Development by design

Amidst palpable excitement, students, faculty and the management of the National Institute of Design (NID), Andhra Pradesh, are gearing up to host their first ‘Festival of Design Stories’ called Chitrakatha 2019 at its transit campus in Nambur at Pedakakani in Guntur district. “I chose to name it Chitrakatha which is all about showcasing our own culture,” explains Sekhar Mukherjee, Director of the institute.

The campus is booming with high energy with students filling the lobbies. There are large tables laden with tools that will be used to generate a myriad products, some of which will be showcased during the five-day festival from November 19.

There is sculpting, chiselling, moulding, casting and tinkering as products take shape. “This malleable fine-grained earthy material, clay, is incredibly versatile and you can use it to create any art work,” says Shantanu Jena, a visiting faculty from Viswa Bharati in Shantiniketan. He reminds them that they are using a material used in the earliest human civilisation.

Inside the Industrial Design workshop, Semeon Jeme, a first year student from Haflong in Assam, is being mentored by Rajiv Jassal and Sonam Sangay Kazi, a product designer from Darjeeling and a visiting faculty at NID-AP respectively. He is making a wood-carving of a creature that is half eagle and half snake.

Another faculty member Shikher Saxena is explaining wood behaviour. “Many of the students come here with rigid ideas of design. We decipher it for them and help them expand their horizons and integrate newer elements in the design concept,” he says. In the Textile and Apparel department, a couple of girls weave khadi to be used for banners and other purposes.

“I can’t wait to be part of this celebration of creativity. This year we have moved beyond animation and have included all aspects of design education which means the crowd will be bigger and celebrations more boisterous,” says an excited Kaushal R, a final year student. His friend Aravind Balaji is looking forward to the exchange of ideas that the festival will facilitate.

“Eco-friendly and sustainability are bedrocks of design education. Over 30 foreign delegates are coming to attend this international festival and we’ll make sure there is no use of plastic anywhere,” says director Sekhar Mukherjee. He promisesthat the five-day event will be packed with workshops, seminars and interactive sessions. “We are creating a platform for people of diverse backgrounds to connect through design education. This multi-purpose podium will allow us to celebrate both multi-disciplinary cultures and our own tradition and homogeneity,” he explains.

Key issues will be discussed includingwater, health, education, sex and gender, energy, climate change, sustainability, cultural harmony and disaster management.

NID-AP was started in 2015. It has since been documenting indigenous crafts like the toy-making art of Kondapally and Pedana Kalamkari.

The five-day jamboree will see designers, scientists, sociologists, anthropologists and experts in a myriad fields participating. “Design touches every sphere of life and so we did not confine to a certain set of experts this time,” says Sekhar.

There have been challenges, admits Sekhar. Getting financial support has been a big one. Also the NID in AP is in a transit campus and still in its formative years. He adds that instilling confidence in students has been tough too “But we designers are problem-solvers and we’ll find the remedies,” he smiles.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 3:27:46 PM |

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