September 2023

Professor Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti Showcases His Creative Work at Curiosity Conference


Prof. Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti’s participation in the Curiosity Conference at IIT Gandhinagar, as recounted in the Q&A with Naviiina, demonstartes the idea that curiosity knows no bounds. His ability to seamlessly navigate between teaching at IIIT-Bangalore and cartooning serves as an inspiring testament to the potential for creativity and curiosity to enhance and complement one another. His story encourages us all to embrace our passions and explore the uncharted territories where they may intersect.

Could you share details about the Curiosity Conference?

Curiosity conference was held at IIT Gandhinagar and was organised by Curiosity Laboratory there. It was a forum where participants discussed the benefits, ways and means of fostering curiosity as a learning disposition among learners. The conference was attended in large numbers by professionals mostly involved in school education, but also by a diverse set of experts in various domains: e.g., artists, sculptors, field workers and even magicians. There were even children, not merely accompanying their parents, but actively participating and giving valuable inputs. All were discussing the same thing: How to make learning more fun for students by stoking their curiosity.

Please describe the abstract or a cartoon piece you presented at the conference and share how it was received by the attendees?

Excerpts from my abstract:

“Humour is a potent tool to create a window of attention that may lead the mind to think out-of-the-box about a topic. This could lead to brighter academic ideas and also positive dispositional changes. The effects of humour are amplified when it is delivered through the medium of cartoons. Through his cartoons, the author has been able to bring attention of his students, immediate colleagues, academic community at large and the laypeople to a variety of issues pertaining to academic life. His work has focused particularly on academics in India and Global South. Through this forum, the author seeks an opportunity to make a point around the potential of using humour as an ingredient of academic conversations.”

There was quite a lot of buzz around the poster. Many people stopped by and we had very interesting discussions about how humour in general and cartoons in particular are very effective medium of education. I still remember the nice conversation I had with a girl named Advita, a 7th grader from Jharkhand, who was attending the conference with her mother, but was a very active participant in her own right. She congratulated me on my work not with handshake but with a high five!

What valuable insights or lessons did your conference experience impart to you?

Many! But to pick just a few:

  • Curiosity has been scientifically proved to be a more effective motivator for learning in the long run than more popular external motivators like grades or high paying jobs.
  • Curiosity has good effect on healthy aging. Want to stay mentally and physically healthy in your mature years? Don’t let your innate curiosity fade away.
  • We can use so many ways of making our students curious! Not just erudite teaching, but humour, games, magic, art, music, and creatively designed learning spaces. We just have to think out of the box!

Do you think it’s important for educational institutions to contemplate adopting similar initiatives, and if so, what are the reasons behind your belief?

As discussed above, infusing curiosity as the lifeblood of all education is in the interest for all of us. I would say that an educational institution where its students are curious and hungry for learning for its own sake is in every way superior to the one where the prime motivator for learning is greed for money and status.

Are you open to collaborating with both teachers and students on humorous ideas related to academic matters and transforming them into cartoons or comic strips?

Let me take this as an opportunity to extend an invitation to collaborate both to teachers and students. If anyone has some humorous idea — whether in content or about general academic matters, I invite them to work together with me. Let’s turn a humorous idea into a cartoon or comic strip. It’s fun and immensely effective.

Here are some links to browse through my cartoons:

  1. Trendy spoofs (Naviina@IIITB):
  2. Cartoons published in Confluence@Indian Academy of Sciences:
  3. All cartoons:


The International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore is a technical and research university in Bangalore, India. The Institute is a registered not-for-profit society funded jointly by the Government of Karnataka and the IT industry under a public-private partnership model.

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