About Us

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 Stories— which encourages knowledge building and engagement with the visual arts of the region. You can download our annual report here.

 

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 Values

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.

Our Team

Yousuf (he/him) has a bachelor's in History from Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University and a master's in Mass Communication from AJK Mass Communication Research Centre (AJK MCRC), Jamia Millia Islamia. Specialising in video editing and cinematography, he works at the intersection of video and art. He works with MAP Academy’s Online Courses, on motion graphics design, animations, and video production.

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, and writes for Tangents. She is currently based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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 and outreach, and oversees 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.

Shahim (he/him) has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi, and a master’s in English Literature from the University of Hyderabad. His interests span cultural studies, art history, photography and cinema. At the MAP Academy, he edits articles for the Encyclopedia of Art. He is based in Kolkata.

Malini (she/they) has a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, Pune, a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Hyderabad and a master’s degree in General English from the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. Her fields of interest include semiotics, literary and cultural studies, gender and sexuality, calligraphy, music, film and theatre. At the MAP Academy, she edits the Encyclopedia of Art. She is based in Hyderabad.

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.

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.

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. She is based out of Bengaluru.

Larissa (she/her) is a curator trained as an architect and art historian, with a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a master’s in architecture degree from Princeton University. She has previously worked at the Princeton University Art Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Her research focuses on exchanges between art and architecture in 20th century Latin America and contemporary South Asia. At the MAP Academy, she focuses on Online Courses on the history of architecture.

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 looks after the research and editorial direction of the organisation’s various projects, including exhibitions.

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. 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 primarily researches and writes across projects. She is based in Mumbai.

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.

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. Mandara 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. She is based in Mumbai.

Karishma (she/her) holds a master’s degree in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling, Scotland, and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. She has worked as an editor with the Caravan Magazine and Aleph Book Company. Her research interests include literary and publishing practices in South Asia; the social and cultural history of fashion; and arts-led regeneration in communities. At MAP Academy, she edits the Encyclopedia of Art and writes for Tangents. She is based in New Delhi.

Archi (she/her) has a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London (UAL), and a bachelor’s degree in Design from National Institute of Fashion Technology. She was awarded the MEAD fellowship by UAL to study the impact of Partition on the handicraft cultures of Bengal and has curated an exhibition on the topic. Her research interest lies in craft and textiles heritage and living traditions. At the MAP Academy, she works on on visual research, licensing and the production for two projects — the Encyclopedia of Art and Timeline of Art History.

Arif holds a bachelor's degree in Electronics & Instrumentation from KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. He worked in the field of data science before pivoting to marketing. He has previously worked with SaaS, mobile gaming, and education startups. He is interested in photography and videography, and hopes to record the lives of creative individuals. At the MAP Academy, Arif leads marketing efforts and enhances digital experiences. Arif lives between various places.

Debaleena (she/her) has a master’s in Liberal Studies from Ashoka University, Delhi, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, English and French from Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry. Her research interests include living traditions and the decorative arts. As an artist and ceramist, she is interested in the methods and materials of art production through theory and praxis. She is part of the Outreach team at the MAP Academy. She is based out of Kolkata and Auroville.

Harleen (she/her) is a PhD student in Art and Art History at Stanford University. Her research interests include representations of war and violence, cartography, and early modern encounters between Europe and Asia. At the MAP Academy, Harleen writes and edits scripts for Online Courses and Tangents. She is based in California.

Krittika (she/her) has a master’s in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and a bachelor’s from St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. Her research interests include Mughal and Rajput miniature painting traditions as well as Indian modern art. At the MAP Academy, Krittika writes for the Encyclopedia of Art, as well as Tangents, working closely with both teams. She is based in New Delhi.

