Dr Tathagata Neogi
Current Employer/Organisation Name
Heritage Walk Calcutta
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I have Co-Founded an academic run walking tour company called Heritage Walk Calcutta (https://www.heritagewalkcalcutta.com/), along with my wife Chelsea. The company was founded in February 2017 just after I submitted by PhD proposal and has grown significantly in the 2 years of its existence. We are currently working with the University of Exeter’s Humanities and Business School on a GCRF Facilitation Fund supported project called Walking Heritage Into Future Cities (https://walkingheritage.blog/) to build capacities and possibly look into the possibility of encouraging early career academics in South Asia to start similar initiatives in their cities to help spread awareness about cultural heritage among the locals through immersive experiences.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I love this work. I always wanted to do something where academic research in history/archaeology or a related discipline can be used to bridge the gap between academics and a lay audience. Something that can make academics come out of their comfort zones and work with the local communities to empower them and help spread awareness about their cultural heritage. This was imperative in India, where cities are going through rapid expansions and transformation often at the expense of its valuable built heritage and legacies. Heritage Walk Calcutta as a for-profit social enterprise has been successful so far to generate that awareness and create a bridge between academic community and the local lay audience. This is what my wife Chelsea and I set out to do, and this is what we absolutely LOVE about our work!
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
I loved the university, the department of archaeology. More importantly, Exeter, as a city had become my second home! Studying at Exeter also encouraged me to think out of the box which culminated into Heritage Walk Calcutta eventually.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
When I applied for my MA, I got offers from 5 different universities in the UK but decided to choose Exeter above and beyond all of them, because my first points of contact at the university Mr Robin Rhodes and later Prof. Anthony Harding of Archaeology department were really professional, welcoming and warm. For my PhD, I left a lucrative offer from UCLA and chose to join Exeter again, because I had a very good supervisor and colleague in Prof. Gillian Juleff. Our research interests matched perfectly!
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
Working in a cutting edge department with some wonderful minds, both in terms of professors and cohorts. This helped me mature as an academic and a researcher. The university also encouraged me to think out of the box to apply my acquired skills in research elsewhere!
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
Keep an open mind, learn the skills on offer and make a lot of friends.
What are your plans for the future?
We have big plans for Heritage Walk Calcutta. We want to expand our model in South Asia and also hopefully find investment in travel technology to take it to all of Southeast Asia and beyond in the next 10 years.