THINKING ABOUT DESIGN is a publication on design and related interests.
Articles by contributing authors are listed under Authors and Articles.
Click on their names to see more.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.

If you wish to contribute, please subscribe to design notes - see below right.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What do I bring to the table? - Deepankar Bhattacharyya

Professor MP Ranjan of NID has been instrumental in bringing to us 'LOOK Back – LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Basic Design for India' (see his blog). After Bengaluru, he along with Prof Suchitra Sheth, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, chaired a conference in Kolkata (28 September 2010), the organisers for which were National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad – in collaboration with Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata, HfG-Archive Ulm & IfA (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany) Stuttgart and Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR). 

I was invited to participate in this conference, particularly the panel discussions on 'Multi Institutional experience of Basic Design and pedagogy propositions from experiences in design education' and the breakaway group discussions afterwards. 

There are many shades of 'Indian Design' and different institutions and individuals have been working across a diverse spectrum ranging from 'craft centred design' to the newer 'experience and interaction centred design' with a range of others including 'styling and form centred design' somewhere in between.

Basic design courses have been focused on learning the stuff that designers apply to their design projects by way of the senses, skills, materials, thinking, knowledge etc. Starting with foundation courses, institutions continue this process for around four years while gradually increasing the emphasis on applications of this learning in design projects.

Participants spoke about their experiences of teaching and learning basic design across the diversity of our pedagogical landscape. There are institutions where learning is centered around materials like wood, clay, stone, textiles etc., there are others where the learning stems from the needs of our craft ecology or the needs of our industry, there are still others who have jettisoned the idea of 'thinking with the hands' altogether, and concentrate on the interfaces between computers and budding designers and there are those who focus on the aesthetic or the senses.

They all have one purpose - to enable young designers to work on design projects and to enable them to earn a decent living.

The fact that we, in India, have such diversity is heartening and this opportunity to formally interact with others from across the spectrum, was for me, gratifying, particularly because I have been teaching design at various institutions and interacting with students from a variety of backgrounds who were learning to work in a diversity of environments.

I have, at one point or the other, been through the shades of emphasis that are being practiced today and appreciate the value that each one brings. My own current paradigm sees design moving from product to process, my emphasis is more on structure rather than form. I value the iterative process where 'thinking with the hands' helps to explore possibilities and approximations that lead to the 'eureka' moment, when 'design thinking and doing' lead to great design solutions.

Design is changing in fundamental ways. Paradigm shifting technologies along with systems driven by information and communication are giving us opportunities to redefine our world in exciting ways. What do I bring to the table where more and more professionals from other disciplines employ 'design thinking' or an interesting understanding of it and design projects have complexity that require many different inputs from many areas of human activity?

It is not an easy question to answer, but I think that working on it may well lead us to greater understanding of the needs of basic design education in contemporary contexts.

What do I bring to the table?


No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.