PhD Faculty

Dr. Jyoti Hosagrahar (On Leave)
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.


Dr. 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.
Areas of Interest: Design Ideas in History; Vernacular Design; Urbanism & Urban Design and Philosophy.


Dr. Abhiyan Humane.
Abhiyan Humane is an artist and scholar interested in perception, manifestation, and interpretation of information. He experiments with light, photosensitivity, and motion. His work explores emergent technologies and platforms that are increasingly relevant in a world where our interactions and experiences are mediated. Abhiyan’s research areas include communication and consumption patterns, altered realities of participation, spaces, and representations that are fun to explore, design and play with. How political movements foster, develop, and evolve has always fascinated him. He is interested in the production and consumption of art during social, cultural, and political movements. Abhiyan also curated an art gallery in Minneapolis. His academic background includes engineering, political communication, new media, and information science. He is one of the course leaders for Experimental Media Arts and co-ordinates the Post Graduate Programme in Network Cultures and Land and Habitat Studies.
Areas of Interest: Science of Images, Movement, and Perception, Participatory and Expressive Technologies, Civic and Political Expression.


Dr. Aileen Blaney.
Aileen Blaney is an educator, writer and researcher with an M.Phil and Ph.D. in Film Studies from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Aileen’s film related publications have appeared in edited book collections and international peer-reviewed journals. Her research is currently focused on how the internet, digitization of culture, and their increasing automation, are impacting photo-based art practices and photography in the everyday. She is co-editor of a forthcoming book Photography in India in Light Years and Digital Times (forthcoming, 2017). Prior to joining Srishti, she worked at India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) in its arts practice and curatorial programmes. She was a creative producer (2010-12) for Dublin-based Forum on Migration and Communications and Pivotal Arts Studio (Dublin/London), where she contributed to socially engaged documentary arts, curatorial and public learning projects with a focus on migration. At Srishti, Aileen teaches in the PhD program, is Course Leader for the MA in Screen Studies and delivers ‘General Studies’ courses in film, photography and visual theory and criticism at undergraduate level.
Areas of Interest: Violence and Documentary film; Photo-based Contemporary Art Practice; Materialities of Digital Photography; Visuality and the image in the internet-age.


Dr. Farhat Ara.
Farhat is an educator and a researcher with a strong interest in science and technology education. At Srishti, her current focus is on developing curricular materials and pedagogical practices for meaningful learning in science and technology education in middle schools. She has a broad interest in Science Education, Design and Technology Education and Curriculum Development. She also has a strong interest in the cognitive aspects of human learning in science and design.
Farhat has a PhD in Science Education from Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, and a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in in Zoology from Calcutta University.


Dr. Gautham Dayal.
Gautham is interested in looking at ‘making’ as a way of empowering people and communities. He is interested in how ‘making’ traditions and modern fabrication technology meet and what these imply for a meaningful ‘vocational’ education.
He explores the role that ‘making’, ‘play’ and ‘tinkering’ play in building understanding. In this context, he is also interested in exploring how the collection of materials one normally works with can be extended to include computers (and other programmable objects).
Outside of Srishti, he has taught in a variety of settings; in an international school, in a learning centre for children from urban poor, in non-formal schools for rural and urban children. He is also passionate about working with wood, and spends much time both making wooden furniture and teaching woodwork.


Dr. Girish Prabhu.
Dr. Girish Prabhu has held various management positions in new business development, re-search, and product commercialization at Eastman Kodak, HP,and Intel and was instrumental in implementing user-centered design and innovation processes in multiple product areas. He joined the Labs team in April 2010.
Girish has a deep understanding of local and international consumers, regularly mentoring ethnographic research projects. Girish has 20 years of experience in user, business, design innovation, new product & business development, and product internationalization & localization.
Girish has published referred papers in international journals, holds 14 U.S. patents and is an invited speaker at both national and international conferences. He is a member of PDMA, ISPIM and ACM-SIGCHI. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Industrial Engineering (Human Factors) from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Engineering, Mysore. He is interested in innovating for emerging markets and product & service localization.


Dr. Geetha Narayanan.
Geetha is the Founder-Director of the Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology and its sister institution, the Mallya Aditi International School. She has dedicated her life to finding and establishing new models of educational institutions that are creative, synergistic and original in their approach to learning. An administrator, researcher, teacher and facilitator, she has pioneered many courses and projects that examine a wide variety of needs, social and educational. Geetha is the author and principal investigator of Project Vision, an international research initiative that is looking at the development of appropriate instructional strategies and technology-related tools that foster creative cognitive architectures in young children from urban poor communities.


Dr. Indira Chowdhury
Indira Chowdhury has a Ph.D. in history from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London (1993), an MPhil from the University of Pune (1985) and a Masters from Jadavpur University (1981). She was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship in 1989. Earlier, a professor at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Indira left to dedicate herself to creating archives and founded Archival Resources for Contemporary History (ARCH), in Bangalore in 2007. Her book, The Frail Hero and Virile History (Oxford University Press, 1998), was awarded the Tagore Prize in 2001. She was awarded the New India Foundation Fellowship in 2006. Keenly interested in oral history, Indira is a founding member of the Oral History Association of India (OHAI) and currently President. She is also President of the International Oral History Association. At Srishti, Indira is the founding director of the Center for Public History. She teaches in the Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Ph.D. programs. She is also a Ph.D. guide approved by Manipal University.
Areas of Interest: Oral History, Public History, History of Science, Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies.


