The Future of Indian Art Education

Conference hosted by the Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF)

18 – 19 March 2017 | Ayana, Fort Kochi


The conference was held to reflect on the current status of art education in India as well as assess the potentiality of an exhibitory platform, such as the Students’ Biennale in addressing and intervening in the current institutional landscape of art schools in India. The Students’ Biennale reaches out to 55 art schools across the country. The process was initiated in November 2015, when a newly appointed team of 15 curators participated in an education conference held in Kochi.


The conference explored ideas of the exhibition that emerged out of the process of the Students’ Biennale and deliberated on what has been made possible in this positioning of the question of art education within the fabric of the Biennale. The Students’ Biennale has been a process of undoing assumptions and going back to the table to ask some fundamental questions in the face of what one is encountering on the ground – on what constitutes ‘student’ work, what is an art school, what does it make possible and where to actually locate the institution. How can this exhibition platform speak to these different art centres and what kind of research questions and curatorial frameworks should be proposed?


The two-day conference brought together the Students’ Biennale curators, as well as teachers, researchers and artists, many of whom have been involved in this platform in advisory roles, to reflect on the current status of art education in India and also to examine closely what the Students’ Biennale has materialized by bringing together these two systems – the exhibition and education. This collective brainstorming will work as a very useful review of the process undertaken as well as project into the future on the road ahead for Indian art schools and for the particular initiative of Students’ Biennale.


SSAF funded the travel costs for art educators and artists to attend the conference.


Kochi Biennale Foundation (KBF) is a non-profit charitable trust engaged in promoting art and culture and educational activities in India; primary amongst them is the hosting of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. KBF works around the year to strengthen the contemporary art infrastructure and to broaden public access to art across India.