Doctoral Program in Art and Design – PhD


Srishti is recognized as a Research Center of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and the PhD degrees would be awarded by Manipal Academy of Higher Education.

The doctoral program in Art and Design aims to inculcate competency in high-quality and rigorous research in art and design that makes an original contribution to the disciplinary core of design and creative practices with knowledge, methods, perspectives, and concepts. The program encompasses a range of scholarly research, design, and creative productions. Design encompasses a variety of creative fields, philosophies, techniques, practices, and products from engineering solutions to artistic interpretations; from systems design, to architecture and urban design. Art includes artistic and creative works, practices, and discourses that may be experimental, conceptual or critical. The program aims to nurture and develop artistic and design thinking as an inquiry based field of research and knowledge production that in turn inform better practices of art and design.

On admission, during the first year of the program, candidates will take required courses in theory, research methods, and research design; finalize their doctoral advisory committee; and develop their detailed research proposal for a thesis or project in consultation with their doctoral committee. Students admitted to the program will work under the mentorship of a Srishti faculty guide along with a doctoral advisory committee that may also include external subject experts. On successful completion of the Proposal Defense of their PhD thesis/project proposal, candidates would register for their PhD. On successful completion of their Thesis/Project Defense and report, students would be awarded a PhD. The minimum duration for completion of the PhD program is 3 years after registration for their PhD or a total of 4 years in the PhD program.

The program aims to build capacities for design and design education, as well as art and art education that address the problems and opportunities of contemporary society while being cognizant of India’s rich heritage that is both tangible and intangible. We aim to lead design research so as to build knowledge and inform practice that enables design to be an agent of social change, a catalyst for meaningful advancements in technology, and a means of promoting sustainability. The value of a PhD program in Art and design is to contribute to historical and theoretical discourse on art and design, infuse design knowledge, research methods, and theory at all levels of design education to add depth and rigor, and to encourage innovation in design and artistic practices.

At the PhD program.

Practice-Based Research

Srishti offers the option of PhD by thesis and PhD by project. A typical doctoral research may be based on data collection and analysis or textual and visual analysis and interpretation in the form of a written thesis. As a way of expanding the horizons of art and design research, an inquiry-based creative work could be undertaken as a PhD Project as an alternative to the PhD Thesis.

At the PhD program.

Research Areas:

  • Design, Art, and the Humanities:

    Research in this area would contribute to historical and contemporary knowledge of design and art, theoretical and philosophical considerations including aesthetic and formal theories, critical cultural studies relevant to any field of art and design, or criticism and writing of design. Methodologies would be rooted in the humanities and liberal arts.

  • Current faculty interests in the area includes:
    • Cinema Studies
    • Public History
    • Digital Humanities
    • Cultural Studies
    • Oral History
    • Contemporary History
    • Political Theory
    • Gender Studies
    • Literary Theory
    • Art History and Aesthetics
    • Studies on Experimental Art and New Media

  • Culture, Heritage, and Sustainable Development:

    Research in this area would contribute to knowledge and methods of design that are responsive to and compatible with a place, local culture, and its heritage. This would include research on the application of design thinking to crafts and traditional practices, improvement to urban and rural environments, heritage conservation and management, culture compatible design and planning, and research on the contribution of art and design to furthering the goals of environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability. Methodologies would be rooted in the social sciences and economics, design fields, as well as the study of places (such as architecture and planning). Design research aimed at problem solving for contemporary issues from heritage management and sustainable tourism development to climate change, disaster response, and infrastructure services would be a priority.

  • Current faculty interests in the area include:
    • Management of cultural heritage and sustainable development
    • Architecture, planning, and design in historic urban areas
    • Cultural and environmental sustainability in design and policy
    • Indigenous arts, culture, and crafts practices
    • Contemporary and traditional knowledge practices

  • Technology and Innovation:

    Research in this area would contribute to the application of design to the frontiers of science and technology and to the application of innovations in science and technology to furthering design forms and knowledge. This area would include research from health and wellness, to nanotechnology, design of industrial products, and interactive and digital media. Methodologies would be rooted in experimental sciences and engineering and design research approaches such as research-through-design and concept-driven interaction design research.

  • Current faculty interests in the area include:
    • Experience and Interaction Design
    • Multidisciplinary Approach to Design Innovation
    • Participatory Design
    • Art Science

  • Creativity and Cognition in Learning:

    Research in this area would contribute to art and design pedagogy, as well as art, design, and methodologies of communication in museums. It would contribute to the application of design thinking to education and pedagogical innovations in education in art, design, and creative practices. The concept of art and design as pedagogy is an essential aspect of this area of research. In addition to design education, this area would include research on ways to conceptualize physical and digital museums, exhibition, and curating of art and design works. Furthermore, this area would also explore ways of integrating design thinking with project, place and problem-based learning with new technologies. Methodologies would be rooted in education and participatory research paradigm, history of art and design, and communication techniques.

