Thursday, October 2, 2008

DCC2008 Bangalore: Invitation to FOOD themes

Prof. M P Ranjan
DCC2008 Bangalore: Invitation to FOOD themes

Image: Invitation sent out by NID Bangalore students for their first presentation scheduled on 22 September 2008.

Their two week course started late on the 18th of September since I had to attend the Governing Council meeting at NID having been summoned by the Chairman for a meeting with the GC on 16th September when they met in Ahmedabad to discuss the action plans that would be an outcome of Dr D O Koshy's premature relief from the position of Director NID. I reached NID Bangalore on 17th Afternoon and the DCC class started on 18th morning with the first assignment being assigned to the students on the 20th September. The first presentation was scheduled on 22 September with three teams looking at the theme of Food with a bias towards – Region, Climate and Culture.

Image: Views from the Swiss design exploration workshop conducted by the Swiss design team of industrial designer Frederic Dedelley and design journalist Ariana Pradal at NID Bangalore

This delay was also due to the unexpected event of a one day workshop conducted by the Swiss design team involving all the students of the NID Bangalore campus. This was a hands-on workshop and it brought value to the students who were all busy in making working models of a "Letter Opener" concept directly by shaping materials, like "kalakars" and not in the more usual tradition of first making elaborate drawings before some crafts modelmaker creates a finished prototype. The direct shaping of materials is close to the hands and in my slogan for design, Hand-on Minds-on", this is a very critical part of being a designer, through working with ones hands, while exercising the mind. In conversation with Jignesh Khakhar who was working with me this time as an associate teacher on the DCC2008 course at NID Bangalore I outlined my insights about the kinds of people that were being attracted to design education and how the NID admissions systems seems to be skewed towards the selection of "chitrakars" at the exclusion of "kalakars", which is in my opinion a real loss for all of us. The spectrum of abilities and multiple capabilities that are desirable for design education could be classified as follows as an as yet incomplete list:
1. Kalakars: craftsmen who can work materials with ones hands
2. Chitrakars: artists and illustrators who can create images through drawing and painting techniques
3. Shilpakars: sculptors who can shape materials into image models in clay or other materials but with no joinery (usually)
4. Vastukar: planner and architect who proposes built spaces
5. Natyakar: dancer who uses the body and choreography to express form and message
6. Sutradar: storyteller and theatre performer who tells a compelling story
....... to name only the dominent categories from our experience at NID.

....... and now we have some more categories such as the "Digital Illustrator", "Software Programmer" and the just plain "Manager" wishing to become "Design Managers" with a booming market emerging for this last category and I still need to find an equivalent hindi name for these categories of design aspirants. All of them can be designers and design thinkers if the design education establishment acknowledges their skill sets and abilities and steers their foundation training to bring about a transformation in their abilities and attitudes towards change making in the real world which is one of the major roles of design action that wishes to shape the future in small and big ways. Therefore the levels of design action can go from dealing with the Tactical Level using skills and sensibilities of the designer, through the Elaborative Level by using market and trade values in many particular sectoral categories, through the Creative Level through the creation of breakthrough innovations and patent driven investments and lastly through the Strategic Level through the creation of new visions and the translation of systems level change that can help change a whole sector and shape the future in the process. My paper on Levels of Design Intervention explains this model and was written in 1998 for a conference in Barzil. The paper can be downloaded from this link below: Download:"Level of Design Intervention: as a pdf file 200 kb size.

Prof. M P Ranjan

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