Specialisation : Public History and Heritage Interpretation
"We might be successful and score high marks by uncritically, learning by rote, the history written by others, but the effort of collecting and writing our own history is different. The results of such efforts are not merely about scholarship for their outcomes generate ripples on the stagnant waters of our mental landscape.
The essence of our health, indeed our life, dwells in the passion of such endeavours." - Rabindranath Tagore
Transforming the ways we represent traditions from the past
What values can the past bring to the fast-paced and swiftly changing present? How can we discover and interpret where the roots of the present lie? The contemporary moment offers us new opportunities and new technologies with which to explore the historical, bring to the fore people’s experiences of the past, and through that new understanding recreate and present new perspectives on heritage.
We envision the Public History and Heritage Interpretation as an opportunity to learn new ways of engaging with historical sites, monuments and institutions and thus address the contemporary challenges of interpreting history. This specialisation will empower students to include in their interpretations of heritage the diverse voices that have been ignored so far and so engage with history outside conventional academic practice. This specialisation will create professionals who have the ability to transform museums, heritage sites and archives into spaces that dynamically interpret the past by reimagining history with new technologies.
CPH members facilitating historical walks through Bangalore to enable people to discover the city’s layered history
This program will provide students with a critical and theoretical framework in which to consider historical sources and materials, narratives and moments. Using a ‘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 and oral history through seminars, studios, and workshops, along with exposure to a range of media, technologies within physical and digital spaces, will offer students a well-rounded skill-set that is in conversation with on-going debates in the field.
- Archive: Students will learn to conceptualise and create archives.
- Collaborate: Students will learn to collaborate with artists, designers, and other practitioners for creating public history projects that uses historical material to inform the language of design.
- Contextualise: Students will learn to contextualise not only the past, but also the multiple histories of the past and the ways they are deployed in the present.
- Critique: Students will learn to critique the discipline of history as it is practiced in the present and to develop public history as a viable and much-needed alternative to it.
- Curate: Students will learn the art and ethics of curation that is integral to all public history projects.
Class in progress at Bangalore Fort with Srishti, CPH-ASI project 2012
A shadow puppet show designed by students students, about the fall of Bangalore Fort in 1791, CPH-ASI project 2012
A bus full of stories, oral histories, CPH participates in the Malleswaram Moves Festival, 2013.
CPH members exploring stories about cinema with a Bangalore resident, 2013.
- Studios: Studios encourage active, contextual learning where students develop core disciplinary skills and knowledge. Studios facilitate collaborative and creative design solutions to complex, open-ended problems.
- Workshops: Workshops provide intense learning experiences in making and doing, across the different disciplines.
- Internship: Internship with an industry or a design/art studio is mandatory for students at the end of semester two.
- Self-Initiated Research Project: Self-Initiated Research Project is an end of the semester challenge that is the summative assessment and allows for engagement in research, enquiry, art or design based projects. The SIP begins with the writing of the project proposal and defining the scope of the project and follows the art or design process, under the mentorship of faculty/ design professionals.
- Electives: Electives are liberal arts courses aimed to cultivate intellectual and reflective abilities and motivate deeper probing and holistic approach to the design process.
- Capstone Project: Capstone Project is the culmination of the research, capabilities and knowledge gained over the last three semesters. A mandated thesis document of the design output and the research process is submitted. Faculty mentors provide guidance and seminars are organised for feedback from faculty and peer groups.
- Interlude Open Elective: Over a period of three to four weeks, interdisciplinary teams come together to actively construct their responses to that year’s theme and provocations. It will include the Winter School in Oral History, an advanced course that introduces participants to cutting edge research in the field of Oral History. With eminent faculty from the fields of oral and public history, drawn from across the world, the course has master classes on methodology, archiving standards, ethical issues and forms of dissemination, which allows participants to apply the knowledge gained in their own projects. The Winter School is organised annually, with a new theme covered each year.
CPH’s wide client base will enable students to find suitable employment opportunities after the completion of the program in the following sectors:
Institutions and Corporate Sector
- Leadership positions in institutional and corporate archives
- Archival consultant for corporates and institutions
- Content developer for events related to corporate heritage
- Museum curator
- Museum educator
- Content and Program Developer for museum galleries
- Heritage exhibition designer
- Archival and heritage book designer
- Heritage Programmer for archaeological monuments and sites
- Heritage-based walk designer
- Consultants for school project
- Higher Education – Ph.D. in Public History
Public history expands the methods of academic history to incorporate history that is seen, heard, read and interpreted. Those specialising in Public History and Heritage Interpretation will therefore work with the historical method but also be trained in a larger range of practices that focus on visual culture, aesthetics, literature, geography, folk cultures, and language studies. Students will focus on the public context of historical scholarship. The core disciplines therefore move beyond history and include:
Visual Communication Design
The practice of Public History integrates oral history, digital storytelling, and archival practices with communication tools that can make history accessible to a larger public. Learning will therefore involve a combination of the following skills:
Audio recording and Archiving
Interviewing and Transcription
Visual Communication Design
Archival books and exhibitions about the institutional history designed by the CPH team.
Research and Collaboration
Those in the Public History and Heritage Interpretation specialisation will primarily work with projects that are undertaken by the Centre for Public History (CPH). In the last six years, CPH has played a pioneering role in creating archives of contemporary Indian institutions. CPH has worked with heritage sites, folk and artisanal communities, designed public history interventions at the Bangalore Fort, and created archives and designed archival books and exhibitions for IIMC, Kolkata, IMSc, Chennai, EPW, Mumbai, Indian Museum, Kolkata, and Sasha, Kolkata.
CPH’s wide range of projects are based in different cities in India. By engaging directly with CPH projects, students will also learn to integrate oral history, digital storytelling, and archival practices with communication tools that make history accessible to a larger public and move beyond academia. Apart from that CPH will also find suitable internship opportunities (Summer Practice) for learners at reputed institutions that work with museums, archaeological heritage and contemporary history. Learners will thus gain the experience of working with real-time projects.
CPH also collaborates with the numerous research and practice labs in Srishti and learners will also have the opportunity of connecting with filmmakers, cultural activists, new media practitioners, artists, and designers who work with history and heritage.
For enquiries, please email Indira Bharadwaj at email@example.com