Learning with Art: Further Explorations

16 Aug, 2014, Saturday | 11am – 5pm
FICA Reading Room | D42 Defence Colony

Participation through invite only | This event is part of FICA Homepage 2014

The main focus of this symposium will be to engage with artists, educators and teachers, to determine the need for and impact of art education in India, especially at school level. The agenda will be to exchange personal teaching methodologies, ideas and knowledge about the role of art in the overall development of a child. We also hope to engage with methods and possibilities of integrating art education into the larger curriculum in schools. This programme has been envisioned as an extension of an ongoing art education project run by FICA at Deepalaya School Kalkaji Extension called “Learning with Art” (the FICA Club) which focuses on developing art education tools to facilitate learning for first-generation learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. This programme has now shifted to towards working with teachers from this year, and through this engagement we hope to develop art education resources which we can take back to teachers both at Deepalaya and elsewhere. 

The emphasis of the project is to –

  • Learn about the art, history and culture which is otherwise marginalized in schools
  • Learn via seeing and doing
  • Learn to explore and do one’s own research in any area of interest
  • Integrate creative learning methods to school curriculum so that the student’s interest and potential can be explored beyond the usual methods of tests and exams
  • Increase self confidence in students through group activities and shared learning
  • Learn directly from artists, creative professionals and other experts through doing workshops

In short, the project aims to develop a transformative pedagogy using art, enhance the experience of creative learning by emphasizing on participation and process rather than on individual output.

The symposium will seek to bring together a network of resource people (teachers, artists, educators) to develop sustainable ways to introduce art education into school curriculum, and through other independent ways (such as workshops, art courses, etc.) to student groups. The key questions are – how do we see art education as a part of the overall learning experience? How can independent institutions of arts and educators/artists already engaged in the task of working with student groups come together to exchange ideas and methods? How do we make the process more systematic and accessible?

Focus and Agenda -

  1. Form a network of educators dedicated to working through art in the field of education.
  2. To develop project modules which can be replicated in schools and with other groups, integrating art education with everyday teaching of mainstream subjects like science, math, history, geography etc.
  3. To initiate and develop an art education curriculum which can be proposed to schools (depending of the nature of the group of students.)
  4. To use the resources that FICA has access to, such as artists, art works, exhibitions in the city etc., and make the best use of this in the development of the course.
  5. To put together a reader with resources on art which educators and art teachers in schools can access to develop their own courses

Schedule - 

10:30 – 11:00        Tea

11:00 - 11:15            Introduction to the symposium by Vidya Shivadas and Bhooma Padmanabhan

11:15 – 12:00          Key note address: Maya Krishna Rao

Maya Krishna Rao is a Delhi-based actor, director, writer, educator and activist, recognized for her original and innovative productions. Since the late 1970s, she has produced a body of work that has provoked her audiences to delve into social and political issues, even as it has amused and entertained them. A founder-member of the street theatre group Theatre Union, Shrimati Maya Rao scripted, directed, and performed powerful street plays such as Om Swaha, a critique of dowry, and Dafa No. 180, on the Indian rape law, between 1979 and 1982. In later years, she has produced a succession of compelling single-actor plays such as Ravanama, Are You Home Lady Macbeth?, A Deep Fried Jam, and Heads Are Meant for Walking Into. Her production Quality Street, based on a short story by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, received great acclaim. Rao has received training in Kathakali from Gurus Madhava Pannikar and Sadanam Balakrishnan.
She has studied politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and theatre arts at Leeds University, UK. She has worked briefly with the Perspectives Theatre Company in Nottingham, UK, designing programmes of community interest, and with the Leeds Playhouse Theatre-in-Education Company creating theatre programmes for schools. At home, too, she has been much involved with children’s theatre, conceiving, scripting, and directing a number of plays for the NSD’s TIE Company as well as conducting school teacher workshops. She was Associate Professor at NSD from 1985 to 1990, and then visiting faculty at the School for many years.  A member of NCERT's National Curriculum Framework Committee, she has drafted a drama syllabus for Classes I to XII. She has also formulated the Drama syllabus for B.El.Ed (Bachelor in Elementary Education), Delhi University, 2008. Rao received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for her contribution to Indian theatre as an actor in 2010.

12:00 – 12:45        Eliza Hilton, Flow India www.flowindia.com  and Manmeet Devgun

As Director of Flow India, Eliza Hilton leads the development, content and delivery of Flow’s education programmes in India. Prior to founding Flow India Eliza was a project manager and then was a teacher.  She has worked for the Aga Khan Foundation in South Asia, Central Asia and East Africa, and has lived in provincial Afghanistan for a year. She managed the establishment of a research network for Oxford University and led fundraising for NGOs. After realising her true passion for early years education, and after retraining as a teacher, she taught in government schools in the UK for four years. Eliza has specialist training in literacy and mathematical development and in the Philosophy for Children methodology. She holds a BA in Classics from Oxford University and an MSc in Development Studies from SOAS, London University (including education research in Madhya Pradesh), and a Postgraduate Teaching Certificate from Oxford Brookes University.

Manmeet Devgun is a Delhi-based performance artist, and has been an art educator since 2000. She studied Painting at Government College of Art, Chandigarh, and then at Jamia Milia Islamia. She has exhibited her work as part of numerous group shows across Delhi, and also shown as part of shows in Vienna, Berlin, and Madrid among other places. Her work as a performance artist is closely linked to her own life and life-situations, often foregrounding key feminist concerns. She has performed as part of Khoj Live 2008; Regional Arts and Performance Events (R.A.P.E.) Guwahati, 2012; Sarai, 2012; KNMA, 2012; Situation 01, SAA-JNU, 2013; Live Art Lab, Bangalore, 2014; and Kolkata International Performance Arts Festival, 2014.  Since 2000 she has been teaching arts at DPS where, other than her regular classes, she has initiated and organised trips to NGMA and KNMA for the students. She also has experience working with children with special education needs at the school. She volunteers her time as an art instructor to Aarohi Bal Sansar School, Uttaranchal, during her travels to the region.

