Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art

A longstanding photography school in Mumbai, India

Though this school is now called the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, it began life in the 1930s as the Sir J.J. School of Art. Institute status came decades later (1961). For the past 30 years the institute has been affiliated with the University of Mumbai.

Institute staff members provide instruction for the university's Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) in Applied Art. The institute also offers a Master of Fine Art (MFA) post-graduate course.

"The 'Sir J. J.' in the name stands for Sir Jamsetjee Jeejebhoy, a Parsi philanthropist whose name is linked to numerous historical institutions of Mumbai, such as the Sir J. J. Hospital. In 1958, Sir J. J. School of Art was divided, with the Departments of Architecture and Applied Art becoming the Sir J. J. College of Architecture and Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art respectively."

(Wikipedia) It's also interesting to note that one of the buildings on the grounds is the birthplace of writer Rudyard Kipling.

A farmer's girl in a tribal village

The Sir J.J. mission is stated in quite simple terms:

"The aim of the institute is to provide facilities for the professional and specialized training in Visual Communication. The specialized areas covered are Lettering-Typography, Illustration, Photography, Computer Graphics and the Exhibition Display Design."

Those two concise sentences tell the prospective student and interested photographer almost all he or she needs to know when considering Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art. But there is that essential word "applied" to be considered as well. Does this word in the title mean that the student's art must be strictly applied, thus limiting artistic expression?

According to information provided by the institute's website, this is not the case. There seems to be sufficient focus on both theory and practicality. But it would be wise to keep in mind that many graduates of Sir J.J. are working in such areas as advertising and public relations as well as in corporations and animation studios.

Photography Course Offerings

Program listings are brief and to the point. Course A is a four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Applied Art). Course B is a two-year, post-graduate program leading to a Master of Fine Arts with emphasis on Illustration and Typography. Course C is a one-year, apprentice training course with emphasis on Photography and Interior Decoration.

Emphasis in the first year of the four-year program is on proficiency and strengthening basic skills. Elective subjects in the second year include Lettering and Typography, Illustration, Photography, Computer Graphics and Exhibition Design/Display. Third-year study focuses on one of the elective areas, which the student follows until completion of the fourth year.

The institute limits the number of students in each elective area. No more than 20 students work in the area at the same level.

As mentioned earlier, Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art is located in the vibrant city of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). A large illustration studio accommodates up to 150 students. The institute offers seven darkrooms, a well-equipped print shop, computer room and more. A student hostel will accommodate dozens of students. The library houses thousands of books and documents.

Dean G.G. Waghmare oversees a faculty of more than 20 persons. Most individuals on the staff specialize in Applied Art, though Communications is represented as well. A study excursion is arranged each year through the Dean's office. Students also benefit from the display of significant works in the institute's art gallery.

The school also provides training in Art Education through its Quality Improvement Program (QIP), with emphasis on the.

"development and improvisation of the teaching methodology"

A number of special awards are offered regularly, including government-sponsored merit awards and prizes from several well-known professionals working in Applied Art.

Contact Details

Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art
Dr. D.N. Road, Fort, Mumbai, 400 001
Phone: +91 (022) 2262 1276