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DATE: 24th October 2018

CULTURE MAPPING: The Power of the Articulate Symbol

Using Geert Hofstede's Onion Model we will attempt to map certain key dimensions of cultural change in India by observing, decoding and synthesising signs that lie scattered all around us. The attempt of the exercise will be to pick the more articulate amongst the signs and to read them, individually and collectively to build a composite picture of the cultural impulses that drive change. The day begins with a short orientation about the framework and some guidelines on the prices itself.

We will set on a culture walk across the streets of Lower Parel. Dominated by textile mills until the 1980s, Lower Parel has now morphed into a posh locality as part of the redevelopment of Mumbai mills. While one part of the area does still embrace industrial estates, housing its original resident mill-workers & their eco-system, another part is adorned with newly arrived luxury skyscraper apartments, upscale restaurants and pubs, premium office space, luxury hotels, and boutiques. Lower Parel is a microcosm of change, and the ideal spot for delving into the narrative of culture; how it was, is, and will be.

Participants will be segregated in groups, of which each will observe and explore a different section of the area. The primary task is to set on foot, take in Mumbai, and capture and assimilate indicators of change; artefacts, street signs, advertising, photographs and journal entries that indicate the coming together of the old and the new. Right from a quirky window curtain to a modernised women’s salon, we can see the narrative of change within shops, houses, signages and objects. Anything that inspires you, pop culture references that stay with you, or the language that affect you while on the walk; capture it.

Our walk will end at the workshop venue where we will unearth larger trends that signal towards an evolving society. Participants will work in groups, laying down observations, decoding the material, and creating meaning out of it all using the Hofstede Model.

With uniquely Indian contexts to many of evidences collected, the walk and subsequently the workshop will be an ideal and quick entry into the Indian ecosystem and the change therein, for both local as well as international audiences.


The orientation session venue: The Dy Works office
Mathuradas Mill Compound.
Benefice Business House 3rd floor,
NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai,
Maharashtra 400013

How to reach there:
We recommend making use of public transportation as much as possible, since there is no space reserved in the premises for visitors. Below are the modes of transportation you can make use of:

Book a cab:
You may input ‘Benefice Business House’ in your booking app i.e. Ola / Uber, and it’ll direct you straight to the venue. In case you take a ‘black and yellow’ cab, ask for Todi Mills compound, Lower Parel, where ‘Benefice Business House’ is located. Please map it on Google Maps to ensure that you reach the correct location.

Take the Western Line train to Lower Parel Railway station. To make your transit easier, we suggest you download the app ‘M-Indicator’ on your smartphones. This app provides a detailed minute-by-minute schedule of all the trains.

Click here for directions from Lower Parel station to the Dy Works office. It’s a short 4-minute walk.

The workshop venue: Rise, Mumbai
#1902, 19th floor - Tower B.
Peninsula Business Park,
Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel,
Mumbai, 400013

After the culture walk, you will be led to the workshop venue by the Semiofest team.

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Santosh Desai is a columnist, media critic and the author of ‘Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India’. In his professional life, Santosh is the MD & CEO of Futurebrands, a brand and consumer consultancy company and has previously headed an advertising agency. Santosh’s principal area of interest lies in examining the evolving nature of consumer culture in India. Along with being a thought leader in understanding the relationship between culture and brands and the consumer as a product of his or her cultural context, he also authors ‘City City Bang Bang’, a weekly column in The Times of India. He is the promoter of DY Works and is widely respected in the country.

DATE: 25th October 2018

9.30 -10.00 Registrations
10.00 - 10.15 Welcome & Introduction
10.15 - 11.00 Key note: Understanding and deciding symbols of Sanatan: The Hindu notion of fragility by Devdutt Pattanaik
11.00 - 11.20 Plotting the trajectory of socio-cultural change in India: The relevance of the long view by Hamsini Shivakumar
11.20 - 11.40 Metanoia of Semiotic Analyses – Representation and Mediation at Individual and
Collective levels for Marketing Effectiveness
by Anirban Chaudhary
11.40 - 12.00 Break
12.00 - 12.20 Born in the New Russia: A semiotic study of Russian youth culture by Maria Papanthymou
12.20 - 12.40 Gender semiosis in latin cultures: nuances, differences and encounters by Gabriela Pedranti,
Ximena Tobi , Arturo Rojas &
Mariane Cara
12.40 - 13.00 Coding ‘woman’: Patanjali and the problem of modernity by Harmony Siganporia
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00-14.10 Changing codes of power through the jewelry category for women in India by Mili Sethia
14.10-14.20 Exploring the evolving ideas around 'DESTINY' in today’s times,
through pop culture references, societal transitions and behavioral & attitude changes
by Varun Sathees
14.20-14.30 Identity in flux: How technology and digital media are triggering
a more individualistic identity
by Rajan Luthra
14.30-14.50 Case Study: How to communicate environmental friendly forest management
in Sweden
by Martha Arango &
Seta Stalberg
14.50-15.10 Culture & non-culture: How do Semiosfera consulting help a multinational
company in Mexico create a better work atmosphere?
by Maximino Matus
15.10-15.30 A lot like love 2.0 (Building a brand promise for OTT content based on
the changing lovescape in India)
by Nainika Chauhan
15.30-15.50 Break
15.50-16.10 Gen Y and dating apps : A semiotic analysis to map user experience by Sumeet Anand
16.10-16.30 Arriving at the codes which define safety, masculinity & humour today by Radhika Venkatarayan &
Prasunika Priyadarshini
16.30-17.15 Panel Discussion (TBC)
17.15-17.25 Closing Remarks

*schedule is subject to change at the sole discretion of the Semiofest Committee if the need arises.


Venue: Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya
159-161, Mahatma Gandhi Road,
Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai,
Maharashtra 400023

How to reach there:
There is a pay & park available near the museum but our recommendation is to make use of public transportation as much as possible. Below are the modes of transportation you can make use of:

Book a cab:
Input ‘Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya’ in your booking app i.e. Ola / Uber, and it’ll get you straight to the venue. In case you take a ‘Black and yellow’ cab, ask for Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya, Kala Ghoda. In case, your cab driver is not familiar with the venue, you can ask for the erstwhile name ‘Prince of Wales museum’. Do map it on Google Maps just to be safe.

You can take the Western Line train to Churchgate Station. You could also take the Central Line train to CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus). To make your transit easier, we suggest you download the app ‘M-Indicator’ on your smartphones. This app provides a detailed minute-by-minute schedule of all the trains. Cabs outside the station will take you to the venue.

Click here for directions from CSMT station to the museum. It’s a short 7-minute ride by cab.

Click here for directions from Churchgate station to the museum. It’s a short 5-minute ride by cab.

DATE: 26th October 2018

9.30 -10.00 Registrations
10.00 - 10.15 Welcome & Introduction
10.15 - 11.00 Key Note: The Laws of the Interface by Carlos Scolari
11.00 - 11.20 The Precariat and the art of living in the 'Everyday world' by Seema Khanwalkar
11.20 - 11.40 The Soft Revolution by Ashley Mauritzen
11.40 - 12.00 Decoding the vegan identity through new media by Chirag Mediratta
12.00 - 12.20 Break
12.20 - 12.40 Creating neologisms to provoke & share change by Sonia Marques
12.40 - 13.00 Semiotics of myth as a branding tool: Mother nature mythologeme case by Lyudmila
13.00-13.20 Firstness, secondness and thirdness of user generated content on social media by Tanvi Gupta
13.20-14.20 Lunch
14.20-14.40 The evolution of the meme beasts on the Chinese Internet by Fangxing Huang
14.40-15.00 Gurugram: The virtual urbanity by Sunil Vasisth
15.00-15.20 From experience to epiphany: Changing hearts - metanoia in a post screen age by Charise Mita
15.20-15.40 Finding the sense(s) in semiotics by Karin Sandelin,
Thierry Mortier &
Hanna Stolpe
15.40-16.00 Break
16.00-16.20 Designing change - Neuromedia as a metanoic practice by Karen Cham
16.20-16.40 AI powered semiotics: One step closer to predictive semiotics by Wei Fen Lee
16.40-17.40 Inspiration Session: A gesture towards a different imagination: decoding queer performance by Anahita Sarabhai
17.40-17.50 Closing Remarks
18.00 Depart for Dinner at Gymkhana 91
19.00-19.30 Dinner Talk: The Language of Condiments by Akansha Agarwal &
Aditya Hegde

*schedule is subject to change at the sole discretion of the Semiofest Committee if the need arises.

Dinner Venue: Gymkhana 91


The venue in itself bears the spirit of Metanoia.

Get ready to feel the colonial hangover at Gymkhana 91. Eclectic dishes apart, this place will take you back in time; back to the British era structures, old style staircases with wooden railings, vintage clocks, tiles and chairs, and an overall leaning towards nostalgia for an era gone by.

Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel,
Senapati Bapat Marg, Gandhi Nagar,
Upper Worli, Worli, Mumbai,
Maharashtra 400013

Semiotics For Business Impact

DATE: 27th October 2018

A practical look at the applications of Semiotics in real life, this is a by-invite only work-out session for clients, showing them the business impact of applied semiotics.

The session aims to go beyond semiotics as a cultural insight practice to revealing how semiotics and semiotic thinking can impact business goals such as growth, differentiation and organisational transformation.

The session will be co-facilitated by experienced marketers who have bought and used semiotics and will also count on the participation of some of the world’s most experienced practising brand semioticians.

A half day work-out session with experts in applied semiotics, co-facilitated by:

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Alpana Parida
Managing Director, DY Works,
India's largest strategic design
consulting firm
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Ashutosh Tiwari
Business & Market
strategy veteran. Founder
of Cosmos strategy, a
global strategy firm
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Hamsini Shivakumar
Brand consultant,
Co-owner of Semiofest

In this session, participants will be taken through case studies of companies and brands that used semiotics to:

1. Help companies in their growth and transformation journeys
2. Lead consumers into the future by transforming customer experiences
3. Develop a winning proposition to take to the market

If interested, please get in touch with us at