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Management & Deans

Geetha Narayanan
Geetha is an educator with over four decades of experience as a teacher, an educator, a curriculum and instruction designer. At all times a catalyst Dr. Narayanan has tried over the years to evolve paradigms of learning that integrate the mind, body and consciousness and in the last few years has worked at creating collaborative pedagogical frameworks for the teaching of mathematics, science and languages within the Indian educational system at the informal and formal levels of schooling.

Dr Narayanan is currently Founder Director of Srishti Institute of Art Design & Technology; Principal Investigator of Project Vision, a Director’s Fellow at the Media Lab, MIT, USA and a visiting faculty at the Future of Learning Institute at Harvard Graduate School of Education USA.

Dharma Kannan
Dharma is the Executive Administrator and Dean of Students at Srishti. She also coordinates all institutional collaborations and student exchange programs. She has a background in education, with an MA in Education from Oxford Brookes University, UK. Dharma has taught in Mallya Aditi International School for 20 years across grades in the middle and elementary school, and was Coordinator of the Elementary School for 7 years.

Jyoti Hosagrahar (On Leave)
Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar, Chair of the PhD Program. Jyoti Hosagrahar is UNESCO Chair Professor in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development. She is also Chair of the Ph.D. program and Director of the SUI-Srishti Collaborative. Hosagrahar is a professor in architecture and urban planning at Columbia University, New York where she directs the Sustainable Urbanism International Lab that is an NGO in India. She served as an expert member of the national Advisory Committee for World Heritage under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India (2011-2015). Architect, Urban Designer and Planner, and Cultural Heritage Management specialist, since 2006 she has served as a technical expert for UNESCO on historic cities, culture and development, and urban sustainability, and for UN Habitat III Policy Unit 2. She has worked closely with the World Heritage Center and the Culture Sector at UNESCO in a number of capacities. She serves on the Executive Committee of ICOMOS India member of the ICOMOS International Scientific Committee for Theory and Philosophy (Theophil) and Historic Towns and Cities (CIVVIH). Hosagrahar serves as a visiting professor in the UNESCO Chair Program at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy. She is currently a member of the Panel for Sustainability with the Bureau of Indian Standards, and Karnataka’s Tourism Vision Group. She leads the SUI-Srishti Collaborative at Srishti exploring the intersections of design, culture, environment, and sustainable development. She is the chair of the Ph.D. Program at Srishti.
Areas of Interest: Cultural heritage design and management; sustainable development; urban design and planning; history and theory of the built environment.

Ramesh Kalkur
Ramesh Kalkur has a MA in Painting from Royal College of Arts, London, Post Diploma in Painting from M. S. University in Baroda and Diploma in Painting from Ken School of Arts, Bangalore. He has worked as coordinator with scenographer, Rajiv Sethi and has two years of experience as web designer before joining Srishti in 2001. His effort to break out of narrative structure that prevailed at Baroda school in 90’s has resulted in series of works called “assemblages”. His later works explored the idea of body as a subject as well as object. This resulted in series of photographs that has been exhibited in several places including the show called “Veil” at Iniva, London. He has had several solo exhibitions of his works over the years. At Srishti, Ramesh has been a Dean of School of Foundation and Preparatory Studies (SFPS) program for the last ten years.
Areas of Interest: Curriculum design, Drawing, Artistic Practices.

Meena Vari
Meena Vari is a curator and her practice is predominantly rooted in Visual and Performance Art. As an educator, she works with a combination of teaching philosophies and methods of understanding contemporary and new interventions of art, design, culture and society. Meena has formal training in Humanities, Art Education and Arts Management. She is a Chevening-Clore Fellow for the Clore - Creative Leadership in the Arts and a Fulbright Scholar for Arts Management. Meena is currently engaged in collaborative projects where she combines elements of artistic practice, academic training for graduate students of art and design, with a strong focus on new artistic practices that combine experimentation, imagination and development in technology and media. Meena is the Dean of the School of Media, Arts and Sciences (SMAS), Dean of Contemporary Arts and Curatorial Practice and coordinator for the Center for Experimental Media Arts (CEMA).
Areas of Interest: Curatorial practice, Contemporary Art Practice, Experimental Media Art, Leadership in the Arts, Arts Management.

