Dissertation Title:

Curatorial Activism: An Ethical Approach to Environmental Activism in India

Supervisor(s):

Prof. Dr. Sylvia Claus

Description:

The research concerns the relevance of curatorial activism and the role of curators in growing audience engagement in various on-site and off-site events. This project pursues the concept of curatorial activism, as defined by Dr. Maura Reilly (Reilly 2018), in an attempt to discuss its approach to environmental concerns. A country’s environmental issues are directly related to its level of economic development and availability of natural resources. The rapid growth of population, poverty, urbanization, and other factors are responsible for environmental degradation in India. There is a need for collaboration among government agencies, NGOs, and the public to manage the issue and achieve sustainable development.

With the focus on environmental issues in the Indian context, the project aims to question the role of the curator in curatorial activism to address the problems of ecological conditions. The central research question in this project is ‘what is the impact of curating methods on audience engagement in environmental activism?’

Following this question, the natural supporting inquests are:

  • “Under which conditions can art and curatorial practices influence the audience and positively transform activist events?”
  • “Can audience engagement data be captured and used to aid the environmentalist cause?”

Following these questions, the project’s research objectives are:

  • To explore the boundaries of novel Indian art practices in environmental activism.
  • To evaluate the potential and benefits of public art practices in India and of the curatorial approach to address the challenges of eco-sustainability.
  • To study and analyze audience responses to ecological activist events in India.
  • To compare and analyse the developments across environmentalism and curatorial activism in the European and western art world with the Indian context.

The research seeks to determine whether the practice, theory, purposes, and goals of curatorial activism are working in collaboration. It also endeavours to produce a rich, original, and practice-based inquiry by organizing events and symposiums in collaboration with environmental activist groups-XR and EFI and government universities all over India. This strand of research would involve the observations of visitor behaviour, potentially allowing for ethnographic as well as phenomenological insights. It will also include observing and mapping of visitors’ reactions- the duration of their visits, their interactions with others, and their patterns of movement around the events. Through the use of these methods, the project will seek to identify current trends and the impact of activist movements on change.

Short Bio:

Shubhani holds a MA in Curatorial Practice from Bath Spa University, UK and MA in History of Arts from Panjab University, India. Her research interests include curatorial activism and environmental art, leading to the formulation of her research. Her professional experience includes working as a Gallery Manager and Programme Coordinator at Latitude 28, New Delhi and Curatorial Assistant at Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, UK.

shubhani.shubhani[at]b-tu.de

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