Association of Academics, Artists and Citizens for University Autonomy

Arts Research and Documentation

Grant Period: Over nine months

The Association of Academics, Artists and Citizens for University Autonomy (ACUA) was formed in February 2008 to revitalize and enrich universities as prime centers of higher education, prevent the erosion of university autonomy and constitutional provisions sustaining it, and advocate the idea that universities are a space to nurture the public imagination about them as specific, specialised and privileged domains of freedom of thought, inquiry and expression. ACUA has pursued the above objectives by organising workshops, public lectures, seminars and conferences in collaboration with individuals, educational institutions, thus working towards establishing a creative-critical interface between universities and the public.

This grant supports a three-day, international conference titled, Archiving the Art Histories: Exigencies and Challenges in Pedagogy and Research. Drawing on theoretical understandings that have led to a rethinking of the archive and archiving practices, the conference will survey the history of the existing archiving, research and teaching practices of art history in the art schools in India. Secondly, the conference will think through and devise ways of improving the present state of visual archives in the art teaching institutions in the country.

Prof. Shivaji Panniker will coordinate the conference on behalf of ACUA. The thrust of this conference is that art teaching institutions in India may have the inclination to engage in research-based activities but lack the resources to do so. Since research is dependent on a sound infrastructure and IFA’s intervention can specifically centre on strengthening the interface between online libraries and archives and promoting networks and dialogue between art teaching institutions in India.

The conference will not be restricted solely to the institutions that research and teach fine arts, but will invite inputs from institutions engaged with archiving, research and teaching in the allied areas such as design studies, film studies, literary studies, urban studies, cultural studies, and performance studies. The Asia Society will facilitate international participation in the conference.