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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

WSA Collaborations in India

Published: 31 December 2015
Designs by Richa Aggarwal

WSA's Head of School, Ed d'Souza, has recently been forging strong links between the School and artists and arts organisations in India. Here is a round up of some of the activities, and some of our notable alumni.

Ed is a designer, an artist and an academic whose practice brings together both theoretical and contextual thinking about design and art both through his published writings but also as a visual artist and as an award wining designer through a sustained critical practice of over 20 years. Much of his internationally published work, exhibitions and contribution as a speaker have centred around economic, political and social change concentrating on identity, location and context especially in relation to India and its global diaspora. He has been regularly featured and interviewed regularly in the International and Indian press and profiled about both his art practice and as an expert in relation to India and of UK art and design education and has been featured in The Hindu, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, Second Generation Magazine, Graphics International, Elle Magazine, the BBC and Blouin Artinfo.

He continues to work extensively in developing industry, academic and research links in India and sits on the University of Southampton’s India specialist group. As a creative consultant through the University he has previously advised Tina Ambani’s Harmony Art Foundation on a previous cultural preservation project the Foundation wanted to develop to help preserve the artform and culture of Warli artists in Maharashtra-Gujarat borders of India, he has built work experience and employment links with the global advertising agency, Weiden + Kennedy at their Delhi offices and has been a visiting Professor at MICA (Mudra Instititute of Communication Ahmedabad).

Recent conference contributions that relate to his Indian research include papers in 2014 at Arts Santa Monica in Barcelona, Spain at TRANS-locations: Artistic Practices and Social Space, in 2015 at the International Symposium of Cultural Spaces: Creative Places in collaboration with Nanjing University at the University of Southampton and in India at the Kochi/Muziris Biennale (KMB) in 2015 at their programme of seminars and talks called History Now, curating four talks titled ‘Contested Spaces’. The KMB is the latest and seen as an influential global art biennale launched in 2012 in Kochi in the state of Kerala, India when D’Souza first visited it to document and write about this launch edition of the Biennale. His writings on the ‘Biennale effect’ locate the KMB against India’s recent history of radical political modernization post-independence and through the states attempts to establish itself in terms of internationalism and contemporaneity via the arts.

Recent publications include, Outside India: Dialogues and Documents of Social Change, W+K Publishing, 2012, which accompanied a major solo exhibition commission and book launch at the W+K Exp gallery in Delhi. Other publications and research into the Asian diaspora includes Barcelona Masala: Narratives and Interactions In Cultural Space, Actar, 2013. His journal article The Indian Biennale Effect: The Kochi/Murziris Biennale 12/12/12 was published by Cultural Politics, an international, refereed journal that explores the global character and effects of contemporary culture and politics, published by Duke University Press in the US in 2013.

Subsequently D’Souza has been invited as a speaker and as an artist to the Kochi/Muziris Biennale in 2015 and he is developing further interactions between Winchester School of Art in regards to future events and research centred around the KMB’s next edition in December 2016, where he will launch his forthcoming publication India's Biennale Effect, published by Routledge India. This new publication reflecting on the past two editions has a number of Indian contributions including the co-founders Bose Krishnamachari and Ryas Komu and the last Biennales curator the Indian artist Jitish Kallat. Winchester school of Art has also awarded one of it’s prestigious Vice Chancellors full PhD scholarships to Shwetal Patel who has previously been the KMB’s co-ordinator of exhibitions to further support the School’s research on the Indian Biennale.

The importance of this research and collaboration with this particular Biennale is evidence of global interest in India’s Biennale with co-founders Bose Krishnamachari and Riyas Komu having recently made it onto the prestigious international contemporary art magazine ArtReview's Power 100 list for 2015. The illustrious list comprises gallerists, artists, museum directors, curators, art fair directors, collectors, art school directors and philosophers from all over the world, and includes the likes of Hans Ulrich Obrist, Julia Peyton-Jones, Nicholas Serota, Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramovic, Jeff Koons, Gerhard Richter etc. Bose Krishnamachari, told the Mumbai Mirror diarist recently: "While this must be only a list, such recognitions internationally make us more responsible and it is an acknowledgement of the Indian 'soft power' by the global art scene."

Previous exhibitions and publications related to India include the 2006 coedited publication, Living Pictures: Perspectives On the Film Poster in India, which was the first book to be devoted to the poster art of Indian cinema, tracking its development as a popular form of cultural iconography from the year of Indian independence until the present day. This included an international touring exhibition starting with a launch at Pentagrams London gallery. In 2007 he exhibited his artworks, Resist India at the Suzhou Art Museum in China with an accompanying publication that discussed India’s absorption and rejection of Western and international culture through the documenting of social and cultural change, part of the by product of India’s rapid development since the opening up of global trade as part of the economic policy reforms of the early 1990s.

Most recently the School in October 2015 has brought over the Indian curator Amit Jain and his exhibition Reading Room: Leaves, threads, Traces to the Winchester Gallery. This exhibition of artists books drawn from the Columbo and Kochi/Muziris Biennales were curated and exhibited the artists book collection and new artworks from Winchester School of Art. Amit worked with Masters and PhD students installing and curating this exhibition while lecturing on Indian art practice and exhibition. He is currently the Associate Vice President, Client Relations at Saffronart and previously the Head of Programmes for the Devi Art Foundation in Delhi responsible for the Lekha and Anupam Poddar collection and looking to develop further collaborations with the School.

Notable Indian alumni:

Artwork by Rohini Devashar
Artwork by Rohini Devashar

Rohini Devashar, MA Fine Art, graduated 2004:

Rohini lives and works in New Delhi and her current work involves research and fieldwork into astronomy as part of her art practice. She works in a variety of media including large site specific drawings, video, digital prints and sound and was the recent recipient of the Forbes India Young Contemporary Artist of the Year 2014, Skoda Breakthrough Artist Award 2013. She has been included in the 5th Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale in 2014 and India’s first Kochi/Muziris Biennale in 2012 as well as showing her work internationally.


Make In India Campaign
Make In India Campaign


Vivek Martin, BA Hons Graphic Arts, graduated 2013:

Specialising in design and animation Vivek was one of a number of WSA students who have done their work experience at W+K Delhi and was then employed by them. He has been working on major projects and clients including Indigo Airlines and the major Indian Government campaign Make In India. Weiden + Kennedy Delhi, who are one of the worlds largest independent ad agencies with offices in New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Tokyo, Portland and Amsterdam.



Designs by Richa Aggarwal
Designs by Richa Aggarwal


Richa Aggarwal, MA Fashion Design Fashion, graduated 2011:

Graduated from NIFT Bangalore 2007, awarded a JN Tata Scholarship in 2010 to study her Master at Winchester School of Art, in 2012 she was selected for as a new fashion designer forLakme Fashion Weeks Gen Next based on her final collection designed on her MA at WSA, invited to be a member of Design Council of India in 2014 and was selected to participate in Wills India fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015. Her work has been featured in the Indian and International press in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, The Huffington Post and The Times of India to name a few.



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