Small Talk with Tejshvi Jain

CHANGE leaders do great things, and often that is all we know about them. Here we want to get a different glimpse of the personalities that constitute the development space. Every month we get one leader to answer four questions, not necessarily about their work, but about themselves. This week we catch up with Tejshvi Jain, Founder-Director of ReReeti

For many, museums remain institutions to be appreciated from afar, remote monoliths dedicated to history and perceived as ‘boring’ . With ReReeti, which she started in 2015, Tejshvi Jain is aiming to change that – and make museums more accessible and relevant.

Through workshops, outreach programmes for schools and consultations, ReReeti focus on creating awareness about the cultural importance of museums through communication.

Tejshvi previously worked at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru. She has curated shows, taught at colleges and written for various platforms over the last 13 years.  She also runs ReReeti’s blog which is the first in India to focus on Indian museums and professionals in the space.

Small Change: Why does this cause matter to you? Why now in particular?

Tejshvi Jain: I have loved museums since I was a little girl. They were wonderful places which held a great mysterious attraction for me – the objects, their stories. And I feel we owe it to ourselves and our history to know, learn, understand and simply experience the wonders the museums have to offer.

Things are changing at a very fast pace all around us. Children are spending more time glued to one screen or another. But we have this plethora of interesting facts, knowledge, information, sitting patiently in museums and heritage sites waiting for inquisitive minds to give meaning to.

SC: Describe your Eureka moment/moment of epiphany that led you to start ReReeti.

TJ: While working at the NGMA, Bengaluru, I had an opportunity to attend a two-week training at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It is the world’s largest design museum. There I realised the immense impact that museums can have on the society. I saw how strong and well connected the museum community was over there – with regular workshops, seminars, and conferences and employing collective will to address challenges. Unfortunately, museums in India are severely under-utilised.

SC: If you could invite three famous people, living or dead, to your dinner party, who would they be and why?

T: The three people I would like to invite would be:  JRD Tata because he was such a man of principle and truly inspirational. I would really like to listen to his life experiences, his thoughts and guidance for the future generations. Nina Simons, co-founder of Bioneers, so as to explore opportunities of empowering museum professionals in India. And Aamir Khan because he supports causes that help make India a better place – I would like him to fund ReReeti!

SC: What are three things you would cook to impress them?

T: I love experimenting in the kitchen and try to figure out healthier versions of foods that I like. So, in this case, I would try to find out the respective cuisines my eminent guests like and then prepare my versions of them.

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