Avid Learning is proud to collaborate with FICCI Creative Industries Division to present a daylong Conference Virasat – Mapping Creativity on November 7, 2023, at FICCI Federation House, New Delhi. The conference consists of five sessions, keynote addresses and presentations over a day-long programme. It will bring together people from various creative genres including renowned scholars, policy makers, industry professionals, artists, curators, writers, representatives of government bodies and corporate houses.
Asad Lalljee is SVP, Essar Group, CEO of Avid Learning, a public programming initiative and creative platform under the Essar Group, and Curator, Royal Opera House, Mumbai. Prior to relocating to India, Asad worked for 14 years as one of the ‘Mad Men’ advertising executives on New York's Madison Avenue. Asad has transformed Avid Learning into India’s leading cultural hub through international collaborations and partnering with the biggest art platforms in the country. Since the restoration of the Royal Opera House, Asad’a curatorial programming has re-established its reputation as the city’s cultural crown jewel. He is also serving on the Kala Ghoda Association’s Executive Committee and the advisory board of the Mumbai Urban Art Festival for 2022-23. In the midst of the pandemic (April 2020), Asad pivoted from AVID to AVID ONLINE, presenting 240 programs in a year. An early technology trend adopter, he takes a special interest in new media curating programs around NFTs and the cyberfuture.Read more
Sanjoy K. Roy, an entrepreneur of the arts, is Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across 40 cities including the world’s largest free literary gathering — the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Roy, a National Award awardee for the film Shahjahanabad: The Twilight Years, is a founder trustee of Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) working to provide support services for street and working children in the inner city of Delhi. In 2011 the White House presented SBT the US President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities Award for an International Organisation.Read more
Dr. Jyotsna Suri has been associated with Bharat Hotels since its inception. In 2006, she took on the mantle of Chairperson & Managing Director. Under her stewardship, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group became one of the leading privately-owned domestic hotel brands in India, with a focus on the luxury segment. The Group operates 12 luxury hotels, palaces and resorts under The LaLiT brand and two mid-segment hotels under The LaLiT Traveller brand across India’s key business and leisure travel destinations. The Group holds exclusive rights to operate and provide management consultancy services to a hotel in London, The LaLiT London. Dr. Suri has been conferred with the Order of The Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by Japan Government for her contribution towards strengthening strategic ties between India and Japan in economic and tourism sectors. She is the first Indian Woman to have received the Imperial honour since its commencement for foreign nationals in 1981. Besides this, she has been the recipient of over 30 National and International awards and recognitions. Dr Suri holds various portfolios with Industry Associations – Past President FICCI; Mentor, FICCI Tourism & Culture Committee; Mentor, DEI Committee, FICCI; Executive Member of HAI; Council Member of World Travel & Tourism Council, India Initiative; Member of Board of Governors for National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology and Member of Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs.Read more
Sadhana Rao, Co-Founder, Art Links Learning, and Member of FICCI Tourism & Culture Committee Sadhana Rao is a research-led writer and curator in the Arts & Culture spaces. She has written on Arts, Film festivals, Music, Crafts, Travel, Literature, & Socio Economics for leading publications. As a curator, Sadhana works with artists and conservatories across genres to weave narrative-backed lecture demonstrations and performances. Amalgamating pedagogy, artistic diversity and inclusivity, her endeavours find home among myriad platforms, from academic conclaves to the community at large. Building on the plinth of her research and writing experience, Sadhana has been a Contributor, Curator, Speaker and Moderator for music, literature, art and film segments at festivals and platforms including Mahindra Kabira Festival, Cannes Film Festival, AVID Learning, Royal Opera House Mumbai, Think Fest, Bangalore Literature Festival, Bangalore International Centre, Jaipur Literature Festival, FICCI - Creative Industries as well as Corporate summits. With her sustained interest in Arts’ pedagogies, she founded Art Links Learning to create age appropriate curriculum for imparting Music and Arts Intelligence. A Masters in Social Work from Delhi University, she honed her research, consulting and execution skills at the Administrative Staff College of India. Living in Bangalore she continues to be a student of the Arts.Read more
