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The National Institute for Advanced Studies is an inter-disciplinary research institution based in Bangalore, where they boast excellent facilities

Partnership with the National Institute of Advanced Studies Celebrates Success

For just under ten years, the College of Humanities has enjoyed a strong partnership with the National Institute of Advanced Studies in India. As a part of this relationship, both institutions have developed a split-site PhD programme that allowed students in Drama and Archaeology to benefit from a supervisor at Exeter and in Bangalore. The first cohort of students enrolled under this programme in 2012.

This April, two PhD students successfully passed their vivas bringing the total number of graduates from the programme to eight. The graduates of the split-site PhD have embarked on a particularly varied array of careers, spanning academics jobs to entrepreneurial activity.

Archaeologist Brice Girbal, from the first cohort of the programme, graduated in 2017 and has now been appointed Assistant Professor at the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology in Taiwan, where he is in the Conservation and Heritage Department. Brice spent several months working in Doha and Sudan and is now re-engaging with his Asian research, including our contacts in China and Japan.

Another Archaeology Graduate, Tathagata Neogi, has returned to Kolkata and is making a name for himself in the heritage industry, having recently founded a company called Heritage Walk Calcutta. He continues to develop academic papers with his former Exeter supervisor, Dr Gill Juleff. Also in the first cohort of archaeology students, Alice Lowson completed an innovative study of portable antiquities and non-authorised heritage and is now pursuing a career in the development sector.

Drama graduates have gone onto equally varied careers. Sabina Sen has a lectureship at the University of Silesia, having published a number of chapters from her PhD. Swati Arora is now working as a postdoctoral researcher in South Africa, whilst Sharanya Murali is teaching in Mumbai and continues to work with Prof Jerri Daboo. One of the programmes most recent graduates, Rebecca Savory Fuller, is a lecturer in the Arts University Bournemouth, having recently been awarded the prestigious runner-up prize in the Theatre and Performance Research Association’s Postgraduate Essay Competition for an essay developed from a chapter from her PhD entitled 'Flash mob Mumbai: performing a politics of forgetting in the semi-public spaces of globalising India.’

The PhD programme has also been the catalyst for new research activity between colleagues at NIAS and Exeter. Exeter’s Prof Cathy Turner  in Drama, who has co-supervised two PhDs on the programme, has recently been awarded an AHRC Grand Challenges Research Fund network grant as Principal Investigator to work with two colleagues from NIAS, Professor Anindya Sinha and Professor Sharada Srinivasan, on a project entitled: 'Performing the Periphery: the politics of performance on the urban periphery in South India.’

Prof Andrew Thorpe, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the College of Humanities, commented ‘Having worked with NIAS personally for a number of years, I’m thrilled to see that our graduates have made such a bright start to their careers. The NIAS Exeter split-site programme was designed to help a new generation of academics gain the very best training in both the UK and India. With eight students now graduated and more to come, I look forwards to seeing how their careers develop over the coming years.’

The National Institute for Advanced Studies is an inter-disciplinary research institution based in Bangalore, where they boast excellent facilities. In August 2017, Exeter and NIAS signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to encourage both institutions to work together for a further three years.

Date: 4 May 2018

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