Second-year students taking the Cultural Analysis & Application course at MICA, Ahmedabad will work on real-time projects rolled out by global companies focusing on areas like Business Anthropology, Reading Digital Cultures, Popular Cultural Mapping, Applied Semiotics for Industry, Data for Culture, and Fore sighting & Speculative Design.
As part of this course, a total of 137 students will study and decode societal and cultural changes and apply them to real business challenges. Some of the cultural inquiry projects this year include studying cricket fandom in India to suggest an entry strategy to the American NBA Basketball professional league, for North America based Research Strategy Group, understanding the evolving cultural narrative around anti-aging in beauty for Culture and Semiotics specialist firm Space Doctors, studying the emerging gaming culture in India for advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, to name a few.
Students will also be looking at the evolving context of heroes and role models for the youth in India to inform the content strategy for Viacom18’s iconic show Roadies, study how the world of dating and intimacy is changing, the evolution of male grooming in India, in the context of a post COVID era, to unlock growth for homegrown grooming experts Beardo, among others.
Speaking about the same, Prof. Pooja Thomas, co-curator of the course, said, “The Cultural Analysis and Application is a course that signals MICA’s specific expertise in specialist areas. More importantly, it is a response to the need for more human-centered, qualitative, and interdisciplinary insights into brand and business problems.”
Sharing his insights on the relevance of the course in present times, Mr. Bikram Bindra, co-curator of the course, said, “Everyday brand and business management encourages a focused approach to understanding consumer behaviors and plugging current need gaps. However, the current situation has made it amply clear that this is not enough; the only way to prepare for an evolving world is to step back, look at the bigger picture, and study consumers’ larger cultural context. The course seeks to do that by not just training students on the ‘how’ to read culture, but also applying their learnings via an industry partnered real-time projects.”
He further added, “We have partnered with industry experts to teach our students. For example, Gayatri Sapru, a trained anthropologist and cultural strategist conducted a module on Anthropology & Reading Digital Cultures. Similarly, Hamsini Shivakumar, cofounder of Leapfrog Strategy Consulting took a module on Applied Semiotics for Industry.”
Interestingly, this year, the course has also introduced a series of conversations titled ‘Cultural Inquiry in Action’ that will have experts from fields as varied as Discourse Analysis, Street Cultures, Innovation & Foresight, giving a peek into their disciplines and talking about their work.
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