Junhi Han, Chief and Programme Specialist for Culture, UNESCO New Delhi. She joined the UNESCO Multisiectoral Regional Office for South Asia based in New Delhi in 2018, after having worked for more than 20 years at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. Being specialised in World Heritage conservation and management, from Paris she undertook a number of technical missions for the World Heritage Committee to asesss and monitor state of conservation of WH sites, but also developed/implemented/coordinated a number of UNESCO’ s flagship projects for cultural heritage sites, such as Bamiyan, Herat and Jam (Afghanistan), Moenjodaro (Pakistan) and Koguryo Tombs and Mural Paintings (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Angkor (Cambodia), the Altai Mountains of Siberia, to quote a few. Since 2018, she has been spearheading prorammes of the UNESCO New Delhi Culture Sector for the South Asian countries. A curator by training, she has made several publications and authored a number of articles in various journals related to heritage. She is a member of ICOMOS.Read more
Sood has served on several international juries, most recently being the Omega Resilience Awards (2023), the Nordic Cultural Fund (2022-2023), the Rockefeller - Care Fellowship for Bellagio (2022) and has been an advisor and mentor for the South-South Asia Fellowship (2022-2023). She is a Patron of the international organisation More Europe since 2009, and was a member of the Steering Group Committee on Arts Management for the Government of India (2014). A Chevening scholar for the Clore Leadership Programme, UK ( 2009-2011), Pooja Sood has also served as Director-General of the Jawahar Kala Kendra, a multidisciplinary cultural space in Jaipur ( November 2015 – February 2019). Sood lives and works in New Delhi.Read more
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the founding Vice Chancellor of World University of Design, Sonipat and widely recognized as a visionary thought leader in the world of design education. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as an alumnus of esteemed institutions like IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad and a distinguished academic career of more than three decades. His most significant contribution has been in establishing Design as a mainstream field of study and career choice in India. His founding of the World University of Design in 2016 marked a watershed moment in design education. It became the first Indian university to offer comprehensive programs in art, architecture, and design under one roof. His initiatives have been inspiring universities nationwide to integrate design into their academic offerings, thus permanently altering the existing landscape and shaping the future of design education in India.Read more
Vikram Bhat is presently serving as the Joint Director at the Bangalore International Centre. Vikram is a passionate educator who has had previous successful careers in Technology at Deutsche Bank and Finance as a Portfolio Trader at Sanford Bernstein in New York. In Education, his areas of interest are Educational Equity, Holistic Integration of the Arts into School Education & School to Work transition. Vikram most recently was a key member of the Education Task force in Delhi which is transforming Delhi’s government schools. His past stints include leadership positions at Dream a Dream, Teach for India and Parikrma Humanity Foundation. He holds a Bachelors in Electronic Engineering from the University of Mumbai and has a Masters in Computer Science from New York University. For his education career choice, he got himself a B Ed. Degree at age 38 from Christ University. Vikram is an avid film and theatre buff.Read more
Satyajeet Krishnan has been with IHCL for three decades and held senior Leadership positions in various Iconic Hotels of the Group. He began his professional journey at TajMahal, New Delhi and coincidently returned to lead the Hotel. He has an abiding interest in culture, Indian Heritage and Fine Arts. In his previous assignment as the General Manager of the Rambagh Palace- Jaipur, he actively promoted Culture and Art - revived and showcased the Jaipur Gharana of Khathak at the Palace. He also partnered with The Jaipur Literature Festival and created an annual property i.e. the launch of the festival at the Rambagh Palace every year. In his current role, he oversees multiple IHCL Hotels in New Delhi and actively works towards sustainability and showcasing culture.Read more
With an education from esteemed colleges like SRCC and IMT Ghaziabad. Vidyun joined as a full-time Director of her start-up non-profit - The Toy Bank in 2015 after a long stint in the corporate sector. Vidyun has volunteered and been a part of The Toy Bank for 15 years.Vidyun believes that the objective of the project is to promote the right of every child to have access to safe, age appropriate, gender-neutral toys that are an integral part of their holistic development and wellbeing. The Toy Bank’s program not only provides children with access to Toys, but promotes the Right to Play through advocacy, capacity building and mobilization of resources in collaboration with stakeholders at all levels of society. Under Vidyun’s leadership; The Toy Bank has successfully created 5,425 Toy Libraries impacting more than 5 Lakh children by recycling approximately 15 lakh toys through our projects that have scaled up to 26 states and 4 Union Territories across India. Vidyun is also the Director of Haveli Dharampura, a 200 year old restored Haveli turned boutique hotel in the Old Delhi. It was awarded UNESCO Asia Pacific Award for Cultural and Heritage Restoration. Haveli Dharampura has won many travel awards like Time Travel award for Best Boutique Hotel, Hospitality India Awards for Best Heritage Hotel etc. Vidyun has been awarded by “PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry” and for her contribution towards social responsibility. She is also a recipient of “International Women’s Day Award 2018” for excellence in the “Field of Philanthropy” by Ministry of Women and Child Development. She was also awarded Young Alumnus Achievers Award by IMT Ghaziabad in 2019.Read more