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. These include — Alolika De, Amorette Lyngwa, Anahita Ganjoo, Anirudh Kanisetti, Ankan Kazi, Annika Taneja, Arif Parrey, Arundhati Chauhan, Aswathy Gopinath, Bharathy Singaravel, Diya Shah, Gaurika Kumar, Gayatri Chitale, Khushmi Mehta, Margot Gorfinkle, Monalisa Behera, Namrata Arjun, Niyati Dave, Pallavi Surana, Preeti Kathuria, Pramati Anand, Radhika Saraf, Sadaf Bandeali, Shivani Kasumra, Siddharth Gandotra, Simran Agarwal, Sukanya Baskar, Sunaina Bose, Subhadeep Chowdhury, Swathi Gopalakrishnan, Tanya Singh, and Varun Nayar.

Our Collaborators

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. He has been associated with the MAP Academy's Encyclopedia of Art and Timeline of Art projects since 2020, leading their research. He continues to contribute to them in various capacities. He is based in Goa.

Dr Beth Citron is the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Asian and Asian Diaspora Art at the Asia Society Museum in New York. A 2019 recipient of the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship for research on the curatorial history of modernist art from India, she was the Founding Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Rubin Museum of Art until October 2019. She holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania and has taught in South Asian contexts as well as at the Art History Department at New York University, where she earned her BA in Fine Arts. She authored the MAP Academy’s online course, ‘Modern & Contemporary Indian Art’ that launched in 2023, and is a member of our Academic Review Panel.

Dr Annapurna Garimella’s research focuses on late mediaeval Indic architecture and the history and practices of vernacular visual and built cultures in India after Independence. Dr Garimella is the Managing Trustee of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust (A.R.T.), which has a research library and conducts independent research and teaching. She also heads Jackfruit Research and Design, an organisation with a specialised portfolio of design, research and curation. Jackfruit’s recent curatorial projects include Mutable: Ceramic and Clay Art in India Since 1947 (Piramal Museum of Art, 2017) and The Past has a Home in the Future (Dhoomimal Gallery, Connaught Place, 2024). Her newest books are the co-edited Marg volume titled The Contemporary Hindu Temple: Fragments for a History (2019) and The Long Arc of South Asian Art: A Reader in Honor of Vidya Dehejia (Women Unlimited, 2022). Designing India 1947 to the Present; A Face on a Face: South Asian Masks in the Vaidya Collection; and Digesting the Past: The Discourse of Sacralized Architectural Renovation in Southern India (14th-17th Centuries) are book manuscripts under preparation. Dr Garimella presented the lecture series, ‘A History of Indian Craft: 1850s to the present’ as part of a collaboration between the MAP Academy and A.R.T. in 2024.

Patrons

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.

Art & Photography Foundation

Art & Photography Foundation

The MAP Academy benefits from the Art & Photography Foundation’s support, advisory panel as well as from the collection and resources at the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru, which it oversees. All of our online courses are certified by the Foundation, which is committed to promoting cultural heritage by connecting the arts to communities through educational and outreach programmes.

https://www.apfoundation-india.org/

Art & Photography Foundation

Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST)

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.

https://www.ristrust.org/

Rural India Supporting Trust (RIST)

Infosys Foundation

Infosys Foundation

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.

https://www.infosys.com/infosys-foundation.html

Infosys Foundation

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 hellomapacademy@map-india.org.

Educational Partnerships

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 Head of Partnerships, Outreach & Community, Shivani Gandhi, at shivani.gandhi@map-india.org.

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 or intimidation of a sexual, physical, verbal or emotional nature, or any 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, including in written, telephonic and any other online communications.

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 posh@map-india.org. If you wish to reach out privately to any member of the Internal Committee, you can find their contact details listed here.

Shubhasree Purkayastha (Presiding Officer)
shubhasree.purkayastha@map-india.org | 99717141637

Vineet Kajrolkar
vineet.kajrolkar@map-india.org | +91 9833372113

Shraddha Jadhav
shraddha.jadhav@map-india.org | +91 9619747088

Dhruvika Bisht
dhruvika.bisht@map-india.org | +91 9582538317

Mandara Vishwanath
mandara.vishwanath@map-india.org | +91 9632776392

Aditya Pandya
aditya.pandya@map-india.org | +91 9535914586

Meghana Srinivas (External Member)
meghana@trustin.co.in | +91 9900092824