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 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 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

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 is engaged in co-creating 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. 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. She formerly worked as the Education and Outreach Associate at the Partition Museum. Her research interest lies in Islamic art and architecture and Partition studies. Shivani’s role at MAP Academy includes partnering with cultural and academic institutions and building community engagement. She is based in New Delhi.

Nathaniel (he/him) holds a Fine Art degree from the Arts University Bournemouth and a Research Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the London Consortium (a collaborative programme of the Architectural Association, Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Science Museum and the Tate Gallery). He is the author of Photography in India: A Visual History From the 1850s to the Present (Prestel) (with Dr Diva Gujral); and the editor of Hikari: Contemporary Photography from Japan (Japan Foundation), Derry Moore: In the Shadow of the Raj (Prestel/Random House), William Dalrymple: The Historian’s Eye (HarperCollins), Goh Beng Kwan: Nervous City (National Gallery Singapore) and Jyoti Bhatt, Time, and Time Again (MAP). Nathaniel served on the board of the Museum of Art & Photography (2018–21) and is a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Born in London, he is now based in Singapore where, as well as his work with the MAP Academy, he runs the museum consultancy firm Cara.

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. 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 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.

Arif (he/him) studied law and gender at Aligarh Muslim University, and is an editor, writer and communications specialist with a decade and a half of experience. His work has appeared in Until My Freedom Has Come: The New Intifada in Kashmir (Penguin India), Jammu and Kashmir: A Tangled Web (HarperCollins), This Side, That Side, Restorying Partition (Yoda Press), Carpentaria (Navayana) and The Crow, Hunter Hunter and the Kitchen Garden (DTE) as well as in numerous magazines and newspapers like the Economic and Political Weekly, the Caravan and Outlook. In addition to his work with the MAP Academy, he is also communications and editorial consultant for the Sagg Eco Village, Wande magazine and Zaanvun Lokchaar.

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 writes and organises the Encyclopedia of Art. 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. Sara primarily works with research, writing, content licensing and the production of the MAP Academy’s Online Courses. 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 writing for MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art. She is based out of New Delhi.

Amorette (she/her) holds a master's in Public History from the Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bengaluru, and a bachelor’s in Communication Studies from Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru. Her research interests include the history of the tribal communities in Northeast India, alternative museum practices and the social history of fashion and textiles. At the MAP Academy, she researches and writes Online Courses on the history of Indian Textiles. She is based in Shillong.

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 paintings from the Company School, as well as jewellery, perfume and cultures of adornment in the Indian subcontinent. At the MAP Academy, she manages the team, as well as all the content produced under the Encyclopedia of Art and its associated projects. She works from multiple locations.

Khushmi (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently pursuing a PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research interests include issues of decolonisation, archive formations and art historical pedagogy. Khushmi’s roles at the MAP Academy include editing research and scripts for the MAP Academy’s Online Courses. She is currently based in New York City.

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.

Niyati Dave (she/her, they/them) holds a bachelor’s in Art History with a concentration in Museum Studies from Smith College, USA and was an Urban Fellow at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Bangalore. She has curated contemporary art projects at Khoj Studios, Young Curators Academy and TBA21's St_age. Her research interests include archaeology, art and ecology, colonial photography, socially-engaged art and art historical pedagogy. At MAP Academy, she is responsible for external communications and audience engagement. She is based out of Mumbai and Bangalore.

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 assists with the production and delivery 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 manages and edits all projects and collaborations related to MAP Academy’s Online Courses. 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 writing for MAP Academy’s 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 Gwalior.

Diya Shah (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in History and International Relations and a postgraduate diploma in Visual Arts and Mandarin from Ashoka University. Her areas of interest include gender and sexuality, popular art and films. At the MAP Academy, she works primarily on the research and writing for the Encyclopedia for Art. She is currently based in Coimbatore.

Annika (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from Hindu College, University of Delhi, and a master’s in Modern and Contemporary Literature from the University of St Andrews, Scotland. Her areas of interest include speculative fiction, urban studies and translation. Annika edits the MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art. She is based in New Delhi.

Mandara (she/her) holds a master’s in Performance Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi, and a bachelor’s in English from Christ University, Bengaluru. She is interested in questions about gender, labour, performance and popular culture. Her recent work at MAP included large-scale digitisation of the textile collection aiming towards a collaborative effort with Microsoft to create an interactive web experience. She is based between New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Over the last two 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 — Anirudh Kanisetti, Arundhati Chauhan, Namrata Arjun, Sadaf Bandeali, Sukanya Baskar, Monalisa Behera, Sunaina Bose, Subhadeep Chowdhury, Siddharth Gandotra, Swathi Gopalakrishnan, Margot Gorfinkle, Preeti Kathuria, Ankan Kazi, Varun Nayar, Shivani Kasumra, Pallavi Surana and Bharathy Singaravel.

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 Partnerships & Communications Manager, 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 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 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.

Arnika Ahldag (Presiding Officer)
arnika.ahldag@map-india.org | +91 9899163248

Carolina Artegiani
carolina.artegiani@map-india.org | +91 8296939182

Prachi Gupta
prachi.gupta@map-india.org | +91 9987749471

Shrey Maurya
shrey.maurya@map-india.org | +91 7217873782

Mustafa Khanbhai
mustafa.khanbhai@map-india.org | +91 8860595056

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

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

Dancer's Headpiece

Dancer's Headpiece in the Form of a Panjurli Bhuta (boar spirit deity), 18th century, copper alloy, Kerala. Courtesy the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.