and collaborate remotely across India, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States, and together, we have built the MAP Academy — a non-profit online platform consisting of an Encyclopedia, Courses and a Blog— which encourages knowledge building and engagement with the visual arts of the region.
Our Encyclopedia covers explanations of techniques and materials, thematic essays on historical trends and biographies of artists and institutions. This expanding set of articles adopts the sensibilities of traditional encyclopedic conventions while adapting to the digital medium and its possibilities.
Our Online Courses, most of which are in production and launching soon, are underpinned by our Core Course Programme, which includes introductory histories to Textiles; Photography; Modern & Contemporary Art; Craft; Narrative Painting; and Archeology, Sculpture & Architecture. These contain knowledge-based, skill-based and case study-based content taught through audio, text and videos in asynchronous formats suitable for self-paced learning.
Currently a majority of our content focuses on art from within the modern geographic boundaries of India, and we are in the process of expanding to include broader histories of South Asia.
The MAP Academy is a project of the Art & Photography Foundation, a Public Charitable Trust registered in Bengaluru in 2011 that has 80G, 12AA, CSR and FCRA certifications. Whilst our work is supported by the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bengaluru, our editorial choices are independent.
Mission and Vision
Our aim is to make art histories more accessible, based on the idea that doing so can have a positive social impact through broadening perspectives on humanity, heritage and culture.
Our work has a responsibility to three main groups of people, which underpins our organisational culture as well as the work we undertake within it.
- The public: Because a curious and general global audience is key to all editorial and pedagogical work.
- The people and communities we write about: Because we believe that any sustained and comprehensive engagement with art histories must come from a place of respect and understanding for the social worlds and communities from which they emerge.
- Ourselves, our partners and collaborators: Because being respectful and supportive aids collaboration and ideas.
Our values include:
- Maintaining a belief in our work and its potential for positive impact.
- Creating a culture of constructive feedback and openness to discussion.
- Working responsibly and being accountable.
Pramati (she/her) has a master’s in Film and Video Communication from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad, and a bachelor’s in Fashion Communication from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Mumbai. Her key area of interest lies at the intersections of cinema and ethnography. Pramati co-creates videos for all Online Courses at the MAP Academy. She works from multiple locations.
Chandrica (she/her) holds a master’s in Medieval Literatures and Cultures from the University of Edinburgh, UK and a bachelor’s in English from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Michigan, researching posthumanism, critical race theory and archives of global coloniality. Chandrica edits research and scripts for MAP Academy’s Online Courses. She is currently based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Simran (she/her) holds a Bachelor's degree in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and a master’s in Arts and Aesthetics from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her research interests include garden cultures, sartorial traditions and early modern court paintings of South Asia. At the MAP Academy, she works primarily on the research and writing for the Encyclopedia for Art and Stories. She is currently based out of Delhi.
Shivani (she/her) has a master’s degree in Art History and Aesthetics from the Faculty of Fine Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, and a bachelor’s degree in Art Management from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research interest lies in Islamic art and architecture, and Partition Studies. At present she manages partnerships, outreach and overseas community engagement and audience growth, with a focus on building MAP Academy's visibility. She is based in New Delhi.
Nathaniel (he/him) is a curator and writer, and the former director of the Tasveer Gallery. He is the author of Photography in India: A Visual History from the 1850s to the Present (Prestel, 2018), and editor of several other books on photography in Asia, including William Dalrymple’s The Historian’s Eye (HarperCollins India), Derry Moore’s In the Shadow of the Raj (Prestel, 2017) and Karan Kapoor’s Time & Tide and Hikari: Contemporary Photography from Japan. He received a BA in Fine Art from the Arts University College, Bournemouth, and an MA in Cultural Studies from the London Consortium. He lives between Bengaluru and Singapore.
Aswathy (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from St Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, and a master’s in English Literature from the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad. Her research interests include art history, gender and sexuality, mythology and folklore. At the MAP Academy, she edits the Encyclopedia of Art and writes for Stories. She is based in New Delhi.
Milad (he/him) has a bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of Calicut and a Master’s in Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, where he specialised in Animation Film Design. His areas of interest include the history of film and video games. At the MAP Academy, he works closely with the research team at the Online Courses project to conceptualise and create animated, illustrated and video content. He is based between Alleppey and Kochi.
Gayatri (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in Philosophy from Hindu College, University of Delhi, and a master’s from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, where she is currently writing her M.Phil. dissertation on memorials constructed to commemorate the dead. Her research interests include funerary monuments and eighteenth-century art. At the MAP Academy, she works primarily on the research and writing for the Encyclopedia for Art. She is based out of Indore and New Delhi.
