An economist, researcher and scholar, Dr Ruchira Ghose is notable for her contributions as former chairperson of the National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum (also known as the Crafts Museum), New Delhi.
Ghose studied economics at Cambridge University, UK, where she also completed her PhD. She taught and worked as a researcher at the University for several years, and published her first book, The Behaviour of Industrial Prices in India, in 1989. Following her return to India, she chose to switch fields and work in the arts and culture sector, beginning with a stint at the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage in 1994.
In 2009, Ghose was researching sanjhi, the folk art of paper-stencilling, in Madhya Pradesh when she was approached to join the Crafts Museum as a consultant, a position she resigned from a few months later. The following year, she was appointed chairman of the museum, filling a leadership position that had been vacant since Jyotindra Jain’s departure in 2001. During her tenure, the museum underwent substantial renovations to repair the galleries, refurbish housing for craftspersons-in-residence, and improve the museum shop and café. These changes significantly impacted the popularity of the Museum, bringing in more revenue and footfall.
Ghose stepped down from her role in April 2015. That same year, she was elected as a Tagore National Fellow at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), with Indian textiles as her area of research. As part of her project, she organised an exhibition titled Mapping Indian Handcrafted Textiles at the IGNCA in September 2016. The exhibition included 155 textile objects displayed across five sections: Painted, Printed, Dyed, Applique and Embroidery. It had a strong digital component, including a central interactive display depicting diverse textile traditions on a map of India and a dedicated digital display for each section. Alongside the exhibition, she also published a report, Mapping Indian Textiles (2017), aimed at helping museums to safeguard their collections through preventive-conservation practices as well as improve methods of information-sharing on Indian textiles.
At the time of writing, Ghose lives and works in New Delhi. She is a member of the governing body of Sahapedia and on the advisory board of the Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute’s Livelihood Creation Project.
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