M.A. in Public History and Heritage Interpretation

Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology

Program Description

M.A. in Public History and Heritage Interpretation

Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology

M.A. in Public History and Heritage Interpretation

We are surrounded by the past in our present. Everything from our clothes, our food, to the landscapes we inhabit and the ways in which we see and understand our worlds is a product of intertwined histories. Public history encompasses an examination of possible and present engagements with these pasts. Working with multiple, fluid, and shifting audiences, public historians engage with people’s histories and memories of past events. While historians recognize that everyone and everything functions within frameworks that have historical contexts, public historians put this into practice outside of academia. Informed by scholarly traditions and, increasingly, by modes of knowledge centered outside of campuses and institutions, public historians work to provide points of access to all kinds of histories.

As practitioners in the field, public historians constantly negotiate the questions ‘which public?’ and ‘whose history?’ Relying on the opportunities offered by these inquiries, they endeavor to open meaningful dialogues with and between publics through active collaboration with audiences in numerous community spaces and heritage sites, and with practitioners of living and embodied histories.

The Srishti MA in Public History and Heritage Interpretation offers students a programme like no other, enriched by insights from design and humanities thinking. This ‘hands-on’ program enables students to explore the possibilities that art and design offer in understanding peoples’ experiences, narrating histories and creating spaces where a multiplicity of voices from the past can be heard. At Srishti, students will build a practice in public history and benefit from the presence of the Centre for Public History, located on campus, and its international networks and experienced staff. Students will also be exposed to ongoing dialogues with other courses in the School of New Humanities and Design, particularly within the space of shared studios.

The opportunities offered by these dialogues will help inform students’ work as practitioners of public history and provide them with insights to move the field in new directions in a South Asian and global context. This program enables students to explore possibilities that art and design offer in understanding peoples’ experiences, narrating the history and representing a multiplicity of perspectives. We encourage students to bring new thinking to the understanding of historical knowledge through the exploration of a multiplicity of voices. This program builds the capacity for exploring a critical understanding of what the past means to different communities and provides the tools to communicate that through visual communication, video and digital media.

Students are enabled to present and interpret history in a wide variety of venues and through multiple media, becoming curators, communicators, and designers of history. dli-18a


The following constitute the core disciplines:

  • Aesthetics and Critical Studies
  • Critical Geography
  • Curatorial Studies
  • Digital Arts
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Literary Studies
  • Service Design
  • Visual Communication Design

Learning will involve a combination of the following skills:

  • Archival Research and Documentation
  • Writing
  • Interviewing and Transcription
  • Visual Communication
  • Digital Archiving
  • Film


Research and Collaboration

The students under this program will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti.

  • Art in Transit
  • Bangalore Human Sciences Initiatives (BHSI)
  • Center for Education, Research, Training, and Development (CERTAD)
  • Center for Public History (CPH)
  • Design+Environment+Law Laboratory (DEL Laboratory)
  • Srishti Films
  • The Kabir Project
  • Writing Center
  • School of Media, Arts, and Sciences
  • School of Design, Business, and Technology


Course Structure

  1. Studios: provide intense learning experiences and enable discourse through making and thinking. It will be a core practice space where students will draw from their learning and critical thought from individual M.A. seminar-studios here for a more enriched understanding and experience. It is envisioned as a space for experimenting, synthesizing knowledge and practices through immersive engagement, intuition, contextual learning, design processes and creative methodologies.
  2. Seminar-Studios - To fully explore different learning potentials offered by the humanities and design, this school offers Seminar-Studio as a core learning and investigating space, where text-based scholarship and research practices will be mobilized and reoriented toward an active and experiential engagement with contemporary concerns.
  3. Workshops provide a platform for debate and emergence, through a dialogue between material making and critical thinking. This 2-week engagement in each semester allows students to formulate independent responses to ideas and processes, material and immaterial.
  4. Summer Practice (Practice), with an organization, a center or a lab at Srishti or a self-initiated project, is an integral part of learning, and demonstrating students' abilities to integrate and synthesize in a field, context or environment. Students will engage in a practice during the summer after their first year of the M.A. that will lead to developing their focus area for capstone or dissertation.
  5. 'Interlude' (Practice) - This is a space in which the student will pursue a practical engagement related to their field of study that is creative, reflective and extensive. Students will work collaboratively to conceptualize an experiment, symposium or exhibition, and public engagement or demonstration. The work done in the studios may be extended into this mode or may intersect with Interim Semester (odd semesters only)
  6. The seminar is a space for investigating a particular idea, topic, praxis, etc. by discussion and /or dialogue, and may also involve crits, pin-ups, presentations, etc. of either works-in-progress or completed works for feedback.
  7. Dissertation or Capstone Project in the final semester is the synthesis and demonstration of capabilities to see the world in new ways and study human cultures through its creative practices.

Learning Approach

This master will provide students with a critical and theoretical framework in which to consider historical materials, narratives and moments. Using ‘hands-on’ engagement with existing scholarship, students will gain practical public history experience and develop their own craft in a field that is expanding and shifting in exciting ways. The incorporation of design methodologies in studios, seminars, and workshops, along with exposure to a range of mediums and technologies used by public historians in a variety of physical and digital spaces, offers students a well-rounded skill-set that is in conversation with ongoing debates in the field.


  • Collaborate and share authorship with communities to 'give back' and create public spaces where history is accessible to multiple audiences
  • Enable a meaningful dialogue with history and heritage
  • Find histories and pasts in the cultural expressions of a community or an individual
  • Be able to contextualize and historicize narratives
  • Be able to understand the importance of 'self' in the construction of narratives
  • Develop a sensitivity to the realness of emotions evoked by historical narratives
  • Build a sense of responsibility to all stakeholders, and an understanding of ownership and agency
  • Develop an ability to listen to sources
  • Create innovative points of access to histories (such as digital, sensorial, performative, visual) designed with audience in mind
  • Interpretation and analysis of different materials such as spaces/places, memories, objects, oral and living traditions
  • Imagine new possibilities for communicating histories
  • Learn to apply theoretical frameworks in public history practice
  • Understand and navigate institutional archives, oral traditions, and cultural arts as locations of history and heritage
  • Collaborate with a range of professionals who engage with heritage in museums, archaeological sites and in classrooms
  • Ability to re-examine positions and paradigms


  • Museum Curator
  • Museum and Gallery Content Developer
  • Exhibition Designer
  • Archival Professional
  • Heritage Programmer
  • Heritage Designer


For further information, kindly email Srijan Mandal at srijan.mandal@srishti.ac.in

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 17, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
July 2018
2 years
Full time
India - Bangalore, Karnataka
Start date: July 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
July 2018
India - Bangalore, Karnataka
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info