Postgraduate Diploma Course in Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT) | Postgraduate Certificate Course in Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT)

Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT)

Image: View of the exhibition “The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied.” Fondazione Prada, Venice
13 May 2017 - 26 November 2017, Photo Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, Courtesy Fondazione Prada Anna Viebrock, Stage, 2017 &  Alexander Kluge, Terror = Furcht und Schrecken (Terror = Fear and Horror), 2017

Aesthetics, Criticism and Theory (ACT) provides students with a rigorous introduction to art history, criticism, aesthetics, critical theory, and contemporary art practice. In-depth seminars ensure a thorough engagement with theory, history and a breadth of artistic praxis. 

ACT includes classes on aesthetics in Western philosophy with careful attention to figures like Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and Foucault. Seminars often analyse how the discipline of art history and the practice of art criticism emerged and transformed over time. Students survey the field of art history and criticism in South Asia in relation to developments in the West. 

We are also devoted to understanding the foundations of critical theory with close readings of seminal thinkers like Marx, Lefebvre and the Frankfurt School, and unraveling spaces of colonial and postcolonial modernity. The goal is always to put theory into direct engagement with practice. Inviting practitioners that consciously move between disciplines, institutions, pedagogy, curating and diverse forms of making and exhibiting, students are exposed to a range of contemporary creative processes. 

Seminars on modernism, modernity and postmodernism are also an essential part of the program. These classes provide tools with which to address and understand contemporary art. Engaging with thinkers such as Geeta Kapur, Arjun Appadurai, Laura Mulvey, TJ Clark, Arthur Danto, Paul Gilroy, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, WJT Mitchell, and Jacques Ranciere, among many others, students enter the charged debates that follow from key moments in art history marked by texts such as When Was Modernism and The Black Atlantic. Classes on documentary practice, histories of photography and video art, and the unpacking of recent transmedia exhibitions make up the new media component of ACT.

Throughout the modules, students engage with the oeuvres of select painters, sculptors, architects, as well as video, performance, sound, digital and multimedia artists. ACT brings the very best faculty of scholars and practitioners from our city, India, and abroad; those experienced in pedagogy that tacks between lecture, discussion, close reading, seeing, and writing. ACT students are introduced to ideas and histories that allow them to develop and evolve their own academic research, writing, and professional interests in the visual arts world imaginatively.

Learning how to read, think and write critically is an essential part of ACT. The history of aesthetics and the history of art, media and technology go hand in hand. Scholars carefully select texts, films, exhibitions and artists for each session and much of this material is available to the students on our online learning management-portal, JPM Think. Students are expected to come to class well-prepared.


Image: Magritte at his Easel, Duane Michals via DC Moore Gallery

This online intensive postgraduate seminar is an introduction to the conceptual relationship between painting and photography and the questions it raises for the role of art in our time through the works of the iconic 20th-century thinker Michel Foucault. In these eight lectures over one month, we will delve into Foucault’s discussions of the artists Édouard Manet, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, René Magritte, Duane Michals and Gérard Fromanger.

The course will deal exclusively with original texts, looking at the major essays by Foucault on these painters and photographers that have already been translated into English in addition to untranslated interviews and short essays from his collected works Dits et Ecrits (Speeches and Writings).

Reading before class is an essential part of this course. Students will be expected to come prepared for discussion.

September 15, 17, 22, 24, 29 ; October 1, 6, 8, 2020

6:00 - 8:30 PM


Rs. 6,500

Registrations Closed

Discourse, Theory, Photography

Image: Harris & Ewing, 9-lens aerial mapping camera made by the Fairchild Aerial Camera Corp. for the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey. 1936. American Library of Congress

From the early belief in photography as the magical emanation of reality to the contemporary belief in its dissolution into pure data, to become information embedded in the algorithmic apparatus, through the course of its history, photography has undergone several key mutations and with them profound changes of its understanding. The notion of what, how and where photography is, is becoming more and more obscure today. Through the writings of prominent scholars such as Vilém Flusser, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Andre Bazin, Jacques Rancière, Martha Rosler, and Allan Sekula, we will re-examine foundational concepts in photographic theory such as iconicity, indexicality, connotation, profilmic and several others over eight postgraduate seminars.

Special attention will be given to the relationship between photography and discourse. How does theoretical discourse form and frame its objects? How is photography itself caught in-between being an object, process, image, and discourse; something we conceptualize, practice, observe, participate in, look through and look at?

Through key texts and examples from literature, art and myriad photographic practices, seminar participants will reach a better understanding of photography and be invited to critically reflect on the genesis of the core concepts through which it is framed. Reading before class and being prepared for discussion is a requirement.

Classes mainly on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Eligibility: Graduation Degree

Admission Requirements: 

  • A copy of your last degree certificate
  • A 100 - 150 words Bio 
  • A passport-size photograph

International students can email us at for registration. We will provide our bank details to enable the transfer of course fees. After making the transfer, please email all details of the transfer to us. At this point, international students cannot sign up for courses directly from our website. This issue will be addressed soon!

Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully before registering.

October 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 ; November 3, 5, 2020

6:00 - 8:30 PM


Rs. 7,500

Registrations Closed