Public Pedagogy and Art Practice (M.Cr.A.)

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds” - Dalai Lama

placeARTS Youth Collective, facilitated by Arzu Mistry and Sadvi Jawa, creates a participatory tapestry at M.G. Road


When learning is an aesthetic experience, it becomes enmeshed in a person’s spirit verses just a moment of passive reception. The Public Pedagogy and Art Practice Masters programs develops public pedagogues who facilitate public learning acts with sensitivity through cultural practice. The program develops the ability to work with transdisciplinary practices as opportunities for civic learning and participation. The arts have the transformative ability to encourage and foster positive change. Especially in India where the Kalakaar is often considered to be an integral part of the society and is accepted as creator of rasa, the one who touches the heart and spirit of our very core.

Blank Noise Action Heroes facilitated by Jasmeen Patheja stage a pubic demonstration as part of the ‘I Never Asked for It’ campaign.


The stand up comic or the wandering mystic, the political poet or the master craftswoman who paints the walls of her community, the crafty marketing genius, the puppeteer, the radio jockey are all public pedagogues. They use public spaces and public forms of dialogue to learn and speak about the human condition. Public practices as a form of transmitting ideas that influence, communicate and provoke are age old. Simultaneously, our ability to learn from the public sphere is constant, but is not acknowledged as a valid form of education. Further, questions about the very value of mainstream education that has become devoid of culture, with its narrow focus of catering to a limited job market, has spurred multiple popular people-education-movements that emerges from cultural practice and creates cultural capital across class and geography. These are forms of public pedagogy.

The masters in Public Pedagogy and Art Practice at Srishti brings together a rich set of public practices from cultural activism, public art, urban and rural studies and local knowledge practices into an emerging area of study that looks at traditional and contemporary public creative practices that are used to educate, inspire and provoke a larger public. These forms draw from a diversity of public practices, evoke the absurd, catalyse agency for social action and emerge from many different sites of on-the-ground experimentation. They are community based, multi-age and focus on social transformation that challenges mainstream elite forms of knowledge production.

We are cognizant of the paradox of a course in Public Pedagogy and Art Practice at a center for higher education, a field that resists institutionalised education, but by developing consistent public process of knowledge production and sharing, public pedagogues have much to teach the mainstream. The program looks at taking learning back to the street by understanding practices and practitioners that have rejected the elite institution for people science, people medicine, peoples’ history and peoples’ education.

Artists from Kavya Sanjay, Design Earth and Shadow Liberation facilitate public interventions for public play and public poetry recitals as part of the Festival of Stories public art event in Bangalore.

Core Values

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is - it's to imagine what is possible.” - Bell Hooks

Paradox and Action
Diversity and Disagreement
Empathy and Agency
Participation and Belonging
Informal Learning and Emancipatory Learning
Love and Essence

Artists from Kaimera Productions work with Srishti Students on DATAPRINT, a public performance that questions and educates about the ethics of data privacy. Using dance, theatre, and interactive technology installations this act of public pedagogy took place at a Metro Station in collaboration with Art in Transit.

Who Should Apply

The Public Pedagogy and Arts Practice Master’s course is especially designed for individuals from the following arenas of work:

Public and Community Art: Artists and art students who are interested in activist-art; cultural activism; art and education; art and community empowerment; and art in the public sphere.

Non-formal Education Sector: People interested in education. Teachers who are looking at working outside the confines of institutionlised education in community learning environments. Community program developers and facilitators in informal learning centres; art & craft collectives; environmental organizations; publishing houses etc.

Interdisciplinary Practice Based Education: Those from any field (journalist, traditional art and crafts, technology, urban planning, service sector) interested in taking their practice and daily work to the level of community education in the public sphere.

Corporate Social Responsibility Sector: Those with expertise in Business Management, specifically geared towards CSR planning, implementation and reimagining the frameworks for progressive, meaningful contributions to the Social sector.

Srishti Student Karthika Sakthivel facilitates Cyanotype Picnic a participatory art making event at Cubbon Park.

Course Structure and Components

Learning opportunities in the Professional Practice and Design in Education course are embedded in the following structures:

  • Tutorials: Master classes, workshops, seminars and study units including Webinars etc.
  • Studios, Labs and Circles: Immersive spaces and forums that foster making, experimenting, conversations, thinking and a sense of being.
  • Peer Circles: Participative opportunities for dialogue and reviews that can be facilitated and independent, face-to-face or via blogs, discussion board conversations, wiki creation.
  • Practice: Experiential, embodied, field-based research which could include that in the workplace.
  • Electives: Engagement outside the disciplinary framework, that allows for extension and building connections. It can include visits to exhibitions, plays, places, talks, walks, participation in workshops, studios, conferences and residencies.
  • Portfolio: Development of a reflective and curated body of work, which represents evidence of growth, development and application of research in professional practice over the duration of the course.
  • Dissertation as Personal Mastery: Practice based research and its documentation; dissertation and viva voce.

Artist Anjana Kothamachu uses wireless headphones as a way to share intimate stories about the city of Bangalore in a crowded public place.

Learning Approach:

The two-year post-graduate course of study in Public Pedagogy and Art Practice is a blend of theory and practice. The course looks at traditional and contemporary forms of public pedagogy and art practice, inviting diverse practitioners to share what, how and why they are engaged in public pedagogy through creative practice, in the form of lectures, performances, site visits, workshops, and case studies. Simultaneously students will have the option of varied on-site field experiences and internships to learn from and emerge frameworks of practice from:

1. Working with communities

2. Reading and responding to a place critically and creatively

3. Developing creative public pedagogic practices.

4. Documenting and positioning the practice out in the world through communication, proposals and other traditional and contemporary forms of knowledge production.