Mary Jacob Kuruvilla
Mary has a Bachelors in Architecture from University of Visveswaraya College of Engineering Bangalore. She has a wide range of experience in architectural and interior projects including residences, offices and resorts. Mary has also taught at Exterior & Interiors as senior faculty, in their various centers in Cochin, Bangalore and Calcutta, where she also developed their syllabus and courseware.
She joined Srishti as a faculty of Interior Design and is currently the Dean of The School of Law Environment and Planning (SLEP). At Srishti she leads the LeNS project (Learning Network on Sustainability Project). This is a EU funded project in collaboration with other design schools in Europe and Asia. She is also coordinating the LeNS India chapter. Mary has worked on various projects with students at Srishti, which includes Sustainable and Inclusive Design. She also facilitates spatial design courses for the Postgraduate Diploma students.
Areas of Interest: Sustainability, Inclusive Design and Inclusive Education.

Rustam Vania
Rustam Vania is Dean of Projects and is interested in communication design with emphasis on environmental and social contexts. As a graphic designer, illustrator and cartoonist, his focus is in the interface between educational needs and creative communication solutions. He coordinates and conceptualises interdisciplinary courses where the primary pedagogical method is place-based learning (space, place and people) through real life contexts and/or projects. Subjects range from heritage conservation to habitat studies to design in education and ecological design. He has over a decades experience in developing popular creative communication strategies for science, environment and development education. He was the founder editor and designer of Gobar Times, a monthly magazine supplement to Down To Earth, the science and environment fortnightly published by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Geetanjali Sachdev
Geetanjali Sachdev is an art and design pedagogue and practitioner. She has been involved in framing interdisciplinary pedagogical frameworks for academic programs in art and design, at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her art and design practice includes working with paper and paper goods. At Srishti, her roles have included deanship of the post-graduate and advanced diploma programs, chairing admissions, and coordinating the foundation studies and core skills programs. Geetanjali is currently doing her PhD in Art & Design at Srishti through which she is exploring art and design pedagogies for plant representations. She teaches courses related to food, patterns, motifs and decorative street art. Geetanjali is the Dean for the Postgraduate Professional Program and Postgraduate Program in Arts.
Areas of Interest: art and design pedagogy; street art; botanical art; decorative art; paper; pattern.

Kumkum Nadig
Kumkum is a trained architect, industrial designer and graphic designer. Since 1984 her work has integrated the disciplines of graphic design, visual communication design and industrial design through projects in packaging design, branding and
identity design, marketing collateral design, web design, exhibition design, information design and publication design.
As the Dean of School of Design, Business and Technology (SDBT), Kumkum has been actively involved in designing curriculum for Srishti’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Visual Communication Design and Strategic Branding. She is also part of the team to plan and set up Srishti’s off-site Undergraduate Technical Program in Graphic Arts and Design Practices. Kumkum teaches studios, workshops and projects across different schools & years of studies at Srishti while managing her own design practice at Kena Design. Kena Design was founded by Kumkum in 2007 and offers design services to small to mid-size companies and NGOs in India as well as in UK and USA.
Areas of Interest: Graphic Design, Visual Communication Design and Industrial Design, Packaging Design, Branding and Identity Design, Marketing Collateral Design, Web Design, Exhibition Design, Information Design and Publication Design.

