Pathway : Public History and Heritage Interpretation
"Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunters." - African Proverb
Students conducting an oral history interview in Bidar, Karnataka, as part of an end-semester examination in April, 2019
History has too often excluded the lives of ordinary people. Public history challenges this exclusion. It creates new interpretations of historical phenomena by engaging with people’s experiences of the past that were never earlier included in the grand narratives of history.
At Srishti Manipal, we envision the Public History and Heritage Interpretation course as an opportunity to engage with communities and to learn new ways of working with historical sites, monuments, and institutions so as to address the contemporary challenges of interpreting history. The course will enable the creation of new resources that would offer fresh understandings of the past, and actively work with history outside of conventional academic practice. The course will create professionals trained to transform and reimagine museums, heritage sites, and archives as spaces that draw on new technologies to dynamically interpret the past by including voices that were not authorised to speak earlier.
- Hands-on History
- Public engagement with the past
- Inclusion of multiple narratives
- Trans-disciplinary approach to the past
- Collaborative Interpretation
Students learning tacit knowledge through metal filing at the HMT Training Institute, as part of the Winter School in Public History, in February, 2020
- Disciplinary Studies
- Trans-disciplinary Projects
- Theory and Understanding Units
- Self-Directed Inquiry/Research
- Knowledge Enhancement (Ability or Skills)
The Public History and Heritage Interpretation course provides critical and theoretical frameworks through an engagement with existing scholarship. The course organises specialist Winter Schools in Oral and Public History where students have the opportunity of learn from renowned faculty members from India and abroad. Our Winter School faculty have included researchers and scholars from India, Bangladesh, Australia, Europe, UK, and USA.The focus is on acquiring practical public history experience and developing craft in a field that is expanding and shifting in exciting ways.
The practice of public history integrates oral history, digital storytelling, and archival practices with communication tools that can make history accessible to a larger public. Learning will, therefore, involve a combination of the following skills:
- Archival Research and Documentation
- Audio recording and Archiving
- Digital Archiving
- Interviewing and Transcription
- Visual Communication Design
The pathway strives to nurture the following capabilities:
- Capability for judicious selection from among potential multiple versions of the past
- Capability for convivial research practice for constructing knowledge about the past
- Capability for conceptualising and co-creating archival systems and platforms
- Capability for disseminating research findings beyond academia
An aural installation on the Commercial Street area in Bengaluru, created by students using oral history interviews that they took of old and diverse residents of the locality, as part of a four-week project in December, 2020
Center for Public History (CPH)'s wide client base will enable graduates to find suitable employment opportunities in the following sectors:
Institutions and Corporate Sector
- Leadership positions in institutional and corporate archives
- Archival consultant for corporates and institutions
- Content developer for events related to corporate heritage
- Museum curator
- Museum educator
- Content and Program Developer for museum galleries
- Heritage exhibition designer
- Archival and heritage book designer
- Heritage Programmer for archaeological monuments and sites
- Heritage-based walk designer
- Consultants for school projects
- Higher Education – Ph.D. in Public History
For more information about this program, kindly email Srijan Sandip Mandal at firstname.lastname@example.org
Public history expands the methods of academic history to incorporate history that is seen, heard, read and interpreted. Those specialising in Public History and Heritage Interpretation will therefore work with the historical method but also be trained in a larger range of practices that focus on visual culture, aesthetics, literature, geography, folk cultures, and language studies. Students will focus on the public context of historical scholarship. The core disciplines therefore move beyond history and include:
Visual Communication Design
The practice of Public History integrates oral history, digital storytelling, and archival practices with communication tools that can make history accessible to a larger public. Learning will therefore involve a combination of the following skills:
Audio recording and Archiving
Interviewing and Transcription
Visual Communication Design
Students participating in a discussion on the public lives of objects at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Bengaluru, as part of the Winter School in Public History in February, 2020.
Research and Collaboration
Those in the Public History and Heritage Interpretation specialisation will primarily work with projects that are undertaken by the Centre for Public History (CPH). In the last six years, CPH has played a pioneering role in creating archives of contemporary Indian institutions. CPH has worked with heritage sites, folk and artisanal communities, designed public history interventions at the Bangalore Fort, and created archives and designed archival books and exhibitions for IIMC, Kolkata, IMSc, Chennai, EPW, Mumbai, Indian Museum, Kolkata, and Sasha, Kolkata.
CPH’s wide range of projects are based in different cities in India. By engaging directly with CPH projects, students will also learn to integrate oral history, digital storytelling, and archival practices with communication tools that make history accessible to a larger public and move beyond academia. Apart from that CPH will also find suitable internship opportunities (Summer Practice) for learners at reputed institutions that work with museums, archaeological heritage and contemporary history. Learners will thus gain the experience of working with real-time projects.
CPH also collaborates with the numerous research and practice labs in Srishti Manipal and learners will also have the opportunity of connecting with filmmakers, cultural activists, new media practitioners, artists, and designers who work with history and heritage.