Lessons from life at Warhorse Learning Festival

At last year’s Warhorse Learning Festival  

Sidhaanth Dharmadheeran feels quite strongly about the fact that our innate curiosity wanes when we complete our formal education. “We want people to fall back in love with learning,” says the co-founder and CEO of city-based educational enterprise, Warhorse. What started over a year ago as ‘secret experiences’ in the form of Stable Talks (where people could sign up for a session without knowing what was going to be discussed) led to a larger format event, the Warhorse Learning Festival.

“We had a lot of success with the mystery topics. Since they did not know who the speaker was going to be or what was being covered, they came with the sheer intent to learn something new. We have had people from ages 16 to 60+,” says Dharmadheeran, on the inspiration to curate such an event. With the festival, however, most of the speakers and panellists are revealed earlier. “We do have one mystery speaker, but I can tell you that the topic will be on advocacy and the kind of political atmosphere in the country now,” he says.

For the people

The second edition, which is set to take place this weekend, will have sessions on topics as varied as mental hygiene (by trainer and author Vidya Ragu) and branding (by Ratheesh Krishnan, Head of Experiments & New Ventures at SPI Cinemas). There will be sessions on world history, pop philosophy, game design and movement therapy, too, as well as a discussion on films with film critic Baradwaj Rangan and Kishor of the Moving Images YouTube channel.

Subjects like fashion and sustainability are also on the cards, in a discussion between city-based designer Sanah Sharma and sustainable fashion blogger Varsha Mohan ( on Instagram). “Sanah has developed some construction methodologies that are focused on zero-waste and using resources frugally. There will also be a broader discussion about producing and consuming sustainably,” says Mohan, adding that people need to look at sustainably-made (hence more expensive) garments as an investment, and inculcate the mindset to buy less and wear more.

Comic Jagan Krishnan, who is conducting a “sort of workshop” on stand-up comedy, will discuss why people laugh. It is meant to be relevant to both the audience and his fellow comics, he says. He will also answer questions like why they tell the same jokes at live shows — unlike the marvellous Mrs Maisel, in real life, it takes close to a year to write an hour-long set. “Also, there is this misconception that we are always funny. This is 200% not true,” he says.

While all the topics might not be interesting to all, Dharmadheeran says, “The hope is that people will come in for what they are interested in, and stay to learn more.”

The Warhorse Learning Festival takes place on January 4 and 5, from 11 am to 8.30 pm, at The ARTery, Balaji Nagar, Royapettah. Tickets from ₹99 per session on 9840944472

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:04:38 AM |

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