Dr. Jaishri Iyer.
Jaishri Iyer is a consultant counsellor at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology and is working with individuals, families and groups, focussing on enhancing young adults’ personal and social functioning, their overall psychological health, and developing effective interpersonal skills.
She has a doctoral degree in Guidance and Counselling, and a graduate degree in Sociology and Education. Having taught Human Resources, Training and Development at Icfai, India, she has also worked as a counsellor at The Asian Hospital, Harmony Counselling Centre, and the Madras Dyslexia Association, Chennai.
Her counselling interests are focused on individual and group therapy, motivation, communication, integrative mental health and emotional wellbeing, family and relationships, life transitions, crisis interventions, outreach and consultation. She is committed to providing support and care to all.


Dr. Manjari Singh.
Manjari Singh joined Srishti in early 2011 as the Coordinator for CERTAD (Centre for Education, Research, Training and Development). 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.


Dr. Naveen Bagalkot.
Naveen’s research is within the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and User Experience Design. Over the past five years Naveen has been involved in the domain of designing for out-of-clinic healthcare, exploring the design of pervasive and mobile Information & Communication Technology that support people to perform care activities meaningfully across everyday spaces, things and people. His research addresses the issues and challenges posed by the resource-constrained settings for technological design by taking advantage of the heterogeneous everyday practices of the end-users. With a background in Architecture, Industrial Design and Interaction Design he brings exploratory design skills in combination with an ethnographic sensitivity to design research. For Naveen, design is not a mere means to an end, but a means of inquiry and exploration of the nuances of human behavior and experience. He is interested in innovating for emerging communities through figuring ways of embracing the ongoing assemblages of living. Naveen holds a Ph.D. in Interaction Design from IT-University of Copenhagen, Denmark, an M.Des in Industrial Design from IIT-Bombay, and a B.Arch from Vishveshwarya Technological University, India.


Dr. Padmini Ray Murray.
Padmini Ray Murray’s work is theoretically rigorous and practice-led, and inspired by conceiving of and creating new media and digital projects. She received her PhD in English literature from the University of Edinburgh (2008) where she also worked as a postgraduate researcher at The Centre for the History of the Book. Before joining Srishti, she was lecturer in publishing studies and digital media at the University of Stirling (2010-2014). She is currently Vice-Chair of Global Outlook:Digital Humanities, the Editor in Chief of the SHARP (Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing) newsletter, and Managing Editor of DHCommons. Padmini’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and edited collections across a range of disciplines, and she has received significant funding on several occasions to help develop her research.

She is the course leader for the MA in Digital Humanities as well as teaching on a range of different courses at Srishti.

Areas of Interest: Digital humanities and design; comics studies; games studies; literary studies; the history of the book.


Dr. Sandeep Chandra Ashwath,
With an undergraduate degree in science, Sandeep went on to study animation at the National Institute of Design-Ahmedabad. He then completed an MA in animation at the Royal College of Art-London. Sandeep initially engaged with traditional forms of Indian storytelling and performance through classical animation. His work then moved to exploring digital imagery, verse/text and minimalist drawn animation for telling stories effectively. His interest in folk narratives lead to a doctoral study in social anthropology on the topic of mythology and sacredness in urban India, at the University of Surrey- UK.


Dr. Vasanthi Mariadass.
Dr. Vasanthi Mariadass is Associate Dean of the Postgraduate Program at Srishti. She has a doctorate in Cinema Studies from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with teaching experience from both US and India. Her specialization is in Film and Literary Theory (including poststructuralism, postmodernism, psychoanalysis, postcolonial studies and feminist studies). Published an essay “Vagabondia: Archiving the Archive” a theoretical piece on Isaac Julien’s film Vagabondia. Her current research is on the works of a German documentary filmmaker Harun Farocki. Her article “Pause the Image” will be published in the journal Studies in Humanities. She is teaching, consulting and researching at Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology. This summer she will be a Research Fellow at The Humboldt University, Berlin.
She teaches Critical Theory, Cinema studies, Photography. She leads the Aesthetics and Critical Studies Program.


Dr. Vivek Dhareshwar.
Vivek Dhareshwar has a Ph.D. from the History of Consciousness Program, University of California, Santa Cruz (1989). Previously, he was Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore, of which institute he was the Director between 2001 and 2004. From 1993 to 1997, he was at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, where he was Fellow in the Social Basis of Culture and Sociology. He was a Homi Bhabha Fellow from 1996-1998. He has also taught in the Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA. He has published widely in ethics, political theory, literary criticism, and the philosophy of culture.
At Srishti, he is Dean, School of New Humanities and Design, and supervises research in the PhD program. He also heads the Bangalore Human Sciences Initiative (BHSI).
Areas of Interest: Comparative study of cultures; ethics and political theory; design as practical knowledge.


Visiting PhD Faculty 2014-15:

Dr. Vandana Goswami, Independent Researcher, Teacher and Trainer in Critical Thinking

Dr. Jyoti Sahi, Freelance artist and writer

Dr. Mallika Gopalakrishna, Managing Director, Research Interface

Prof. Anna Fox, University of Creative Arts, London

Dr. Catherine Lane, University of Arts London

Dr. Lois Hetland, Massachussets College of Art and Design

Dr. Nina Sabnani, Industrial Design Center, IIT Bombay

Dr. Dilip DaCunha, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

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