Sushruti Santhanam, brings together three very different worlds of inquiry and practice which include her over 3 decades long immersion in Carnatic music, a PhD in History and a deep and long engagement with artists and artisan communities. Her special focus is on the form and use of ‘tradition’ in Indian knowledge systems especially in arts & craft practice.
For her thesis work done at the Department of History, Savitribai Phule Pune University, she theorized the concept of tradition in Indian musical practice through the study of two musical genres – the Manganiyar music from western Rajasthan and natal tradition in the Carnatic genre from southern India. She has trained intensively since childhood in Carnatic music, in the rigorous Gurukula system under her mother, Guru Smt. R. Vedavalli and is currently a teacher and a practicing Carnatic musician in Pune.
She is the Director of Centre for Arts, Society and Policy (CASP), where she brings together works of scholars and practitioners of India arts and crafts and is currently involved in building a digital archive of art historian and philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy. She has degrees in Sociology and Journalism and is happiest doing field ethnography studying embedded practices in Indian art and craft.
She teaches Heritage Studies at IDSS, Savitribai Phule Pune University and Co-teaches a course on Design Thinking and Innovation at IIT, Delhi. She extends this journey to include an audience through workshops, lectures and publications. She also mentors younger researchers in the field.