Shoba Rudra is a storyteller, marketing and communications professional who runs a hospitality marketing platform called RARE India which promotes hotels and experiences which are boutique and experiential. Run by owner / hosts, these hotels and experiences are chosen on the basis of their key ethos – that are community inclusive and planet sensitive. A graduate in Zoology and Post Graduate in Mass Communications, Shoba has travelled extensively in India and has a personal interest in nature and wildlife conservation, cuisine, handicrafts, performing and esoteric arts. She has been accompanying small groups and interested couples who have specific interests in India and wish to understand the social, religious contexts as well as enduring traditions as cuisine, artforms and crafts still prevalent and practised in the country. RARE India has been a pioneer in promoting hotel with a strong focus on responsible travel, over the years the events that they have organised like The RARE Showcase and Discover RARE are run on a green agenda.Read more
Smriti Rajgarhia is Director of the Serendipity Arts Foundation and the Serendipity Arts Festival. Trained as an architect with a Masters in Design, Smriti began her career in the arts fourteen years ago working with a private archive in New Delhi, where she eventually created a museum space and archive for the collection. During this stint, her interest expanded into bringing art to the public and contextualizing art within the region through arts education and awareness. Smriti has also curated exhibitions on subjects that reflect the history and relevance of archives. Currently, Smriti is leading the Foundation and working on the Serendipity Arts Festival to bring her passion for art and design to the forefront by creating unique opportunities for creative individuals. With these two platforms, she endeavors to explore newer forms of representation and re-contextualize the kind of programming institutions need to engage with to widen the demographic of the audience for the arts in India. Her personal interest also lies in adapting urban spaces to presentation of the arts, reclaiming the urban and questioning the impact of art and cultural interventions for a city/state/country.Read more
Leena Kejriwal is a human rights activist, an award-winning photographer and author, a TEDx speaker, a disruptive thinker and the founder of MISSING, a high-impact non-profit dedicated to anti-sex trafficking. She has run successful crowdfunding campaigns to support and spread awareness of gender violence, sex trafficking and slavery. As a member and former chairperson of FICCI, she has networked with government planners, policymakers, civil servants, corporate leaders and changemakers to raise both awareness and funds for this issue. Her exploration into the black hole that is human trafficking began with the tridimensional multimedia installation East City in 2010-13. This piece was a stark commentary on societal prejudice against women in India, expressed through propaganda, visual imagery, and technology. It has been exhibited in several cities in France, India, Iran, and Germany. In 2014 her seminal public art installation MISSING was launched at the India Art Fair commissioned by the corporate giant, Jindal Steel Works. The artwork is a visual metaphor for the disappearance, absence and memory of girls who are lost in the dark hole of trafficking. The installation comprising the cut-out of a girl’s silhouette against the sky was covered by media giants like BBC, Al Jazeera, SBS World News, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Sunday Tribune, and The Hindu, to name a few. What started out as an artistic exploration has now ignited into a life mission.Read more
Distinctive, Revolutionary, Bold & Larger than Life - are some key words that personify him and make his approach to handling events and performances extremely unique. Samit is the Managing Director at E-Factor Experiences Limited - an experiential firm - that enjoys a near-mythological status - for crafting enviable and transformative events & experiences in the industry. After having organized the luxury events market in India into a well-formed industry, Samit is also actively working to curate and develop superlative and sustainable heritage tourism experiences for the global audience. This includes many national and international tourism IP’s and festivals that his company operates in collaboration with various state/central governments. He is also the President of Event & Entertainment Management Association (EEMA), the apex body of the events & experiences business in India and has been continuously working on the transformation and development of the creative economy for the past 14 years. A prominent name in the field of experiential business, he also holds other industry body positions in Destination Promotion Bureaus, Business Forums & and a few Government Committees.Read more