Aditya (he/him) holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from IGNOU, New Delhi, and has also studied art and design at Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology, Bengaluru. He has worked as a writer and editor for various academic and literary publications, as well as being an illustrator, designer and teacher. His research interests include visual art, history, poetry, language, somatic movement and the processes of art and craft. At the MAP Academy, he leads the editorial team working on the Encyclopedia of Art. He is based in Auroville.
Mustafa Khanbhai (he/him) completed his bachelor’s in Visual Art (Sculpture) from MS University (MSU), Vadodara, and his master’s in Visual Art from Ambedkar University, Delhi. He takes a particular interest in living traditions, mythology and alternative historical narratives. At the MAP Academy, he oversees and organises the research at the Encyclopedia of Art and Timeline of Art History. He is based in Goa.
Sara (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from Ashoka University, Sonipat. Her research interests include popular and visual culture, postcolonial studies and material culture. While Sara previously served as the Research and Media Resources Manager at the MAP Academy, she now oversees the development of the Online Courses project. She is based out of Bengaluru.
Gaurika (she/her) has a bachelor’s and post graduate diploma in Political Science from Ashoka University. Her research interests lie in the nexus of arts, culture and contentious politics. Gaurika contributes primarily to visual research and writes for the Encyclopedia of Art. She is based out of New Delhi.
Shrey (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, and a master’s in Visual Art from Ambedkar University, Delhi. She also holds a diploma in South Asian Painting from Jnanapravaha, Mumbai. Her research interests include miniature painting, Buddhist art, handloom textiles, botanical painting from the Company School, as well as jewellery, perfume and cultures of adornment in the Indian subcontinent. Shrey helped set up the MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art project, and is currently responsible for the research and editorial direction of the organisation’s various projects. She is based in Bengaluru.
Krishna P Unny (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in History from Stella Maris College, Chennai. She received the Young India Fellowship and her master’s in Liberal Studies from Ashoka University. Her research interests include performance, cities, and cultural histories of South Asia. She works with MAP Academy’s Online Courses team in research, writing, and production. Krishna is currently based in Palakkad, Kerala.
Amitha (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in Combined Humanities from Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, where she studied literature, history and philosophy. Her research interests include the interactions between memory, photography and the digital age. Amitha primarily works with visual research, licensing and the production of MAP Academy’s Online Courses. She is based in Bengaluru.
Pooja (she/her) received her master’s in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London and has a bachelor’s in Political Science and Media & Performance from Trinity College, Connecticut. Previously, she has worked at the Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum and Project 88, and has contributed to The Hindu and ART India Magazine. She is currently studying Persian and her research interests include modern and contemporary art, Islamic art and textiles. Pooja helped set up the MAP Academy’s Online Courses project, and is currently responsible for the organisation’s larger strategies, deliverables and collaborations. She is based in Mumbai.
Rachna (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in Mass Media from the University of Mumbai and a post-graduate diploma in Museology and Conservation from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai. She is interested in folk and performing arts, as well as sports and popular culture. Rachna contributes to primary research and writes for the Encyclopedia of Art. She is based in Mumbai.
Tanya (she/her) holds a bachelor’s and a master’s in English Literature from the University of Delhi’s Miranda House and Jesus and Mary College, respectively. She was previously associated with an independent press. Her areas of interest include dissent, gender, sexuality, queer love and climate change. Tanya used to edit the MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art. She now edits research and scripts for the Online Courses. She is based in New Delhi.
Sarthak (he/him) has a bachelor’s in History from the University of Delhi. His research interests include but are not limited to Bhakti in medieval India, Sanskrit Kavya poetry and Braj poetry. He helps with image research and writing for the Online Courses at MAP Academy. He is currently based in Delhi.
Anahita (she/her) holds a bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Art Practice from Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology, Bengaluru and has also studied performance and choreography at the Inter-University Centre for Dance at the University of the Arts, Berlin. Her research interests include examining dance and its histories through a decolonial lens. At the MAP Academy, she edits the Encyclopedia of Art. She is based in Bengaluru.
Mandara (she/her) holds a master’s in Performance Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi, and a bachelor’s in English Honours from Christ University, Bengaluru. She is interested in questions about gender, labour, performance and popular culture. Her recent work at MAP included digitising the textile collection in a collaborative effort with Microsoft to create INTERWOVEN. Previously, Mandara worked on setting up marketing and communications initiatives at the MAP Academy, and at present she leads strategy and production at two projects — the Timeline of Art History & GIS. She is based in Mumbai.
Shruti (she/her) holds a bachelor's degree in Fashion Communication from the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Her research interests include Indian textiles and craft, and she has worked on several communication projects for craft clusters in India. At the MAP Academy, she works closely with the outreach team to create communication material as well as the user interfacs for the organisation's various core projects. She is based in Mumbai.
