Ashiya Sethi

Arshiya SethiArshiya Sethi was formerly Creative Head- Programmes at Habitat World, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. For almost a decade she lead the he vibrant programming for the Centre, consisting an entire gamut of the performing arts- classical, folk; popular and traditional Also included was a wide range of serious issues concerning environment, civil society, heritage, civic issues and other subjects, identified and highlighted through seminars, talks, workshops and discussions. Part of the core team that put together the multi venue International Festival Of Indian Literature-At Home in the World- sponsored by ICCR, with the British Council, she ensured that Habitat became a seminal partner. Apart from planning all art spaces within the nine-acre complex, she drew up policies, worked on networks, negotiated finances and established linkages between naturally allied and some innovative constituencies, around the arts. 

She was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Fellowship for Arts Management, during 2003-2004. Her Association was with the Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts, where she became the first Fulbright Fellow ever to get affiliation. In New York she worked with the resident Indian artistes to strengthen networks and set relationships that ensured greater mainstream visibility for the Indian performing artistes. Some of these associations were with Lincoln Centre Calendar. She was selected for the first workshop for Arts Managers and Festival Directors, organized by the British Council in 2000.

She is a key member of the India chapter of APPAN- the Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Network, a UNESCO supported organization that relates the practice and philosophy of the performing arts of the Asia Pacific region, giving voice to its unique cerebral, soul and spiritual qualities and aesthetics. She has actively organized, participated in and written for all three seminars and retreats conducted in India by this organization-e in Delhi and the other two in Dalhousie and Rishikesh. She is a trustee of Rangayan, an arts centre based in Guwahati and actively engaged in promoting the arts of Assam especially Sattriya.
After the success of the Habitat experiment and empowered by new ideas from her stint with the Lincoln Centre for Performing arts, New York, during her Fulbright fellowship, Arshiya Sethi took on new challenges:

  1. Kri Foundation of which she is Managing Trustee.

  2. Mentoring AASRA- An Association for the Scientific Research on the Addictions that was working at Tihar Jail. Arshiya Sethi financially backstopped the activities of this organization and engaged it with artistic initiatives to illuminate the lives of the incarcerated prisoners and link newer funding sources for it through endowments for the Arts.

  3. Mentoring Poorva Sanskriti Kendra the new cultural Centre in East Delhi (2005-2006) - At PSK she took on the challenge of creating a value and receptivity for cultural life in an area not known for prioritizing the arts. Arshiya believes that soon Delhi’s “left bank” too will be wellspring of cultural and cerebral vibrancy. The coming of the metro at the door of PSK will help in this development.

  4. Consulted with the United Nation’s GIFT- the Global initiative to fight Trafficking- With the UN GIFT she integrated the community of artistes- visual, performing, film makers etc to the specific issues of human trafficking and created a multi arts thematic event around the conference. Working in the UN system helped hone skills of IT possibilities, systems and procedures, and adopt and adapt them for use in the field of arts management.
Executive Director, Delhi International Arts Festival-  With the Delhi international Arts festival, Arshiya became a pioneer in building a world class cultural equity that would establish India as a global soft power, realizing the promise she made to herself in NYC- to ‘see India’s name in the marquee of the world’. India’s largest multi arts, multi venue Festival is now in its fourth year and has featured over six thousand Indian and International artistes in a Festival built on Public Private Partnerships, which can be compared to the best in the world. More details on the Delhi International Arts Festival can be got from
© Arshiya Sethi