Sumi Gupta is a seasoned professional with over two decades of experience in Finance and Retail real estate. She serves as a Board Member of VR South Asia (A Xander Group Company), the leading platform for retail real estate development and management in India. Since its inception, Virtuous Retail has championed the cause of redefining the urban spatial experience by designing, curating, and investing in innovative, community-centric infrastructure that seamlessly combine retail, food, leisure, new-age flexible work and living, hospitality, events, and entertainment. I n 2013, she co-founded the Public Art Festivals which is an award-winning pan-Indian roster of public art exhibitions that include Dumas Art Project, Madras Art Guild, Nagpur Kala Sangh, Punjab Art Initiative and the Whitefield Art Collective, which she has been curating since inception. These public art festivals are student focussed and forge collaborations with renowned institutions and eminent artists across the spectrum of art genres ranging from sculptures, photography, painting, film making to the performing arts. Prior to her current role Sumi was Director, International Marketing & Product Development where she oversaw design development based on Virtuous Retail’s brand standards, digital, consumer & trade marketing, retail strategy and brand positioning. In 2015, she led the in-house interior design team for the company’s international award-winning boutique hotel, The Waverly Hotel & Residences at VR Bengaluru. Sumi started her career in Finance and worked for HSBC Bank in the Emerging Markets Currency Group for over 7 years in London and New York.Read more
Ms. Anjali Pasricha is the Creative Director for C S Direkt. Her Company is a leader in preserving the heritage of our country by creating experiences where people can come together to celebrate their legacy. C S Direkt is constantly working towards creating a shared value system of cultural preservation, creativity and compassion. Having graduated in Economics from Shri Ram College of Commerce with MBA in Marketing she has an experience of more than 22 years. She has worked in more than 8 countries and created works of recognition there. By creating and managing festivals and Son-e-Lumiere she creates innovative ways to incorporate tradition into our rapidly changing world. She has managed festivals like Surajkund mela , Kullu dusshera , Taj 350 years celebration, Indo Asean festival and many more . She strongly believes that the transmission of knowledge means that the wisdom gained from the past should not be lost, but rather used as a foundation for progress.Read more
A veteran officer with 35 year in diplomatic service of India, Sh. Suresh K Goel has spent more than 10 years of his career in various capacities in South East Asia in Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and China. He has worked actively on India-ASEAN partnership for 5 years and has personally been witness to the evolution of ASEAN as the most important regional organisation in South East Asia and developments in Cambodia, Vietnam from 1981 onwards. He dealt with India’s relations with Central Asia from 1996-97 as director in the Ministry of External Affairs. He served in the Permanent Mission of India in New York from 1991-95 where he worked on peace and security related issues including Peace Keeping Operations and Security Council reforms. He retired in 2013 as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and Director General of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, and is currently working on the India and China relationship in Indo China. He is part of many TV panels for discussions on international issues and cultural dimensions of foreign policy. He has contributed articles on India’s cultural diplomacy and Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam to several edited volumes. He has also spoken extensively on India’s cultural legacy and traditions at several literary congregations. He is Vice president of FOSWAL led by Ajeet Caurji He was awarded Honorary Doctorate in 2012 by the University of Edinburgh for his work in Cultural Diplomacy.Read more
With over 20 years of experience, having worked on more than 300 commercial and high-end private events as well as having booked more than 500 Indian and international artists, Arjun is an experienced, knowledgeable and driven specialist in the Creative Industry. As a passionate Creative entrepreneur, he has a vibrant, wide ranging network and well-established business relationships with the biggest Indian and international vendors in amongst others Production, AV, multimedia, talent agencies, etc. This combined with an in-depth knowledge of the latest trends in the worldwide production and entertainment technology, has allowed his companies Crayon Events & Entertainment and Most Technical India to become one of the leaders in the nightclub AV design & installations and special events in India and Europe. In 2014, Arjun co-founded St+art India Foundation, a non-profit, urban art festival that brings together Indian and International urban contemporary artists. This inspiring, first ever initiative promotes artists in the Indian landscape, as well as provides a collaborative platform for artists from all over the world. Over the past 5 years, the foundation has organized over 16 St+art festivals across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Chennai etc. in 2019, St+art inaugurated Lodhi Art District, its first completed the first of the six public art district (the others which are in progress are Mumbai, Goa, HYD, Chennai, Coimbatore). The Lodhi Art District has 50 plus unique murals which have been painted by artists of over 20 different nationalities including Indian Artists. In addition the Foundation is working with the Central govt on Art Policy, Urban Planning and Smart City Projects as well.Read more
