In 2020, Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, collaborated with the Center for Art and Archaeology of the American Institute of Indian Studies (CA&A of AIIS), an educational research center based in Gurugram, India and the U.S. Mission to India, New Delhi on its U.S.–India Professional Collaboration initiative. As a part of this endeavor, she led two virtual workshops: Museum Curation (10–14 August 2020) and Museum Collections and Visitor Engagement (30 November–4 December 2020) to mentor museum professionals in India on seminal themes in museum practice with the aim of making the museum-going experience more dynamic and engaging within Indian museums.
Preview of the virtual exhibitions curated by the workshop fellows
Dr. Ghose’s professional association with the AIIS goes back to 2019 when she acted as a member of the Planning Committee and as a guest expert for the U.S. Embassy-supported All Indian Museum Summit 2019. She also advised on the ensuing White Paper that was presented to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, in November 2019, and took the next step towards achieving the recommendations of the White Paper on advancing curatorial skills in India. She conceptualized and led a single-day in-person workshop at the National Museum, New Delhi, in November 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she optimized the online platforms to shepherd and offer a professional program on cutting-edge curatorial practices to Indian museum professionals.
“I dream of a time when there is a revitalized museum scene in India, as throughout my life to date, I have never had the good fortune to see this. Hence my work, giving back to India, first through the Vivekananda Museum Excellence Program between 2012-16, and now with the Museum Summit, the White Paper, and the workshops. I feel sad that museum professionals and audiences in India cannot see the pathbreaking work being done on Indian art in the US through exhibitions and displays. I wish to see this change in the future. This is a small effort towards making those goals a reality,” said Dr. Ghose.
The twenty-nine fellows selected for the program belonged to public, private institutions or were independent professionals. Their diverse experiences and disciplinary expertise sustained an exciting tone for the workshop. Each workshop was a three-month-long engagement that comprised working sessions, assignments, and discussions. The final outcome of the program included fourteen virtual exhibitions and fifteen visitor experience programs developed by the twenty-nine fellows under Dr. Ghose’s mentorship.
Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose is the Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Himalayan Art at The Art Institute of Chicago.
Stuti Gandhi, who authored this blog, is the Research Associate at Center for Art & Archaeology at American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS).