Research project title: Infrastructures of Colonial Circulation
Supervisor/s: Professor Emma Waterton and Professor Jason Dittmer (UCL)
Funding : Leverhulme Trust
Focussing on Infrastructures of Colonial circulation, this PhD will explore how British colonial heritage is encountered in the immediacy of experience at two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Mountain Railways of India and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (India). I am part of the Heritage for Global Challenges Research Centre, a collaborative team working on dynamic and interrelated axes of critical heritage research: (1) Inclusions/Exclusions; (2) Colonial Legacies; (3) Mobilities and Materialities; (4) Anthropocene Encounters; (5) Cultures of Disaster and (6) Society-Nature Relations. My research will connect with Axis 2 Colonial Legacies, positioning British colonial heritage at the centre of current international debates by asking how that history is navigated, mobilised, repurposed, and resisted within the context of UNESCO’s World Heritage.
After completing my undergraduate degree in architecture in 2018, I gained field experience for two years in multiple architecture firms. I worked as a design architect in both contemporary and vernacular design projects. I eventually found myself gravitating towards the field of Heritage Studies, hence enrolled for a Postgraduate Diploma in Heritage Studies offered by INTACH (Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage), New Delhi where I participated in a range of academic projects documenting and analysing the historic layers of Delhi, by analysing heritage sites from the point of view of visitors, stakeholders, and governing bodies, citizens of the city and heritage professionals. It is also worthy to note that my project was selected at INTACH to be displayed in a resident’s festival of Nizamuddin East for having used UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape approach towards striking the tender balance between development and conservation.
I went ahead to pursue an MA in Conservation studies from the University of York as my interest further grew. I graduated with a distinction for my dissertation, where I conducted a critical analysis on the themes of conflicted heritage, conservation and nationalism. I used the highly conferred planned rearrangement of Central Vista in New Delhi, to look at the epistemological issues in the field of contemporary cultural heritage, illustrating the politics in the realm of heritage decision making.