Amit is a designer, thinker and conceptualiser for all things creative, provocative and challenging, Amit founded STIR as a global platform that offers exclusively curated, carefully analysed and meticulously presented content. STIR presents arenas for cross-disciplinary collaborations, industry connects and community building in order to reach out to a large audience of design enthusiasts, consumers, next-generation creators and thinkers within the world of art, architecture and design. Amit traversed into promoting design and architecture by establishing the first Indian design management company - vis a vis, in 1997. vis a vis curated highly acclaimed events as the first architecture and design gallery in India. In 2014, he launched STIR as a reinvention of vis a vis to foster creativity in an ecosystem nurtured by quantitative and qualitative contribution to the world’s creative economy.Read more
Alison Barrett MBE is the Country Director of the British Council in India leading all operations across Arts & Culture, Education and English Programmes. Alison has worked for the British Council for over 25 years in a variety of country, regional and global level roles in our Teaching, Examinations and Cultural Engagement departments building cultural and educational connections between the UK and our network overseas. Most of her career has been spent in the Asia-Pacific region including in India where she was based for 20 years between 1997-2016 so returning as Country Director is a great honour. From 2020-2022, she led the British Council’s Climate Connection – a global programme and platform for dialogue and action, connecting young people, policy makers and sector specialists from the UK and over 200 countries together to tackle the climate emergency through arts & culture, education and English. Alison is married with two teenage children.Read more
Intersection of Tourism, Heritage, and Entertainment
Culture, heritage, and various entertainment elements are deeply intertwined with tourism. The United Nations and the World Trade Organization (UNWTO) have defined cultural tourism as tourism centered on cultural attractions and products. It is one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry, accounting for an estimated 40% of all tourism worldwide. It intersects with heritage and religious sites, crafts, performing arts, gastronomy, festivals, and special events.
Role of Mega Events in Community Development
Festivals and outdoor cultural experiences present the opportunity to connect and feel a part of the community in positive and inspiring ways. These festivals and mega/special events are considered significant catalysts for well-being, critical modes of expressing oneself, or recovering from some sought trauma. Donald Getz defined special events as "an opportunity for leisure, social, or cultural experience outside the normal range of choices and beyond everyday experience" in 1991. Human beings are social animals, and every opportunity for collective celebration, whether in the form of festivals or cultural events, is crucial for happier environments and building resilient communities. The participation and demand for these special events, along with the virtual dimension post COVID, has opened new avenues of exploration.
Arts entrepreneurship is about leveraging opportunities and taking risks in the pursuit of new ideas that ultimately support activities in the cultural and creative industries (Woronkowicz, "Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation"). Arts, business, and entrepreneurship appear to be very distinct and separate sectors; however, they have multiple fundamental characteristics in common. These three domains complement each other in the direction of thinking, value addition, and overlapping toolsets. In the modern-day situation, it is crucial for all artists to embrace entrepreneurship at various stages of their creativity. While defining their signature style, artists must also be able to understand the current role of market practices, their target audience, and the cycle of making profits to build a successful brand.
The consumption and access to arts and culture in our everyday lives have a huge impact on our physical and mental growth. It is very crucial to recognize the significance of art with respect to its role in entertaining us, moving us, inspiring us, and how it forms an important part of our identity as individuals, communities, and as a nation. The cultural infrastructure includes two types of buildings, structures, and places: the first where art/culture is consumed, experienced, exhibited, sold, like in museums, galleries, theaters, cinemas, libraries, music venues, and historical cultural sites; and the second where it is produced, including places of cultural production by artists, performers, makers, manufacturers, or digitally inducing creative workspaces, performing arts rehearsal spaces, music recording studios, film and television studios (Isabella Duffield). Arts funding and development of these infrastructures in an organized and transparent manner, along with increased participation of the local communities, will lead to the growth of the sector.