John Mathew
John is Dean of Industrial Design and brings extensive experience in the furniture, Industrial and Interior Design sectors. Graduating from the National Institute of Design he went on to found Studioline Interior Systems in 1985 and Dovetail Furniture in 1990 in Bangalore, John has enjoyed commercial and creative success with these uniquely design driven business’ in India.
John has been a driving force at Srishti since 2000, taking the role of Head of Design for Furniture and Interiors and building these departments from scratch to the respected institutions they are today.
Recently adding the role of Head of Industrial Design to his portfolio John has been responsible for creating a generation of skilled designers in India. John’s passion is for contemporary, progressive design that challenges and provokes. The aspect of technology fused with new materials and traditional practices has been explored extensively during his tenure at Srishti, eschewing mediocrity and conservatism at every step.
Areas of Interest: Industrial Design, Furniture Design, Manufacture, Entrepreneurship.

Swati Maskeri

Swati has been a part of Srishti since 1999 as faculty and Head of programme for the Department of textile design, where she has been responsible for teaching as well as curriculum development at the undergraduate level.

With an Undergraduate Diploma in Textiles, specialising in weaving, she went on to work with a State of the Art mill, Himatsingka Seide Ltd in Bangalore from 1987 to 1990. Following this she went to the National Institute of design, Ahmedabad to pursue her PG Diploma in Textile design. Her 24 years of work experience spans across a diverse range from working as a designer with leading brands like The Bombay Store, the designer Ritu Kumar and teaching at NIFT, Bangalore and Srishti. She has worked closely with crafts persons for design development in the traditional hand loom weaving styles of Orissa and West Bengal and with several other craft groups in North Karnataka as well as Kutch, Gujarat. She is interested in the area of Social design & works with students and rural artisans to help create sustainable livelihoods through craft practices.

Ayisha Abraham.
Ayisha Abraham is a contemporary visual artist who studied painting at MSU, Baroda, and installation art at Rutgers University and the Whitney Program, New York, USA. Her ongoing project on amateur filmmakers has led her to collect 8mm home movies and work with found footage. Ayisha’s films ‘Straight 8’, ‘You are here’ and ‘I Saw a God Dance’ have been screened at venues across the world including the Directors' Fortnight Cannes and the Serpentine Gallery, London. Her installation work has been exhibited at international museums and galleries like the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts, San Francisco and Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi. Ayisha has published her writing in ‘Mining the Home Movie’ (2006) and the journal, New Cinema (2014). Ayisha co-curated an exhibition with Alternative Law Forum for the World Information City conference, Bangalore. Since 2006 she has been a member of BAR 1, a Bangalore artists collective.
Ayisha is Dean of the School of Media, Arts and Sciences. She teaches courses in studio art and visual culture. Her interdisciplinary and eclectic approach to arts pedagogy has shaped the work of students interested in visual art. Ayisha co-founded 'Nazariya’ the film festival designed for Srishti students to engage with present day issues through cinema.
Areas of Interest: Photography and memory, Found footage film, Site-specific installations, Artists books/publications and creative writing.

Manjari Singh
Manjari Singh joined Srishti in early 2011 as the Coordinator for Center for Education Research Training and Development (CERTAD). She has a Ph.D in Educational Psychology with a specific focus on Learning, Cognition and Instruction from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. She also has a Bachelor of Education from Annamalai University and a Masters' degree in Clinical Psychology from Bangalore University, India.
Manjari has been involved in educational research and practice within elementary-secondary schools and higher education. Her research work has been primarily qualitative and included ethnographic studies of teaching and learning. Her educational practice has included teaching and counselling students within K-12 system in India, teaching undergraduate students in the United States, mentoring and supervising pre-service teachers, as well as contributing to professional development workshops and programs for practicing teachers.
Manjari's focus is on fostering educational practices that are learner-centered, developmentally appropriate and stimulating and which promote gender equity and student empowerment. She is interested in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of educational programs and processes that foster quality learning among children enrolled in school or non-formal educational programs, and, in conducting programs and research related to teacher's professional learning and development.

