Knowledge Systems and Practice (M.A.)


"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein


In this program the student will learn how “humanity” is conceived of in different cultures, including but not focusing only on the West. We will study the intellectual inquiries and practices available in western and non-western cultures with a view to raising questions about the relationship between knowledge and culture. The program will reimagine the study of the past, the inquiry into the creativity and self-expression of the mind, the ability to build and shape institutions that are responsive to the deepest sufferings and aspirations of human beings. In our search for alternatives to western paradigms of knowledge that underpin our institutions and our ways of looking at nature and culture, some of the questions we will explore are:

How do we re-narrate the traumatic story of colonization and, more importantly, how can we contribute to the post-colonial attempt to de-colonize the mind?

How do we reconstruct the intellectual resources of “Indian” traditions whether embodied in Allama or Kabir, Gandhian Satyagraha or Tagore’s idea of the education of desire-- to make them relevant for understanding our present?

How can contemporary critical theory enable a critique of the socio-political, economic and discourse structures in which we are embedded?

This course encourages a robust questioning of the nature of knowledge itself, by bringing ‘practice’ into a powerful conversation with ‘theory’, by bringing the realms of making, doing, immersing and experiencing into a dynamic dialogue with the realms of reflection, meaning making and knowledge creation.

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 experiental 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 persue 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 semsters only)
  6. 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

The learning approach of this course is active, collaborative and practice-oriented. It combines a philosophical approach with art and design thinking and practice-based enquiry. Students, with their unique personalities and specific learning styles, are at the center of the process. The participants of this postgraduate course will be encouraged to constantly question, critically analyze and look through different lenses on their own practice. Through experiential learning and reflection on different kinds of knowledge systems students will develop the ability to formulate research questions and plan their own project.

Capability sets

  • Ability to theorize the social,
  • Develop analytical frameworks,
  • Ability to discern differences in domains of knowledge and practice,
  • Ability to nurture and articulate intuitions,
  • Ability to think critically and build strong arguments,
  • Ability to construct interpretations using a variety of research methods,
  • Ability to write analytically and expressively,
  • Ability to listen and negotiate alternative meanings, embrace diversity,
  • Ability to contextualize and historicize narratives,
  • Ability to interrogate and interpret the hidden meanings,
  • Ability to self-reflect and to situate oneself in one’s study,
  • Ability to develop informed originality in art and design practice


  • Journalism and Publishing
  • Art and Social Criticism
  • Non-Government and Non-for-Profit Organizations
  • Public Sector work that requires complex understanding of socio-cultural processes and policy planning
  • International Affairs
  • Information Technology
  • Research in Sociology and Culture
  • Design Research


For information, please contact

Disciplinary Intersections

The disciplines that inform this MA are:

Research and Collaboration

Students will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti School:

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