AMONG the global events celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s independence from British rule, one project is fostering greater bonds between young arts practitioners in Scotland and India, while exploring the legacy of colonialism.

Future Flow is being run ­collaboratively between Edinburgh Printmakers and the arts organisation Flow India, financed by the British Council as part of the ­India/UK Together season.

Janet Archer, CEO of Edinburgh ­Printmakers, says that when a funding call was put out by the British Council, the organisation saw it as an ­opportunity to build an alliance and international ­connections, as well as consolidate the work that Edinburgh ­printmakers has ­already done in developing an ­international network of print studios.

“Not only is a great opportunity for learning and knowledge sharing but also a bridge to market of people from both directions,” says Janet. “I’m a huge ­internationalist and I have a great belief in Scotland helping to make the world a better place.”

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Having been introduced to Arundhati Mitter, the director of Flow India, which focuses on the value of creative ­learning, the women made a joint application for a project that looked at ­nurturing young curators through a creative ­fellowship.

“We both had a great interest in ­providing young people with agency and in giving them the toolkit to decide what would be part of a major exhibition,” says Janet.

The call for participation went out to 19 to 25-year-olds who were interested in curating and producing art ­exhibitions. The 20 Fellows, 10 in each country, were chosen for not only arts and design ­experience, but also having an ­interest in printmaking, digital innovation, ­sustainability and global equality.

The Fellows have been taking part in online workshops led by experienced arts managers, academics or ­curators, with the support of the National ­Institute of Design, India, Edinburgh College of Art and the Centre for Research ­Collections at the University of ­Edinburgh, ­Edinburgh Napier University, Queen Margaret ­University, and National ­Museums ­Scotland.

“These 20 young curators are now working collaboratively online – they will select artists, commission, produce and interpret a series of exhibitions in Ahmedabad and New Delhi in March 2023. These will explore the historic ­industrial relationship between Scotland and India,” adds Janet.

Edinburgh Printmakers is located in an old industrial building close to a canal that was once to deliver raw products to Canonmills from around the world.

“We thought we would start with the story of retracing those products back to their regions of origin – looking at that journey in reversal.

“We will also be ­looking at how we have managed to erase ideas of ­colonialism and how a deeper connection can be ­realised. The group are certainly looking at that in different and ­ interesting ways.

The National: Amogh Bhatnagar said participants have been finding common groundAmogh Bhatnagar said participants have been finding common ground

“It will look at how our relationship is now, but also to posit ideas about how to create a better world for all of us.

“We were impressed by the really broad sweep of disciplines among our ­Future Flow Fellows. We will also learn a lot from them.”


Joshua Al-Najar

SINCE graduating in 2021 with his Masters in Art History from the University of St Andrews, Joshua has worked as a conservation assistant at St Cecilia’s Hall in Edinburgh.

“I was really intrigued by the project because it gives a lot of autonomy to ­industry newcomers. Often curatorial positions are hard to come by, but we are being given a lot of agency with the ­project. I’m hoping that it will also put me in a better position to apply for future curator jobs.

“Working with a team with ­completely different cultural touchstones on a ­single project will be really interesting. This is an exhibition that is about India and Scotland – without that key Indian ­perspective, it would be impossible. I’m most looking forward to seeing what ­Indian specialists value about their own culture, and what aspects of that culture they think warrants showcasing in this project.”

Natasha Watson

NATASHA is currently studying Printmaking at Glasgow School of Art and already has some experience with exhibitions including The Living Room, which included the work of 30 artists and musicians and an exhibition in an outdoor wildlife garden, called Routings.

“Developing my curatorial abilities will impact positively on how I make art ­primarily. Balancing artwork with ­presentation, I hope to communicate ­better and realise ways of making that are beneficial to the world.

“I am incredibly excited to learn from the experience of others and hear of how life is both different and parallel for young creatives, like myself, in India. I want to express the responsibility I feel to see through a new lens. I am keen to have conversations surrounding how artistic practices can be anti-colonial. My aim is to criticise the ideologies that permeate my own lifestyle and culture through forming new bonds and stories.”

Amogh Bhatnagar

AMOGH recently completed a Masters in Graphic Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and saw the call for participants on the ­institute’s website.

“As well as my job as a graphic ­designer working on books, magazine layouts, brands and packaging I’m volunteering at a craft organisation that’s trying to conserve the heritage of the indigenous communities in India.

“I feel there’s an inherent connection between printmaking as an art form and how books are produced today, but since I have been really invested in book ­design for the past year, I thought that this would be a really good way to dive deeper into the other forms. It will be ­inspiring to make images that exist ­between the two countries – see how that art and design can bridge the gap.

“Already we have found that there is much more common ground than we ­initially thought.”

Kashish Kochhar

KASHISH Kochhar is an architect and visual artist, currently enrolled in the Master of Design program in Photography Design at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad.

“I was introduced to the Future Flow project through my mentor, who has ­always been enthusiastic about ­introducing us to opportunities that might open up us to a volume of ­exposure and experience in the real world.

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“I am intrigued by the idea of shared learning in particular. The idea of ­working with fellow practitioners from Scotland interests me because of the ­diverse ­backgrounds even within ­Scotland they come from.

“Apart from that, I have never been to Scotland, thus this opportunity of ­interaction to understand the past, ­present, and future about them and their culture definitely becomes a very exciting starting point.

“Future flow allows me to expand my horizon through the premise of shared history in the context of India and ­Scotland.”

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