Art and the Field: Context and Materiality


Art and the Field: Context and Materiality is an innovative pedagogic process which seeks to encourage modes of research that, in addition to the perspectives provided by the social sciences, take into account sensory, intuitive and tacit forms of knowledge. We also look for ways to anchor the output, which is inter-disciplinary, in the local – through friendships and affiliations. Students have been encouraged to examine various sites around the university, including the historic Grand Trunk Road, the Wetlands near the campus, the role of the River Ganga in the lives of local communities and smaller towns like Sardhana and Bulandshahr. 

It needs to be stressed that students are not expected to produce work about specific places in the literal sense, but are encouraged to build a material and conceptual vocabulary of responses to what is observed and read directly from the landscape. These observations go towards building an archive - of drawings, photographs, and objects, which will remain valuable far beyond the duration of a specific project. 

The study has enabled students to make their own informed and discerning choices, to assess the meaning and impact of the images, forms, and propositions that might arise through their research and practice. It would also inflect and deflect the currently excessive dependence on the Euro/Americo-centric discourse in positive ways. Therefore this process leads to the possibility of embedding art practices within existing social structures, along with the kind of support they provide for creative resources. 

‘Art and the Field: Context and Materiality’ has been led by Prof Vasudha Thozur since 2013. Some of the student work can be accessed here -