Contributing to the Field:

There is a paucity of available resources and research around Public Pedagogy and Art Practice, especially in the South Asian context. This course attempts to correct this by collating as well as contributing to this knowledge field. The student can contribute to this lacuna by building research using Case Studies of practice in and around the Indian subcontinent. The student will be well equipped to write articles that contribute to the field, including but not restricted to journalism; writing effective RTI applications; advocacy papers and maximising impact on social media (i.e. twitter, Instagram and blogs). Specialisations such as Urban and Social Design, Education, Public policy, even farming and medicine can use the expertise of Public Pedagogy and Art Practice for a more efficient and effective implementation and wider understanding of the issues on the ground.  

The Public Pedagogy and Art Practice course draws upon examples of practices in India and Internationally that use forms of cultural practice (drawing, poetry, creative writing, theatre and performance, technology, weaving, etc.) to engage communities and push cross disciplinary understanding and experience for students. The course is designed for students to experience the potential and power of:

  • Practice Based Research:  Cycle of observing, intervening, facilitating, improvising, researching, negotiating, acting in community environments.
  • Skills to Make and Do (Practice): Making in the Arts and Cultural Practices; Facilitation of Public Practice; Proposal Writing; Creating job opportunities for oneself and the community they are involved with.
  • Thinking and Communicating: Conceptual, Theoretical and Communicative skills.

Artists from Migratory Cultures use projection mapping to share stories of migration to the city of Bangalore. These multi-lingual oral histories are shared in public spaces.

Opportunities for Graduates

New and emerging spaces are opening up to artists and community pedagogues because of their expertise of being mediators and the ability of the arts to access, address and unpack public opinion without antagonism. From corporate to government and NGO sectors, there is an increased demand for creative practitioners that can facilitate and activate public participation.

Graduates of the Public Pedagogy and Art Practice Master’s course will be equipped to work in.

Education and Community Learning Environments:

  • Teachers and After School Program Facilitators
  • Program Developers and Education Design for alternative learning environments
  • Non-Profit Organisations in the Development Sector that require Community Facilitators

Government Sector:

  • Urban Planning Departments
  • Tourism Sector
  • Education Sector
  • Creative practices in public sector services like police, planning, public works and resource departments
  • Activism and Political Office
  • Development of Public Policy

Craft and Art Sector:

  • Art, Architecture and Urban Planning Organisations
  • Event Planning, Art Festivals and Biennials
  • Revive and develop contemporary forms of community mapping
  • Revive and develop contemporary forms of traditional craft and art practices

Corporate Environments

  • Corporate Trainers
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Teams
  • Human Resources and Team Management Environments

Not for Profit Sector

  • Reimagining funding and sustainability for the not for profit sector. This includes self help groups, not for profit trusts, and other registered NGOs.
  • Facilitating community based research studies

Modes of Learning

Public pedagogy and Art practice course is a full time practice based research course that allows practitioners (both novice and experienced) to develop and extend their professional practice. It is offered in two modes of participation of onsite studios and tutorials with practice based research in a field project.

Notes on modes of participation:

Mode 1: Three weeks per semester of onsite participation This mode is designed for practitioners with a strong inclination for independent study and for whom periodic short-term intensive + self study is most viable. Practitioners would need to plan for two weeks of study at Srishti, Bangalore at the start of each semester. This period includes a course overview, introduction to the overall processes and methods of the course, guidelines for practice based research and field based assignments.

Mode 2: 9 months of onsite participation commencing from the inception of the course This design facilitates the completion of coursework for semester 1 and 2. In addition, practitioners will be encouraged to find and work on a project. Guidelines for practice based research and field based assignments for the subsequent period will be provided.

Modes are offered based on cohort size.

Antara Khurana’s series of posters focuses on what has been lost in the city. Lost Perspective, Lost Identity and Lost Voice are part of a growing series to provoke thought about these intangible losses.


This course is led by Arzu Mistry and Aastha Chauhan

For further information, kindly email

Arzu MIstry at

Aastha Chauhan at


Sharath Chandra uses open sources weather data and projection mapping to compare weather data of the silicon cities of San Francisco and Bangalore, drawing a parody between the Climate of Economies and the Economies of Climate.

Disciplinary Intersections

This course is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Areas of Knowledge:

Place: Public Space Design, Urban Planning (peri-urban, rural), Sustainability, Ecology

Society: Anthropology, Sociology, Cultural Policy, Language

Art: Contemporary and Traditional Art Practice, Creative Practice, Craft Practice, Cultural Practice, Cultural Activism, Art-Science

Practices (Forms): Community radio, Public performance, Poetry, Writing (RTI / Campaigns / Creative Writing), Coding and Repurposing internet tools. Zines, Local Publications, Curation / Archives, Oral History, Facilitation, Public Art Interventions, Public Space Design, Public Graphic Practices etc.

Research and Collaboration.

Art in Transit
(Art)Science BLR
Blank Noise
Center for Public History (CPH)
designEARTH lab
Srishti Films
The Kabir Project

Program Capabilities:

Srishti offers support to ignite agency to perform public acts.

                                Invoking SENSITIVITY within the self

Capability to navigating complexity and engage with courage      

Capability to engage authentically with care for communities

Capability to reflect and iterate and evaluate the quality of public action

                                Seeing and emerging OPPORTUNITY

Capability to respond to site and phenomena

Capability to seek opportunities and identify and use available tools and resources

Capability to build collaborations

                                Developing PUBLIC PRESENCE

Capability to animate self to facilitate

Capability to invite a type of social consciousness from action

Capability to engage in robust action research  

Festival of Stories 1

Festival of Stories 2

Festival of Stories 3

Copyright 2015 © Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology.