Learning that bridges theory with practice and emphasises problem-solving skills cannot be conﬁned to the classroom. Therefore, the Fellows will spend at least a third of each working week on Practica problems. The Practica are term-length, site-based applied learning modules. They draw on real-life cases and working problems that are situated in the city.
Working individually as well as in teams, the Practica will enable the participants to integrate theory with practice as well as to deploy the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to imagine and develop appropriate, innovative and sustainable solutions for the Indian context. The Practica will also allow participants to interact with critical stakeholders in the city – like government oﬃcials, entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, activists and citizens. In 2016-17, Practica-1 ran through the ﬁrst ﬁve weeks of the Commons term, where the Fellows explored two neighbourhoods in Bangalore integrating diverse perspectives: ecological and economic transformations, social and cultural identity, urban regeneration, mobility and so on. The 16-week Practica-2 focused on Housing, Ecological Security, and Inclusive Economic Development in Bengaluru.
This year, the Fellows will engage with sites and complex urban issues through two structured modules. The first will be a six-week Practica focusing on specific bounded neighbourhoods (municipal ward, for example) and geographies (corridors, for example). This will form the ground where the classroom teaching will be tested, examined, and reformulated. Specific methods of documentation, representation, description and analysis (for example, mapping, GIS, surveying, interviews, and participant observation) will be taught through this Practica. Practica -1 is conceived as a prelude to the more detailed long term Project based exercises that will follow.
The second structured component will see the Fellows placed with different projects’ teams within IIHS for a period of six months. This will enable real-time application of the theory and skills they learn during the fellowship. The projects will be aligned to the previous training and experience, interests, and future plans of the Fellows. It is envisaged that the specific project-related tasks will enable knowledge and skill building in specific area(s), in addition to the classroom sessions. The fellows will also be able to develop and hone a number of soft skills during their project work including teamwork, time management, etc. Each fellow will be assigned a project mentor who will make sure that there is expectation management from both the sides. An in-house 6-month project period shall prepare the fellows better for their internships and jobs outside IIHS.