12:45 – 13:30             Lunch   

13:30 – 14:15             Sreejata Roy, Nidhi Khurana and Ruchin Soni

Sreejata Roy is an artist with a particular interest in community-related projects. Her recent practice involves working with young people and connecting ideas of public spaces in the low income colonies in New Delhi. She received the FICA Public Art Grant for her project "The Park" at Dakshinpuri, New Delhi, where she worked with the Bal Club students of Ankur Society for Alternatives in Education. She has also worked on exploring community and public spaces in other parts of India and abroad. She has participated in many exhibitions, residencies, workshops at national and international level. Since 2012 Roy has been the resource person for FICA’s Learning with Art project at Deepalaya school, Kalkaji Ext. She is currently involved in a project with Khoj where she is exploring the affects of changing urban ecology and professional opportunities on young women from the once-marginalised communities like Khirki. 

Nidhi Khurana is a practicing artist and educator based in New Delhi. She completed her post-graduation in Arts and Aesthetics from the          JNU and studied BFA Sculpture from M.S.University of Baroda. Her practice engages with the aesthetic and formal possibilities of mixed media as an act of constant rupture and mending, providing a nuanced understanding of creativity as a process of doing and undoing, making and remaking. Earlier she worked at Welham Girls School, Dehradun teaching art to ISC students as well as developing an art curriculum for the primary and middle school. She has developed Art workshops at Scindia School Gwalior and Purkul Youth Development Society, Dehradun, and in 2013 conducted an art workshop as a public event by The Wall People in Parque Mexico, Mexico City. In the same year she also did a three month stint at a village school in Auroville where she developed and implemented an art curriculum for the primary section. Nidhi has worked as a Research, Editorial and Design consultant for various projects including the Delhi Ibsen Festival, Kaaru and the Singhal Foundation. She has also facilitated a School enrichment program for Learn Today, a Times of India Group. She has collaborated with FICA on several different projects.

Ruchin Soni hails from a family of traditional painters in Gujarat, and was initiated into the world of art during his early childhood by his parents. It is at this time he developed a serious interest in portraiture. He received his formal education in Painting from M.S. University of Baroda, and specialized in mural design. While his works depict scenes of people engaged in various mundane activities, the gender of the subjects is always kept anonymous. Ruchin has worked as a freelance Graphic Designer, illustrator and cartoonist for various companies including Indigo Airlines, Quicksand, Thinking Designs, I me am designs, Indsights, Toppers academy and Phirkee magazine, NCERT. He worked at Welham Girls School, Dehradun teaching Art to ISC students and developing an art curriculum for the Primary and Middle school. He has worked as visiting faculty at IILM Design School, Gurgaon and Arena Animation, Delhi. He has mentored a UNDP Art Project on Medicinal Plants in Chhattisgarh, developed Art workshops at Scindia School Gwalior and Purkul Youth Development Society, Dehradun among others. He conducted an art workshop as a public event by The Wall People in Parque Mexico, Mexico City in 2013. He has conducted teacher training programs with Flow India, including one for the first "Big Draw" event in the country and another on "Integrated Learning Platforms" at the British Council, New Delhi. In 2013 he did a three month stint at a village school in Auroville where he developed and implemented an art curriculum for the primary section. He has recently been part of the Street Art Festival in Delhi. His works adorn the walls of the urban village of Shahpurjat as well as India's longest mural at Tihar Jail.

14:15 – 14:30              Tea

14:30 – 15:15              Chandan Gomes and Samudra Kajal Saikia

Chandan Gomes makes photographs for a living. He is the youngest recipient of the prestigious India Habitat Centre Fellowship for Photography (2011-12). In 2013 he was awarded the Oslo University College Scholarship to participate & showcase work at Chobi Mela VII. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Philosophy from St.Stephen’s College, Delhi. Chandan is also a faculty member at the Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communications, Delhi. His course looks at Photography through the prism of Cinema, Literature & Music. He is also the co-founder of RANG, a Delhi based community of artists working towards creating a democratic platform for the study and practice of the visual arts.

Samudra Kajal Saikia is a practitioner of interdisciplinary art practices (including performance, public art and videos) and a writer. After completing BFA from Viswabharati, Santiniketan and MVA from M S University of Baroda (in Art History and Aesthetics) he worked as the founder creative director of Kathputlee Arts & Films, New Delhi. He taught aesthetics in College of Art, Delhi, and also worked as an Image Researcher in National Institute of Design, NID. He was part of the consultant team in the formation period of the Performance Studies department under School of Culture and Creative expressions, AUD, and designed the infrastructure for the same. In the mid 90's Samudra used to work with children and adolescents, along with their own problems within a society of the 'grown-ups'. Those series of workshops, performance productions, little magazines later on continued by the younger thespians and 'Satphool Kankhowa Theatre Academy' was established in Biswanath Chariali, a small town in Assam. Samudra was the recipient of FICA Public Art Grant, 2010. He is a practitioner of a distinctive theatre practice that is coined as the Disposable Theatre. Currently he is working on a research and documentation project on contemporary performance art in India, entitled as "Understanding Performance as Art and Beyond: Multiple Gaze", and also making a film on the same, which is being supported by the Ila Dalmia FICA Reasearch Grant.