Swati Dandekar
Swati Dandekar is a filmmaker with a keen interest in documenting and understanding the process of change. Her recent work, arising out of collaborations with economists and urban planners, is a series of film essays on practices of governance and democracy in India, and their impact on peoples, places and the environment. With a Masters in History and a Post Graduate Diploma in Communication Media, her work of 25 years spans television programming, educational video & radio, biopics & oral histories of scientists, and independent documentary films. As a founder member of Vikalp Bengaluru she has been actively involved in creating a documentary viewing culture in Bangalore city through regular film screenings. At Srishti, Swati brings together her interest in film and the humanities to enquire into various cultural & social practices and the human stories embedded within, through the language of image and sound. She is Head of Program for Film, and teaches courses in film and general studies.
Areas of Interest: Documentary Film, Cinema & Society, History of Science, Oral History, Language and Literature.

Sandeep Ashwath
Sandeep Ashwath is an animator and anthropologist. He is interested in the construction of sacredness in domestic spaces, the audience reception of animation texts and the relation between moving image and the transcendent. In his work as an animator, Sandeep initially engaged with traditional forms of Indian storytelling and performance through classical animation involving hand painted and paper cut-out techniques. His work then moved to exploring digital imagery, verse/text and minimalist drawn animation for telling stories effectively. He holds a PhD from the University of Surrey – UK and a Master’s Degree from the Royal College of Art – London. Before that, he studied at the National Institute of Design – Ahmedabad specialising in Animation Film Design. At Srishti, Sandeep is Associate Dean at the School of Media, Arts and Sciences and he heads the undergraduate programs of Digital Media Arts, Digital Media Production and the postgraduate pathway in Animation and Visual Effects. He teaches film/animation language, film appreciation, scripting and research methods. He mentors graduation projects and sits on advisory panels for doctoral students.
Areas of Interest: Cultural Anthropology, Animation Film Design, Animation Research, Ethnography, Film Language.

Pithamber R. Polsani
Pithamber traversed diverse disciplines: philosophy, education, technology, management, literature, semiotics, media, psychoanalysis, art and Spanish language. These explorations have given him the capability to synthesize insights from multiple domains and connect hitherto unconnected things in a unique way to arrive at solutions to conceptual and practical problems. Prior to joining Srishti as faculty, Pithamber led learning Academies for Royal Bank of Scotland & Nokia Siemens Networks, and at Satyam Computer Services established a Virtual University. Before joining the corporate sector Pithamber taught at the University of Arizona, Bates College & Delhi University. Pithamber received his PhD (1997) from Purdue University, West Lafayette and MPhil & MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Some of Pithamber’s publications include, “The Image in a Fatal Kiss: Dalí, Lacan and the Paranoiac Representation”, Bucknell Review, 2001; “Like A Lizard That Junks its Tail in Distress: Homer Simpson is no Antigone”, The Symptom, 2003; “Use and Abuse of Learning Objects”, Journal of Digital Information, 2003; “Riding the Satellite to the Millennium”, C-Theory, 1998.
At Srishti, Pithamber is currently the Dean of the School of Advanced Studies and Research.
Areas of Interest: Design Ideas in History; Vernacular Design; Urbanism & Urban Design and Philosophy.

Deepta Sateesh
Deepta is an ecological designer concerned with the environment and communities, working on complex design projects to catalyze socio-ecological change in contentious landscapes. She is Director of the Design+Environment+Law Laboratory, a collaborative initiative of Srishti and Natural Justice, and a space where designers, lawyers, scholars and activists work together to challenge existing legal, environmental, social, economic and cultural frameworks, towards greater resilience.
In the past, Deepta has worked on large-scale planning projects in China, Korea, Vietnam and Colombia, including the master plan for the Beijing Olympics 2008 site and the proposed Bogota Metro Project; building her knowledge, experience and strengths in environmental leadership, strategy and ecological planning. Deepta is Dean of the School of New Humanities & Design, and holds a Bachelor of Architecture (Manipal Institute of Technology, 1998), and a Master of City Planning (University of Pennsylvania, 2000). Her current research focus is in design as enquiry, and is challenging disciplinary and quasi-scientific frameworks in the Western Ghats, India.
Areas of Interest: Environment; Resilience; Adaptive Capacity; Tacit Knowledge; Design Enquiry.