Welcome to CultureCon 2020

We invite you to the inaugural edition of CultureCon – an annual culture sector and arts management conference that brings together sector leaders and stakeholders to build a crucial dialogue for the growth and future of the culture sector in India.

Led By

Decoding the Indian Culture Sector

Panel discussions address how cultural organisations are built, creative professionals managed and arts funded. Case study-led breakout sessions deep dive into questions on cultural labour, mapping, international partnerships and more. Networking and collaboration visits cover 15+ Mumbai-based cultural venues and organisations.


Our dynamic panel of speakers include stakeholders from diverse cultural organisations.

Yudhishthir Raj Isar

Arundhati Ghosh

Sanjoy K. Roy

Sanjoy K. Roy


Joyoti Roy


Padmini Ray Murray

Parmesh Shahani

Parmesh Shahani


Dolly Rateshwar

Avijit Mukul Kishore


Check out the programme of this year’s Conference, learn about the speakers and sessions in store for the inaugural edition.

Assembly & Registration

Welcome Address

The 'Cultural Sector' as a Policy Actor: The Potential for India

This keynote will seek to set the stage for the conference by situating Indian public discourse on culture and cultural policy within the global conversation around these topics. It will explore how arts and culture actors, notably in Europe, have built alliances across different disciplines, constituting a recognised ‘cultural sector’ that advocates largely in one voice, both in its own interest and for broader socio-cultural causes. Finally, this introductory talk will offer some pointers towards a similar process of cultural sector coalition building in India.

10:45 AM

Tea break

This session will look at the existing structure and nature of various arts and cultural organisations in India. Speakers from Government institutions, international art foundations, academics and creative start-ups will present models specific to their practice. The discussion will focus on the changing landscape of cultural organisations, within the twin praxis of now and the future.

Speakers: Dolly Rateshwar, Nirupama Kotru, Padmini Ray Murray & Ratish Nanda. Moderator: Parmesh Shahani

This breakout session will deconstruct the structures and modes of international partnerships and examine them from within the lens of diplomacy, finance, practicalities of project management, skill exchange and power. Against this background, two case studies shared in advance, are used to generate discourse on what makes for a successful or unsuccessful international cultural partnership in the Indian context.

Presenters: Hema Singh Rance & Quasar Thakore Padamsee. Moderator: Joyoti Roy

* Mail cultureconindia@gmail.com to register for any one session between these two breakout sessions at 12:30pm.

Indian cinema is arguably one of the key examples of global entertainment coming from outside the Western world (Punathambekar 2013). This breakout session will explore the soft power of Indian initiatives by key government organisations working on Indian cinema. Drawing from Daya Kishan Thussu’s work on the soft power of popular cinema in India, we will examine the ways that government bodies are presenting narratives about India to an increasingly globalized marketplace of Indian documentary and feature cinema. For the session, representatives from National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) and Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) will present their views.

Presenter: Avijit Mukul Kishore & Vikramjit Roy. Moderator: Pallavi Khare

* Mail cultureconindia@gmail.com to register for any one session between these two breakout sessions at 12:30pm.

1:15 PM


This session shall examine training and challenges in managing human resources and skills development of cultural professionals in India. While India boasts of a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant culture sector, barring on-the-job training there are few learning opportunities for cultural professionals to formalise training in arts management. This discussion will focus on the training and development of cultural professionals. Speakers will include heads of arts management fellowships, educational institutions and State-run cultural training organisations.

Speakers: Neha Paliwal, Pooja Sood & Rishi Kumar Vashist. Moderator: Dipti Rao

When there have been several accounts of #MeToo and controversies around them from the arts and culture sector in India in recent years, the response has been relatively muted and sporadic that has followed. The breakout session on #MeToo will serve as a safe space to talk about this. How do we practice accountability to the survivors and lack of impunity to perpetrators in a sector which is not formally organised? Should we separate the art from the artist, so to speak, and how do we do that? What are some things that those in positions of power can do to ensure the safety and security of those working with them, especially women, queer and trans persons, and those from marginalised castes and communities in the sector? As members of the arts and culture community, how can we work together to address the systemic issues within the industry? Are there legal resources which can be undertaken? This session aims to navigate through these challenging questions, with the hope of having these difficult and yet essential conversations to move forward together as a community.

Presenters: Kiruba Munusamy & Smita Vanniyar.

* Mail cultureconindia@gmail.com to register for any one session between these two breakout sessions at 3:15pm.

India is home to numerous and continuously evolving cultural practices, practitioners, spaces and resources. Mapping culture works strongly in the intersection of communities, artists, researchers, institutions and technology. In this break out session we explore the politics of mapping in India and ask questions like who can map culture, for whom and to what end. Presenters include two key players in mapping culture in India – Sahapedia and British Council – who have each been mapping culture in India using uniquely different models.

Presenters: Jonathan Kennedy, Nirupama Kotru & Padmapriya Janakiraman. Moderator: Koninika Roy

* Mail cultureconindia@gmail.com to register for any one session between these two breakout sessions at 3:15pm.

4:00 PM

Tea Break

This session will examine a near-continuous and critical lament of funding in and for the arts. Organisations constantly have to face the challenge between being a not-for-profit space and finding investors for their projects. The aim of the session will be to share and discuss strategies that institutions have been using in breaking through this challenge. The session will also look at research and case studies in the areas of philanthropy, corporate funding and mixed models relying on sustainable for-profit businesses. Speakers would include directors of for-profit cultural organisations, heads of art foundations, leaders of grant-making bodies, and representatives from the Government involved in funding cultural projects.

Speakers: Arundhati Ghosh, Deepika Sorabjee & Sanjoy K. Roy. Moderator: Rashmi Dhanwani

Vote of Thanks

1. Awesome Andheri — Harkat Studios, Maker’s Asylum, Bombay Underground, QTP, & Piroja Studio

2. Chalo Central — Godrej Archives, BEST Bus Museum, & Art Jam with Thane Queer Collective

3. Midtown Magic — G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture, Piramal Museum of Art, Tao Art Gallery, True School of Music, & Association of Designers of India (ADI)

Dinner and closing reception at G5A Foundation for Contemporary Culture

Lal Ded — A theatrical collage of poems, songs, thoughts, and philosophies of the celebrated woman mystic and medieval poetess from Kashmir
Directed and performed by Meeta Vasisht

Art Deco at the Oval - A walk organised by the India Heritage Walk Festival

Visit to Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Afternoon reception by Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

The two-day CultureCon conference is smack in the middle of Mumbai's exciting cultural calendar this February, and is primed to examine the unique structure of India’s culture sector through discussions, networking and collaboration visits.



We are proud to partner with a dynamic set of cultural sector organisations and leaders – both Indian and International.

Outreach Partner


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