Conference: Archives and Museums—Old Routes/New Journeys


Archives and Museums—Old Routes/New Journeys: A Conference on Critical and Creative Approaches to Making Collections Public was held at Goethe–Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan in New Delhi on March 07 and 08, 2018. This two-day conference was organised by India Foundation for the Arts in collaboration with Goethe–Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi and Ambedkar University, Delhi, supported by Tata Trusts and Titan Company Limited. The sessions were structured around discussions, presentations, and a live performance that explored ways in which materials in archives and museums have been and can be re-visited, re-viewed, re-activated, and re-imagined for the present and the future.

IFA has been awarding fellowships under its Archival and Museum Fellowship initiative since 2014. The objective of this year-long fellowship duration has been to give creative practitioners and scholars, the opportunity to re-search, re-view and re-use materials found in archives and collections, to create multiple narratives. The outcomes and knowledge that have emerged out of select projects were presented at the conference, along with presentations by other experts who have worked towards making archives and museums ‘live spaces’.

The conference brought together a host of practitioners and artists—32 speakers representing more than 25 institutions from all over the country, including a speaker from Germany. While ‘Day 1’ of the conference was dedicated to presentations made by creative practitioners/scholars and museum and archival specialists, and, practitioners that IFA has supported through its fellowships; ‘Day 2’ focussed on presentations made by a range of scholars and practitioners in the arts and culture, on the need to re-work and re-curate collections in museums and archives—to be able to re-think their past, present, and future.

The two keynote speakers were Rustom Bharucha (Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) and Susie Tharu (Former Professor, Departments of Literature and Cultural Studies at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad); and the special events that concluded these sessions were a conversation between historian Romila Thapar and Latika Gupta (Curator and Associate Editor, MARG Publications) titled Museums and Heritage: Past and Future on ‘Day 1’ and a documentary theatre performance by theatre actor and writer Anuja Ghosalkar—Lady Anandi—drawn from her personal archives, on ‘Day 2’.

Abeer Gupta | Afrah Shafiq | Amlan Das Gupta | Avni Sethi | Bhavin Shukla | G Sundar
Jahnavi Phalkey | Joyoti Roy | Latika Gupta | Leonhard Emmerling | Martin Groh | Moinak Biswas
Muzammil Hussain | Naman P Ahuja | Priya Sen | Rahul Gore | Rongili Biswas | Rustom Bharucha
Sabih Ahmed | Sarit Kumar Chaudhuri | Shubha Chaudhuri | Shuddhabrata Sengupta
Sita Reddy | Sonal Jain | Srijan Deshpande | Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan | Sudhanva Deshpande
Surajit Sarkar | Susie Tharu | Swathi Sukumar | Tapati Guha-Thakurta
Vishwajyoti Ghosh | YS Wunglengton

For the Concept Note of Archives and Museums—Old Routes/New Journeys, please click here

For the Conference Schedule, please click here

For biographies of the speakers, please click here

*The title of the conference is taken from Abeer Gupta's project of the same name, as part of his Archival and Museum Fellowship at Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal