Kaamya Sharma

I am a researcher, teacher and writer with interests in craft, technology and culture.

It all started with my doctoral research, which examined online identity projects centered on the sari and what they reveal about consumers, cultures and markets. The research was multidisciplinary and led me into the domains of ethnography, history as well as cultural, media and social media analysis.

I have published peer-reviewed articles in leading research journals and articles in national dailies and international magazines. Currently, I am working on a book about the cultural history of the sari based on this research.

I love writing. Even more, I love teaching the craft of writing (nonfiction, academic writing, technical writing) to different audiences. In 2019, I was awarded the Peter Taylor Fellowship given to outstanding writers by the Kenyon Review.

While working as a tenured faculty member in a premier engineering institution, I realized that there’s a staggering gap in understanding between tech creators and their clients/end-users. This led to my second calling: I bring my expertise in research and communication to consult for companies in the tech, luxury retail, craft and wellness spaces, helping them engage effectively with their audiences.

I continue to work on a number of fairly eclectic research topics, some of which include i) how digital tools can help in archiving cultural heritage; ii) decolonizing craft narratives; iii) how users perceive sartorial comfort. You can find a more comprehensive description of the research projects here.

Do any of these topics interest you as well? Let’s talk!



Curating for The Browser, the daily newsletter recommending the best writing on the Internet

January 2024 - Present

Writer, Teacher & Editor


Content Strategy Consulting; Teaching Workshops & Courses on Writing & Communication; Editorial Support; Public Engagement

July 2021 - Present

VP, Client Relations & Chief Editor


Client Relations; Workforce Management; Content & Campaign Ideation, Strategy & Design

Oct 2022 - Present

Chief Editor & Key Account Manager (Bosch)


Key Account Management; Project Management; Content Ideation & Development

Dec 2021 - Sept 2022

Assistant Professor

Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur

Qualitative Research; Research Leadership; Teaching; Mentorship; Outreach; Consultancy; Public Sector Engagement.

May 2019 - June 2021

Postdoctoral Fellow

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Qualitative Research; Writing; Research Outreach; Teaching

Feb 2017 - April 2019


Aarhus University, Denmark

Anthropology & Cultural Studies

Funded by the Erasmus IBIES Fellowship

2013 - 2016

Indian Institute of Technology, Madras

Integrated M.A.
English Studies

Minor: Economics

2008 - 2013


Hand-crafted identities: Sartorial taste and belonging amongst elite women in urban India

Journal of Material Culture - 2020

Peer-reviewed Journal Article


The Orientalisation of the Sari: Sartorial Praxis and Womanhood in Colonial and Post-Colonial India

South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies - 2019

Peer-reviewed Journal Article


How to Dress a National Elite: The Case of the Kalakshetra Sari

International Quarterly for Asian Studies - 2017

Peer-reviewed Journal Article


John Forbes Watson’s Devastating Catalogue of Indian Textiles

The Hindu Sunday Magazine - 2020

Newspaper Article


The Rules of the Game: Weaving Durries in Rajasthan

Garland Magazine - 2020

Magazine Article


Thoothukudi Custodial Deaths: A Dangerous Blind Spot

The Hindu Business Line - 2020

Newspaper Article co-authored with Arvind Srinivasan


Book Review: Tirthankar Roy, The Crafts and Capitalism: Handloom Weaving Industry in Colonial India

Review of Development and Change - 2021

Review Article


On Weaving an Interschool Inclusive Event

Inclusive Education in India: Concepts, Methods and Practice - 2018

Article in Edited Anthology co-authored with Smruthi Bala Kannan


The Scent of Happiness: A Novel

Ratna Books, New Delhi, India - 2021

Book Translation from Tamil-English by K. Srilata & Kaamya Sharma



Craft & Design: Bridging the Divide

Bangalore International Centre (BIC) - Feb 12, 2023

Invited Talk: Public Engagement


From Eco-friendly to Eco-habitus: Sustainable Consumption and Class in Urban India

Workshop on 'Good Life and Development', Aarhus University, Denmark - Mar 28-29, 2022

Invited Presentation: Academic Workshop

Fold Craft: Uncovering the Nivi Sari

Reinventing the Wheel Series, Garland Magazine - Mar 21, 2022

Invited Talk: Public Engagement


Kaamya Sharma Poses a Challenging Question

Loop, Garland Magazine - July 9, 2021

Podcast Interview


Decolonizing Craft Discourse

Iran Craft Week, Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Iran - June 12, 2021

Invited Talk: Public Engagement


#Strongnotskinny: Gender, Body and Community on Instagram

Dept of Humanities & Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras - April 10, 2021

Keynote Lecture: Annual Academic Conference


Project CRAFT

International Heritage Symposium & Exhibition, National Museum, New Delhi - Jan 15-16, 2020

Invited Presentation: Academic Conference

Clothing and the Politics of Identity: Saris, Nationhood, and Consumption in Urban India

International Women's Association (IWA), Chennai - Dec 6, 2018

Invited Talk: Public Engagement

Of Bicycles, Gramophones and ‘Brash’ Colours: 19th-Century Anxieties Surrounding Indian Textiles

Yarn Club, Apparao Art Gallery, Chennai - Aug 20, 2015

Invited Talk: Public Engagement

Whose Sari is it Anyway?

