Art is an unalienable part of the human right to freedom and expression, the development of vibrant cultures and the sustenance of democratic societies. However, the authoritarian forces which are on the ascendant in recent times pose grave challenges to artistic freedom fissuring the very fabric of long established democracies. Ethnic intolerance and growing inequality is a threat to democracy which resonates a multiplicity of ideas and foregrounds a complex and contested space that belongs to no single political ideology or group. For an inclusive world, what is imperative is the creation and sustenance of spaces in which art and culture are not commodities but vital modes of interaction between human beings. In order to understand the vital role of arts and culture in a democracy, we have to examine the current developments in a broader socio-political context. The three day international seminar on “Art and Democracy” engaged by academics and artists will be a platform for an open dialogue on democratic spaces and artistic freedom. The aim is to deliberate on the concept of democracy and explore how art evolves as a critical medium for democratic participation and political expression.


  • Relevance of Gandhism in the Post Human Scenario
  • Relevance of Education in Liberal Arts, in Sustaining Democratic Principles
  • Art as Resilience
  • Gender Precarity in the Contemporary World
  • Power and Democracy
  • Democracy and Dissent in Art and Literature


On the final day of the seminar, the participants were taken on a tour to Fort Kochi to experience Kochi Muziris Biennale. Artists of international repute will engage hands on interactive sessions with the participants.



Topic: “Visualizing Gandhi and the Politics of Representation.”

Prof. Vinay Lal is a writer, cultural critic, public commentator, and Professor of History and Asian American Studies at UCLA. His
intellectual interests include nonviolence, Gandhi, resistance movements, Indian history, global politics, historiography, cinema, and the politics of knowledge systems.

Profile: Link


Topic: “Power, Mastery, and Dissent: Case Studies in Art and Democracy.”

Prof. Amelia Rauser, Chair and Professor, Artand Art History, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster. She has been awarded the
Fulbright Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship-Teaching (2018-19) to India. She is a devoted advocate of liberal
education and has spearheaded initiatives to revitalize and remake the humanities for the 21st century.

Profile: Link


Topic:”The Democratization of Art in the 19th Century United States”

Prof. Micheal Clapper is an Associate Professor of Art History, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster. His research has been
centered on mass – reproduced art, particularly in the United States.By analyzing these works he tries to understand why an image or type of art, especially those that became most popular, appealed to contemporary viewers.

Profile: Link


Ms. Anita Dube is the curator of Kochi Muziris-Biennale 2018. One of India’s most consistently creative and challenging artists,
Ms. Dube’s practice is primarily based on sculpture but also includes photography,video, installation and performance. She is a critic and historian who has turned to making art works informed by memories, history, mythology and phenomenon logical experience. Dube is the co-founder and board member of KHOJ International Artists’ Association, and has contributed texts to many publications on contemporary art.

Profile: Link