  • Current faculty interests in the area include:
    • Play, Invent, and Learn
    • Science Art
    • Art, Design, Technology, and Cognition

  • Experimental and Creative Practices:

    This subfield aims for inquiry and research-based, theoretically informed, artistic and creative productions. The aim is to contextualize creative work and support reflection on practice. The final output would include a documented artistic research project (along with the required written component).

  • Current faculty interests in the area include:
    • Experimental Studies and Practice in Perceptual Media and Interactive Modalities
    • Electronics as a Language
    • Analog Generative Art
    • Machines and Thoughts
    • Light as Material

Research Environment at Srishti

Research happens at many levels at Srishti. In addition to courses in history, theory, and writing at the undergraduate PDP and graduate ADP levels, many of the undergraduate art and design diploma projects also have an applied research component to them as do the graduate ADP projects.

At the PhD program.

At the PhD program.

At the PhD program.

Research and Collaboration

Srishti houses several Research Labs and Centers where the groups have been engaged in ongoing research on specific problems and issues. Doctoral students in any of the program areas could be associated with projects in any one of the labs for their research work thus benefiting from the lab and the program as a whole. The labs themselves are independent of the structure of the doctoral program but rather are focused on research projects. These projects may be within a single disciplinary domain or be multidisciplinary as may be necessary for the project or as conceptualized by the lab directors. Thus a specific lab and project may have research candidates in more than one area of doctoral research.

Current Doctoral Student Interests:

  • Exploring an inclusive framework for visualizing and modeling future user experience. Assessment of existing frameworks for modeling future user experiences and a design of an alternative one.
  • Working authentically in a time of flux with its complexity, flows and dynamics to emerging a new contemporary practice by observing people and their relationship to place through participatory art practice and critical pedagogy that is not a call to preserve the past, or construct the ideal future but to emerge an authentic present.
  • Redefining the cape region, South Africa, through complexity thinking and design research towards greater socio-­ecological resilience and adaptability to propose a new approach to investigation and engagement for change that does not propagate ‘problems’, but is synchronous and enables adaptation.
  • Exploring decorative street art as a resource and inspiration for a framework in art & design pedagogy using visual research and a series of pedagogical endeavors. Can decorative art can be used to develop a plurality of perspectives within art and design pedagogy.
  • Developing a toolkit to enhance linkages and networks for traditional artisans/craftspersons in the economic, cultural, social and spatial dimensions that will best allow them to engage with a global economy.
  • Developing an alternative to Vocational Education Training System catering to the skill building needs of the country with specific focus on low-income groups.


  1. Applicants to the PhD program must have successfully completed a Master’s degree in Art, Design, or in any other field related and relevant to the area of the candidate’s proposed PhD thesis/project. This may include fields such as architecture, art history, social work, biology, education, and engineering (these fields are indicative but not exhaustive). A five year undergraduate professional degree may also be adequate.
  2. Applicants must demonstrate evidence of art and design practice or engagement with discourse related to any discipline of art and design.

Research Faculty:

  • Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar, Chair of the PhD Program
  • Dr. Abhiyan Humane
  • Dr. Aileen Blaney
  • Dr. Debjani Banerjee
  • Dr. Farhat Ara
  • Dr. Gautham Dayal
  • Dr. Girish Prabhu
  • Dr. Geetha Narayanan
  • Dr. Indira Chowdhury
  • Dr. Jaishri Iyer
  • Dr. Manjari Singh
  • Dr. Manjula Kandula
  • Dr. Naveen Bagalkot
  • Dr. Padmini Ray Murray
  • Dr. Pithamber Polsani
  • Dr. Sandeep Chandra Ashwath
  • Dr. Shriya Sridharan
  • Dr. Vasanthi Mariadass
  • Dr. Vivek Dhareshwar

Visiting PhD Faculty 2014-15:

  • Dr. Vandana Goswami, Independent Researcher, Teacher and Trainer in Critical Thinking
  • Dr. Jyoti Sahi, Freelance artist and writer
  • Dr. Mallika Gopalakrishna, Managing Director, Research Interface
  • Prof. Anna Fox, University of Creative Arts, London
  • Dr. Catherine Lane, University of Arts London
  • Dr. Lois Hetland, Massachussets College of Art and Design
  • Dr. Nina Sabnani, Industrial Design Center, IIT Bombay
  • Dr. Dilip DaCunha, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

Admission Requirements

  1. Admission Form (Click here >>)
  2. A 750 word statement of research interest. Applicant should indicate if they plan to do a thesis or a project for their doctoral research and what activities they plan to undertake as part of their research.
  3. Curriculum vitae
  4. Writing sample such as a paper or publication
  5. Portfolio of creative works if relevant
  6. Two letters of reference

Fees Information

  • The PhD Program is a self-funded program.
  • The tuition fees would be a minimum of Rs.1.75 lakhs for the first year and Rs.1.5 lakhs for the remaining years. This amount would include the fees for Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE).
  • Additional costs for research, travel, equipment, readers, workshop, and other would vary for each student and project. These could be estimated at the time of interview.
  • Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) requires all PhD students to be registered as full-time. Residency at Srishti is required for the first year.



At the PhD program.

At the PhD program.

At the PhD program.

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