Kickstarting Academic Life at Adianta

I’ve had several moments to reflect on why one might start a new graduate school, learning center, institution of higher learning more generally. If the point is not to change the way we live, think, interact, make meaning together I’m not sure why anyone would even try. Of course we know that so many have tried over the past decade here in India, but have lacked this kind of vision and purpose, and it is not surprising to me that so many have also failed. There must be a certain quality of conversation, which is only possible together, and which cannot be hosted or held in any other existing space. If that happens, the social market will surely ensure that the new institution finds a path to sustainability and even growth.

My sense is that with the Adianta School we have been working towards this goal over the past year, with so many Pecha-Kuchas, workshops and other events, where we have brought together young people as well as professionals to talk about the major issues of our times. But we have done something more this past Thursday, with a full-day open house involving faculty and mentors. We spent a part of the day talking about Adianta’s academic model with our future faculty, and ideating with them how they might come in an develop specific kinds of workshops to teach topics they would take on. We also discussed a major event to be held in February, along with a host of external partners, where Adianta students would get the chance to work with students from other colleges. The day culminated with a real tour de force by Professor Arjun Appadurai in the form of his wide-ranging talk, which wove together themes around design, innovation, entrepreneurship, systems innovation, uncertainty and risk.

Through this day we were able to demonstrate and show — at least to ourselves — what kind of purpose and what quality of conversation we aim to have at this graduate school. And, I have to say, it was good.


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