Welcome! This Short Course is designed for anyone curious about the rich story of one of the world’s most innovative producers of textiles – the Indian subcontinent. Its lessons include a series of engaging videos and illustrated texts that provide insights into processes of textile production, trace their historical trajectories and examine the place of textile traditions within broader visual cultures through other art forms such as paintings, drawings and photographs. We traverse a long stretch of time from the premodern period to the contemporary moment, adopting a thematic approach to an expansive history.
Through this, you will:
- Become familiar with basic terms, techniques, styles, motifs and functions associated with textiles from the subcontinent.
- Gain an understanding of the vast networks of trade, cultural exchange and influence tethered to the histories and development of South Asian textiles.
- Recognise the intimate relationships that textile-making communities of artisans, who belong to centuries-long lineages, have with their work.
- Develop a wider appreciation for the legacies of textile techniques and traditions that continue to inspire contemporary designers and visual artists.
Who is the course for?
Whether you are a school student, fashion enthusiast or someone interested in gaining more perspectives on cultural histories of the world, this Course has something for you. All you need to benefit from our content is an open mind and a desire to learn. No prior knowledge of art history or textile studies is required.
Who wrote the course?
The course is written by the research and editorial team of the MAP Academy. To find out more about the MAP Academy, its mission and our team, click here.
How long will it take?
Approximately 3-3.5 hours, but you can work through it at your own pace.
This Short Course is free of charge, and you can enrol today by registering through the link above.
How to navigate this course?
This course is divided into seven lessons that comprise a number of topics presented in the form of short videos, or illustrated texts. You are required to go through these in sequential order, and must complete a quiz at the end of each to check your progress and continue. At any point, you are welcome to participate in the Course Discussion Forum, where you can meet and engage with a community of online learners and textile enthusiasts, to share further insights, or ask any questions.
Once you have registered, you can either click the “Start” button at the top of this page, or the first Lesson, “Histories, Identities and Innovations” below to begin. Using your login credentials, you should be able to re-enter the Course at any point through your computer, phone or tablet, and continue from where you left off.
A Note on Terminology:
Whilst the Course discusses textiles from the Indian subcontinent, the phrases, ‘Indian’ and ‘South Asian’ are often used interchangeably across its content. Although phrases such as ‘Indian Textiles’ or ‘Indian Art’ may seem to attribute ideas, developments or traditions to the geo-political region that comprises present-day India, these histories transcend the borders of nation-states, and we hope to draw attention to the shared traditions, cultures and connections across the subcontinent and beyond.
This region is also home to hundreds of languages and dialects. As a result, its artisan communities have a range of unique vocabularies for textile practices and methods. The textile terminology used in this course, oftentimes indigenous terms transliterated into English, can have alternative spellings, pronunciations and phrasing in regional languages.