Over the last three years, the MAP Academy team has seen valuable contributions from many research associates and editors who have since joined other organisations and institutions. Both the Encyclopedia and the Online Courses have benefitted from the presence of the following people — Amorette Lyngwa, Anirudh Kanisetti, Ankan Kazi, Annika Taneja, Arif Parrey, Arundhati Chauhan, Bharathy Singaravel, Diya Shah, Khushmi Mehta, Margot Gorfinkle, Monalisa Behera, Namrata Arjun, Niyati Dave, Pallavi Surana, Preeti Kathuria, Sadaf Bandeali, Shivani Kasumra, Siddharth Gandotra, Sukanya Baskar, Sunaina Bose, Subhadeep Chowdhury, Swathi Gopalakrishnan and Varun Nayar.
We are grateful for the generosity of our first two major patrons whose commitment and support will help us grow our project and realise our ambitious goals.
Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST)
The Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST), established in 2007, aims to address concerns about the well being of communities in India, by supporting projects and organisations that work on solutions to societal inequities and poverty. Its core focus areas include Health, Education, Disability, Environment and Emergency Response. They began supporting the MAP Academy in 2023, and through their support we are furthering our ongoing efforts towards inclusivity in our approach and representation of artforms from across the region.
The Infosys Foundation was established to support the less privileged sections of society, create opportunities and strive towards a more equitable society. It supports projects in areas of healthcare, education, arts and culture, destitute care and rural development. Through their support, starting in 2023, we aim to explore the use of technology in a variety of ways to ensure that our projects – that broaden perspectives on humanity, heritage and culture – are made as engaging and accessible as possible to all, so that they can realise their potential for positive social impact.
Academic Review Panel
The Academic Review Panel (ARP) comprises a key group of specialists, academics and scholars from across disciplines, and includes names such as Anjali Gujral, Anjan Chakraverty, Cleo Roberts-Komireddi, Mayank Mansingh Kaul, Monisha Ahmed, Rahul Mehrotra, Rosemary Crill, Shukla Sawant, Beth Citron, Sylvia Houghteling and Yael Rice.
The members of the panel advise, review and give feedback to the MAP Academy’s researchers and editors on our encyclopedia articles and online course content. The Academic Review Panel’s work is voluntary, and selection is on an invitation basis, reviewed periodically to reflect the needs of the project.
Our Process and Approach
Considering that no history of art can ever be objective or finished, our approach is flexible, using a digital platform to produce, publish, contextualise and challenge existing canons and categories.
We are committed to presenting art histories from a non-hierarchical perspective while remaining sensitive to inequities that have long governed the subject. Most of our content is written, edited and peer-reviewed by our in-house team, and we consider a range of sources when conducting research — from oral traditions to sacred and mythological texts and histories to subject-specific interviews. All of our work is advised by a panel of scholars, writers and art practitioners from across the world, who make up our Academic Review Panel (ARP). We also actively partner with scholars and educational and cultural organisations, especially while writing our Online Courses.
We acknowledge the potential for error and are always open to feedback on any aspect of our work, no matter how granular. Each of our articles and courses includes feedback forms at the end. Given the breadth we aim to cover, the first iteration of our Encyclopedia does not exhaustively cover all artists, traditions, techniques and institutions. However, we will add new articles to our website every month and are always open to suggestions on content we should include. You can help us grow and improve by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While our platform and content are available to everyone, the key to our mission is working directly with schools and educational institutions, especially within the Indian subcontinent (during the current phase of the project), to increase the number of students who have access to knowledge around art histories. We are in the early stages of this journey and are actively developing academic partnerships. If you work with schools, universities and educators, we would love to hear from you. You can contact our Partnerships & Communications Manager, Shivani Gandhi, at email@example.com.
Policy on Sexual Harrassment
The MAP Academy is committed to providing a safe space for everyone. All staff members, vendors, partners and visitors are required to be proactive in creating a welcoming and inclusive space. This code of conduct applies to physical as well as online engagements. MAP Academy is compliant with the PoSH Act (Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place [Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal]), 2013.
The organisation will not tolerate any harassment and intimidation of a sexual, physical, verbal or emotional nature based on prejudice relating to age, disability, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic status, caste, ideology or culture. Respect of physical and emotional boundaries must be maintained at all times.
Should you be a witness to any such instances of harassment, we ask you to offer your support to the person needing it in the way they deem safest. If you are in doubt, please contact the Internal Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to reach out privately to any member of the Internal Committee, you can find their contact details listed here.
Arnika Ahldag (Presiding Officer)
email@example.com | +91 9899163248
firstname.lastname@example.org | +91 8296939182
email@example.com | +91 9987749471
firstname.lastname@example.org | +91 7217873782
email@example.com | +91 8860595056
Meghana Srinivas (External Member)
firstname.lastname@example.org | +91 9900092824