Kønsanalytisk Forum (Gender Analysis Forum), Aarhus, Denmark - May 27, 2015

Invited Talk: Public Engagement

The Dancing Sari: The Aesthetics of Nationalism in the Case of the Kalakshetra Sari

Critical Costume Conference, School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, Finland - Mar 25-27, 2015

Invited Presentation: Academic Conference

Telling Sari Stories: (re)-Appropriations of Dress and the Politics of Identity in Urban South India

Annual Costume Committee Meeting, International Council of Museums, Greece - Sep 7-13, 2014

Invited Presentation: Academic Conference


Writing Strategies: Storytelling, Communication & Leadership

Goldman Sachs 10000 Women, NSRCEL, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore - May 23, 2023

Instructor & Speaker: Workshop Session

Technical Report Writing

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) India - Dec 6, 2021

Instructor & Speaker: Workshop Session

Effective Communication Strategies in the Job Search

Skillskapes, Indian Institute of Technology Madras - Sept 12, 2021

Instructor & Speaker for Workshop Session in Course: Effective Communication & Soft Skills

Kenyon-IITM Writing Workshop

Indian Institute of Technology Madras - Dec 13-18, 2020 & Dec 16-20, 2019

Coordinator & Fellow-at-Large

Kenyon Review Writers Workshop (Literary Nonfiction)

Kenyon College, USA - June 16-22, 2019

Peter Taylor Fellow


Archiving Knowledge

Computing & Material Culture - Ongoing

When conserving objects or materials which are subject to decay, our conservation efforts may at most preserve them for a few centuries. The only way to truly preserve them is to preserve knowledge of their making. This collaborative project entails a reimagining of AI and computing methods to archive endangered aspects of craft, culture and heritage.

Beyond Big Data

AI & Ethnography - Ongoing

Current applications of cutting-edge digital tools for social media research are designed for automation whereas we need methods designed to better connect (human) researchers with their interlocutors in the digital space. This collaborative project is an open-ended exploration of how to conduct research on visual social media moving beyond Big Data approaches towards culturally sensitive qualitative research.

Decolonizing Craft Narratives

Craft Research - Ongoing

This project examines how various actors in the craft world create meaning and value in their use and practice of craft. Through archival and ethnographic methods, this research links the historical divisions between craft and industry, the handmade and mechanized to contemporary questions of skill, meaning and value.

Strength Training on Instagram

Social Media & Visual Analysis - Ongoing

This research in progress studies recreational strength training communities that have mushroomed online for women on Instagram. Using media and social media analysis, I compare strength training with other performance-oriented subcultures of the body, such as running and CrossFit. This research also examines the communicative features of Instagram as a social media app and how it normalizes alternate displays of female bodies.

Crafting Strength

Practice-based Research - Ongoing

Dominant narratives around contemporary fitness fetishize pain and suffering, almost as if they are the dues one must pay to ‘earn’ a fit body. This practice-based research seeks to disconnect the body from narratives of pain and suffering to imagine a more joyful path to fitness.

Consuming Comfort

Consumer Culture Research - Ongoing

How does the user actually perceive comfort? Is comfort aesthetic – relating to how something looks and is described (using words such as ‘light’ and ‘breathable’, for instance) or haptic – relating to qualities of touch, texture, fit, or both? My earlier research revealed that craft revivalists cited comfort as the reason why handloom textiles are the obvious user choice in the hot, humid weather that prevails in India. Was this true? This research combined ethnography, media research and material analysis to study the relationship between representations and perceptions of comfort among clothing users, focusing on haptic elements of textiles which influence user perceptions of comfort.

Project CRAFT

Problem Validation Research - Completed

Project CRAFT is my initiative to create digital tools to augment craft production and consumption in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, using AR-VR and digitalization. Moreover, it sought the use of pattern recognition to help craft users obtain Intellectual Property Rights. Jodhpur, as India’s leading handicraft and furniture exporter, was a salient location for this pilot study. In order to understand the current status and challenges of the craft industry, I conducted problem validation research, using ethnographic methods, interviews, shadowing and observations as well as unstructured interactions in Jodhpur. This project received funding from the Government of India.

The Sari & Social Media

Social Media & Market Case Study - Completed

This research, part of my doctoral dissertation, emerged from my observations of sari revival movements on social media. Although saris occupy a lion’s share of the Indian retail market, why are they perceived as endangered and in need of revival? What do saris signify in the larger realm of culture and identity? This research linked identity projects on social media to the clothing consumption of women in urban India. I employed a mixed-methods approach entailing ethnography, social media analysis and quantitative market analysis to contextualize contemporary anxieties about identity within larger patterns of consumption.

A Cultural History of the Sari

Historical & Ethnographic Research - Completed

This research, part of my doctoral dissertation, was conducted to unearth a cultural history of the sari as draped clothing. Using a mixed methods approach combining ethnography, archival research, media study, visual & material analysis, I studied the sari’s mutations through the colonial and postcolonial periods, focusing on the emergence of the Nivi style of drape, and what it signified about a new identity for Indian women. For whom was this new image fashioned, and whom did it exclude? I am presently writing a monograph about the Modern Sari.

Some more things

Courses taught
  • Technical Communication
  • Language for Technical Writing
  • Academic Writing
  • Communication Skill
  • Sociocultural Theories
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • Consumer Culture & Commodities
  • Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • Perspectives in Language & Literary Studies
  • Literature in Translation
  • Research Methodology
  • English -Native Fluency
  • Tamil -Native Fluency
  • Hindi -Native Fluency
  • Malayalam -Strong Spoken Fluency
  • Spanish -Basic reading, writing, and comprehension (levels 1 and 2, Instituto Hispania, India)
  • German -Basic reading, writing, and comprehension (levels 1 and 2, IIT Madras, India)
  • Danish -Basic reading, and comprehension (level 1, Lærdansk, Denmark)
  • Developmental Editing
  • Content Strategy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Craft Research
  • Operations management
  • Project Management
  • Teaching & Pedagogy


Email me at kaamyasharma at gmail dot com