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Continuing Labs
Design for Community and Self (DCS)
The Design Lab
The SCOM lab

DESIGN FOR COMMUNITY AND SELF (DCS)
The structure of the new diploma course called Design for Community and Self emerged from the learning experiences and outcomes of the Design Lab. The normative way of engaging with the teaching and practice of design is to get young people to benefit from the "specialization route". But does this present the danger of creating professionals who are adept at solving symptoms but are ill equipped to get down to root issues? How can the school create professionals equipped to handle today’s complexities using conceptual energies, methodologies, tools and skills that can adapt to rapid obsolescence?

The DCS course tackles such questions and is ambitious in its breadth and depth. It offers to cover a range of 2D and 3D disciplines including product design, graphics, photography, web, video, sculpture, painting and new media. The objective is a course that makes students think across or beyond the confines of any single discipline and enables learning both in the classroom and on live projects. The diploma promotes the understanding that the study of art and design must engage with contemporary debates and issues in society, local and global, and be intertwined with those intangible qualities/assets such as trust, ethics and well being which contribute directly to economic wealth creation and culture.

DCS is now offering:

- 1 year Certificate
- 2 years Professional Diploma
- 3 years Advanced Professional Diploma

download application form

Clarifications on DCS

The usual design courses offer a student a "specialisation route".
While this seems to work for some learning styles, the design lab provides
a learning opportunity that is not driven by answers but by questions.
The medium, skills and tools then are learnt to help to find ways of
addressing those questions in creative, inclusive and empowering ways.

The objective of this course is to make students think across or beyond the confines
of a single discipline. This diploma promotes the understanding that the study of
art and design must engage with contemporary debates and issues in society,
local andglobal and intertwined with those intangible qualities/assets such as trust, ethics and well being
which contribute directly to economic wealth creation and culture.

The course has a lot of real life work and research and expects the students
to be self-directed in their learning styles. It is demanding , challenging and seeks
to stretch the students comfort zones.

Areas and topics the curriculum will cover
The course is taught around project questions. There are core learning sites and skill inputs in addition.
The core leanring sites are, Art & Desing Context / Art & Design Literacy / Community / Environment / Community

Career path or outcome the candidate can expect after doing this course
At the end of a one year apprenticeship / 2 year programme / 3 year programme the student will have a more indepth understanding of working in a facilitative manner with communities. The studnet can then join an NGO, Public Service organistion, or a exporter or set up a project to do community work. The differences in the years will only reflect the experience the student gathers, since most of the key sites will be covered by all the students in the first year itself.

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Other Labs

  energy efficient stove


The Design Lab
Set up and coordinated by Poonam Bir Kasturi, it focused on the relationship between creativity and production in crafts. Taking an ecological perspective to both design thinking and the creative industry, this lab extended the notion of student to the world of craftspeople.
Programme:

Design that Matters
DTM was a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional course initiated in 2002-2003 by Srishti as part of the Design Lab. The overall theme was “Learning from Grassroots Innovators”, the objective being to create a bridge between Open Source Collaborative Design Platforms and design at the grassroots-innovator level. The course was modeled along the lines of an experimental design studio, MIT Design that Matters, run earlier at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The course was launched at a workshop where multidisciplinary groups of students, grassroots innovators, designers and engineers worked on a range of challenges posed by innovations brought in by grassroots innovators. This then led to students of the Nettur Technical Training Foundation, Dharwad, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Srishti working in mixed groups on real-life projects like:
· Solar cooker
· Solid waste management
· Rainwater harvesting system
· Baby care
· Energy-efficient stove
The projects chosen for further development in the second stage were:
· Rainwater harvesting system
· Energy efficient biomass choolha (stove)
· Household composting unit
· A new project, an air filtering system for helmets.
The process was intense with stress laid on the "real-ness" of the project. Each project “listened” to the voices of the stakeholders involved in the innovation, marketing, and usage of the product, re-iterating many times form, function, and position, in context. "Experts" in the field raised questions and provided different perspectives. This phase involved prototyping; product and sub-products were made, tested and reviewed by prospective customers at various stages. Two papers written by Srishti students emerged from this process and were published on the Thinkcycle website www.thinkcycle.org.


back to top | Design that Matters Website | Aagaman Website


The SCOM lab

Set up and coordinated by Geetha Narayanan, it looked at developing understanding on the use of Information and Communication technologies in the sphere of social change. The context here was health and, in particular, the AIDS/HIV epidemic sweeping the country.

Programme:
COMMUNICATION FOR CHANGE (C4C)
The context in which the C4C course was designed and delivered in 2002-2003 was that of change ushered in by new technologies and movements that force the questioning of existing institutions and power structures. The over-arching question posed was whether or not these technologies of change work positively for the empowerment and development of the most disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society. The hypothesis was that there seems to be a need to reconcile technological innovations with the needs and constraints of people, both urban and rural. That is, new spaces are being created for professionals who work within the development arena as communication practitioners.
The course enabled students to recognize the involvement of multiple stakeholders in sustainable development efforts joined together by a process of generation and exchange of information. They had to define the roles communication for development could play including making concerns visible, providing alternate forms to persuasive advertising to foster interactive multi-pronged policy making and to facilitate platform process to include the voices of different stakeholders.
Throughout the course, the participants grappled with the problematics of communication for social change. How would one define public interest and whose sense of history should be included? What is the difference between advocacy and propaganda? How can ideas be taken into the realm of representation and political action? How are competing claims of systems of knowledge to be recognised/reconciled while valuing vernacular and indigenous systems? In the end, should not communication for change see receivers as agents and not objects of change and as full partners in a horizontal development process? These questions were looked at from multidisciplinary perspectives and from roots in the needs of developing India.
In short, the C4C course expanded the notion of art and design as an inclusive and collaborative process with social consequences. The course was structured in three phases – the Shell, the Studio, the Stage. The phases were not linear but hyperlinked and consisted of field immersions, seminars and workshops, training in communication design skills like poster-making, performances, web design, story telling, etc. The Shell was the “thinking” part, the Studio the “doing” and the Stage the “public demonstration” of learning executed in the Sunoh workshop organized by Srishti as the culmination of the course.

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