Public History and Heritage Interpretation (M.A.)


"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 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 Masters in 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 Master’s Program 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 Program 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.

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.

Learning Approach

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.

Capability Sets

  1. Archive: Students will learn to conceptualise and create archives.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Curate: Students will learn the art and ethics of curation that is integral to all public history projects.

Course Structure

  1. Studio: Students will be introduced to history writing and to the context within which archives are created as institutions. They will also be introduced to the historical ‘lens’ and how historians construct and deploy that ‘lens’. They will then use this knowledge to engage with spaces, places, and memories to explore the possibilities they offer public history.
  2. Seminar Studio: Students will be introduced to public history as a field of study and practice. Through lectures and readings on the practice of public history, students will be exposed to the many themes and possibilities within the field.
  3. Workshop: Students will be introduced to the philosophy of history and the historical method, so that they can develop the ability to look, listen, and think critically about public history. Having done so, they will grapple with issues of temporality, voice, audience, and authority in public history.
  4. Summer Practice: Students will work at CPH on one of the many public history projects that CPH runs. Students will also have the option of working with other reputed institutions that work with heritage. The experience will help students develop their focus area for their capstone project or dissertation.
  5. Interlude: Students will pursue a practical engagement related to public history that is creative, reflective, and extensive. Students will work collaboratively to conceptualize a symposium or exhibition, public engagement or demonstration. The work done in the studios may be extended into this mode or may intersect with the Interim Semester (in odd semsters only).
  6. Seminar: Students will investigate a particular idea, topic, or practice related to public history through discussion and/or dialogue, which may involve crits, pin-ups, presentations, either as works-in-progress or completed works for feedback.
  7. Capstone Project or Dissertation: Students will work on a dissertation/capstone project that synthesises and demonstrates capabilities developed in them through the program to see the past in new ways, and to present history in a manner that transcends the academy and engages with the public.

Ranjit Chitrakar, a folk artist, teaches students of Srishti as part of “Exploring the Folk” course, 2011.

Students of Srishti working on a pata-chitra style mural, 2011.


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

  1. Leadership positions in institutional and corporate archives
  2. Archival consultant for corporates and institutions
  3. Content developer for events related to corporate heritage

Museum Sector

  1. Museum curator
  2. Museum educator
  3. Content and Program Developer for museum galleries

Heritage Sector

  1. Heritage exhibition designer
  2. Archival and heritage book designer
  3. Heritage Programmer for archaeological monuments and sites
  4. Heritage-based walk designer

Education Sector

  1. Consultants for school project
  2. Higher Education – Ph.D. in Public History

CPH members facilitating historical walks through Bangalore to enable people to discover the city’s layered history.

CPH members facilitating historical walks through Bangalore to enable people to discover the city’s layered history.

CPH members facilitating historical walks through Bangalore to enable people to discover the city’s layered history.

CPH members facilitating historical walks through Bangalore to enable people to discover the city’s layered history.

Disciplinary Intersections

The following constitute the core disciplines:

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:

Archival Research and Documentation
Audio recording and Archiving
Digital Archiving
Interviewing and Transcription
Visual Communication Design

Archival books and exhibitions about the institutional history designed by the CPH team.

Archival books and exhibitions about the institutional history designed by the CPH team.

Archival books and exhibitions about the institutional history designed by the CPH team.

Research and Collaboration

Students of the Public History and Heritage Interpretation Program will primarily work with projects that are undertaken by the Centre for Public History (CPH). In the last five 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 students at reputed institutions that work with museums, archaeological heritage and contemporary history. Students will thus gain the experience of working with real-time projects.

CPH also collaborates with the numerous research and practice labs in Srishti and students will also have the opportunity of connecting with filmmakers, cultural activists, new media practitioners, artists, and designers who work with history and heritage.In addition to the Centers and Labs at Srishti, students have the opportunity to work on active research projects led by SNHD faculty.


For enquiries, please email Indira Bharadwaj at

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