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.
While 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 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.
Arundhati (they/them) holds a bachelor’s in English Literature from Miranda House, University of Delhi, and a master’s in Arts and Aesthetics from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi, where they are currently working on their MPhil dissertation. Their research interests include popular image-making practices, political iconography and identity-making in postcolonial India. Arundhati contributes to primary research and writing for MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art. They are based between Lucknow and New 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.
Anirudh (he/him) holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) with a minor in Philosophy, Economics and Politics. Anirudh’s work focuses on ancient and early medieval India with an emphasis on visual arts, political violence and courtly culture. He is the author of Lords of the Deccan: Southern India from the Chalukyas to the Cholas (2022) — a new history of medieval South India based on art history, literature and archaeology. He works with the editorial team of the MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art, with a special focus on pre-modern art from southern India. He is based in Hyderabad.
Shivani (she/her) holds a bachelor’s in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and a master’s in Art and Aesthetics from the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), where she is writing her MPhil dissertation on contemporary art. She is interested in intellectual history and art and visual culture from the nineteenth century onwards. At the MAP Academy, she works primarily on the research and writing for the Encyclopedia for Art. She is based in New Delhi.
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, 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.
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.
Varun (he/him) received his master’s in Postcolonial and World Literatures from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, prior to which he worked in magazine journalism in the United States. His research interests include the history of photography, literature and news media in South Asia, and his writing has appeared in Foam, Himal Southasian, Nat Geo Traveller India and Words Without Borders, among other publications and exhibitions. Varun managed all editorial efforts for the MAP Academy’s Encyclopedia of Art until its launch. Currently, he works at the Aperture Foundation and is based in Mumbai.
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.
Pallavi (she/her) graduated from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, where she specialised in Contemporary Art, and received a bachelor's in Philosophy from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi. Her research interests include modern and contemporary art and photography, with a focus on post-colonial studies. At the MAP Academy, Pallavi researches and writes Online Courses on the history of Indian textiles. She has also recorded voiceovers for MAP Academy’s video content. She is based between Delhi and Goa.
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 — Namrata Arjun, Sadaf Bandeali, Sukanya Baskar, Monalisa Behera, Sunaina Bose, Subhadeep Chowdhury, Siddharth Gandotra, Swathi Gopalakrishnan, Margot Gorfinkle, Preeti Kathuria, Ankan Kazi 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 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.