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Heritage Design, Planning & Management

"One of our deepest needs is for a sense of identity and belonging and a common denominator in this is human attachment to landscape and how we find identity in landscape and place. Landscape therefore is not simply what we see, but a way of seeing: we see it with our eye but interpret it with our mind and ascribe values to landscape for intangible – spiritual – reasons. Landscape can therefore be seen as a cultural construct in which our sense of place and memories inhere. Critical to this has been the increasing attention given to the study of cultural landscapes, even to the extent of recognition in 1992 of World Heritage Categories of outstanding cultural landscapes." - Ken Taylor, Landscape & Memory


Practitioners, academicians and researchers from across the globe have been continuously developing new understanding around, what entails heritage and possible ways of preserving history. Simultaneously, issues related to uniqueness and identity, are also becoming an important and inevitable discourse in academia and practice across diverse disciplines. Non-renewable resources like our cultural and natural heritage are being identified as well-springs for both, traditional and contemporary creative practices rooted in a locality or a place. These evolving discourses have led to a need for innovation in practices related to heritage and historic preservation, beyond the actions of conservation, protection and restoration.

  • How do we identify and assess, cultural and natural heritage of a place, and forms of ownership or custodianship?
  • How can we improve cultural practices in order to support local communities to manage their inheritance?
  • How can we facilitate an exchange between different knowledge systems, to the advantage of preserving historic and ecological assets?
  • How do we emphasis on utilitarian value of heritage and community participation, without compromising their inherited values?

Through this program and its exercises, the larger intention is to address such critical concerns around the interpretation and implications of global theories and concepts in response to micro contexts and local communities.


This program is one of the two postgraduate programs established under the UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development under the School of Law, Environment and Planning at Srishti.

The program is designed to deliver familiarity with international and national, norms and standards of heritage interpretation and management. The courses will be driven towards exploring new tools and processes of designing, managing and planning for preserving heritage sites and the surrounding milieu; such that the emerging practices will benefit local communities, and nurture the values of the existing cultural landscapes. Individual inquiries will be fostered in a transdisciplinary learning environment to imagine new relationships between people, practices and places over changing times.

Introductory exercises of design research and representation for mapping cultural practices of Gulbarga (Source: Ananta Dutta)

Key Values

  • Collaborative and Participatory
  • Continuous Self-learning
  • Empathise and Empower
  • Ethical Engagement
  • Mutual Respect and Responsibility

Course structure

Core units: They cover the essential discourse, methods and approaches relevant to the field & discipline of the course. These units are compulsory and  have to be studied by a student as a core-requirement to complete the requirements of a degree in a said discipline of study.

Transdisciplinary Unit: This studio will facilitate collaborative and creative design solutions to complex, open-ended problems in specific contexts. They provide intense learning experiences in making and doing, across different courses with shared course structure..

Independent Study: This unit is designed to acquire deeper understanding as a supplement to a studio or a core unit with advisory support. Independent study leads to a Line of Enquiry rendered by each student, which may inform their Portfolio.

Interlude: This open studio is a space for a practical engagement related to a relevant field of study that is creative, reflective and extensive. It allows for collaborative working to conceptualize an experiment, a symposium or exhibition, and public engagement or demonstration. Topics explored are drawn from areas of contemporary relevance.

Theory & Understanding: This unit is aimed to cultivate intellectual and reflective abilities in students and motivate them to probe deeper and approach their design process in a holistic manner.

Capstone: This is the culmination of the research, capabilities and knowledge gained over the last three semesters. Students are required to submit their design output and a mandated thesis document. Students are mentored during this final project and go through seminars to get feedback from faculty and peer groups.

Research Proposal: It is a precursor to the Capstone and students develop a proposal for the Capstone. It includes research, planning and articulation and builds on the line of enquiry developed in the previous semesters.

Self-Directed Inquiry: This is an end of the semester challenge that allows the student to engage in research / enquiry or design based projects. Students begin by writing their project proposal and defining the scope of their project and they are mentored by faculty / design professionals.

Portfolio: This develops a reflective and curated body of work, which represents evidence of growth, development and application of design process, and research into professional practice, acquired over the duration of the academic experience. It also includes a position paper that stems from the line of enquiry developed in the Independent study. 

Internship: An internship with an industry or a design studio is compulsory for students at the end of Semester 2.

Immersive site visits to places of cultural importance with subject experts. Location: Mysore (Source: Ishita Shah)

Immersive site visits to places of cultural importance with subject experts. Location: Bangalore (Source: Ishita Shah)

Learning Approach

Different units and courses will be conducted through either one or more of the following approaches:

  • Project-based: To actively explore real world challenges, conflicts and problems within timelines with context-sensitivity.
  • Position-based: To foster a deep understanding of theories and practices, and arrive at individual inquiries and stand-points.
  • Place-based: To take the learning from immersive field trips and expeditions; and extend, deepen and transform them into site-specific interventions.
  • Participation-based:  To understand the diversity of actors, who passively or actively inhabit the space of inquiry, and incorporate their insights through sensitive and equitable tools.
  • Process-based: To engage with art and design research methodologies; and push the boundaries of discourses in urban design, conservation and sustainability.


On successful completion of the course, graduates will have acquired the following mentioned capabilities.

Knowledge and Understanding:

  • To understand, interpret and critique a wide-range of framework and approaches around protection and management of cultural and/or natural assets.

Communication Skills:

  • To build inventories, assess threats or potential, and write proposals, using a wide range of information and insights about historic sites, local communities and regional practices.

Practitioner Skills:

  • To design and manage initiatives for heritage protection, in varying capacities across different contexts and scales, while nurturing creativity and participation.

Overview of inquiry based curriculum and possible tracks for defining individual positions and practices.


This course provides an opportunity for students to either pursue higher studies, define their own collaborative practice as well as find a position in variety of workplaces i.e. cultural organisations, government bodies, not-for-profit initiatives, art and design practices, research institutions and others.

Opportunities can be identified across different creative economies and some of them would be: Advocacy, Arts, Conservation, Knowledge Centers, Media and Tourism.


For more information about this program, kindly email Shweta Srivastav at
or Ishita Shah at

Student teams of ‘Contested Heritage’ in conversation with Professor Miki Desai during the culminating exhibition, as a part of the Postgraduate Interlude Conference 2017 at IISC, Bengaluru (Source: Vivek Vardhan)

Ananta Dutta, presenting her work on Interpreting the Cultural Heritage of Gulbarga through Cultural Mapping, developed as an internship project under the Sahapedia - Srishti Collaborative (Source: Ananta Dutta)

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Research and Collaboration

Students have opportunities to work within the academic structures and/or work across the following centers and labs:

Cristina Muto in conversation with external members, about her semester end work on mapping and assessing cultural and creative practices. (Source: Ishita)

Student team in interaction with local performers during their visit to Jog Falls. (Source: Manjiri Godbole)

Megha Jain working with local practitioners during her internship at the Kishkinda Trust, Anegundi - Hampi facilitated by the UNESCO Chair at Srishti. (Source: Megha Jain)


View Eligibility for Admission, Fee Schedule, Application Form & Other information for this Program >>