Don’t make PhD mandatory for associate professors in art: scholars

Kochi, Nov 27: Art historians, critics and artists called for a review of a five-year-old directive by University Grants Commission (UGC ) that makes PhD mandatory for appointment of associate professors in art institutes.

This eligibility criterion has brought in discrimination in the case of art education, said speakers at 'State of Art Schools: Reality & Prospects' conference being organised by Kochi Biennale Foundation in association with Foundation for Indian Art & Education (FIAE).

Reading out artist Sasidharan Nair's paper at the conference, artist Indrapramit Roy said “There are lot of PhDs which are on sale in the country especially in the some states in Northern part of the country.  Due to this new directive, many people who have done years of rigorous art practice have been discriminated. Sometimes, colleges end up choosing a less suitable candidate for the post just because he/she has a PhD attached to their name,” said his paper “Disparities and confusions regarding the qualification for the appointment of Visual Art teachers in universities/colleges”.

In this context, the paper suggested a studio-based or practice-based PhD, saying it would be more realistic and practical when it comes to selecting art tutors.

Renowned architect Ravi Kashi, whose paper was presented by Indrapramit Roy, sought a regulatory mechanism and a set of new teaching practices that can be introduced to make art education more relevant in India. An institution on the lines of Council of Architecture in the national level might help to streamline the art education sector, he said. Issuing certification to art institutions by a government body may help to maintain the quality of education, the paper noted.

Raja Mohanty, Professor at Industrial Design Centre (IIT Bombay), C P Krishnapriya, artist, and Saradha Natarajan, faculty member at S N School of Arts & Communication, Hyderabad also presented their papers on the second day of the conference.

The day witnessed release of a book titled No. 1 Shanthi Road. Senior artist T Kaladharan released the work, which was penned by Suresh Jayaram, Amaaresh Bijal, Kalpana Prakash and Umesh Maddanahalli. It talks about the art practices of Shanthi Road studio gallery established in Bengaluru in 2002. This artist-led initiative provides free creative space for artists through art residencies and collaboration with local and visiting artists from all parts of the world. 


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