JUNEESH K KURIACHAN

(Ph.D Research Scholar), Amity University, Noida, India.

ABSTRACT:

This article recounts research-in-progress which attempts to account for a paradigm
shift in Indian design education. The research also explores features that need to be rooted and
nurtured in the foundation year of design education to be suitable for the realities of life in 21st century
India. This foundation year has had diverse titles including “Design Fundamentals” or “Basic Design”.
The foundation year began at the Bauhaus and evolved after 1945 at the Hochschule für Gestaltung,
Ulm and the Academy of Art and Design Basel (HGK Basel). In its emergent period design was
concentrated on discrete products including industrial goods, textiles, ceramics, architecture and
graphic design. Today, however, to be pertinent to concurrent society, designers need to work on
convoluted issues that are interdisciplinary and much comprehensive in scope. 21st century design
education needs to be able to apply design and develop strategies to solve actual issues and not
just look at “good form”. There is also a visible shift from client-driven projects towards a more
reflective “issue-based” design education that strives for more socially inclusive, locally/glocally/
globally relevant solutions: a move from “human-centric design” to “life-centric design”. The research
to date incorporate an overview of the history of design education in India from its European origins
and a literature scrutiny of both formal (books, papers, and reports) and informal sources (blogs and
emails) to justify and reinforce the argument for change. Identification of central issues to contemporary
design education is based in-depth interviews and emphasize group discussions. The interviews
and discussions were with design educators and professional designers who interact with design
students as mentors or share a common con-cern for design education. Deliberations on design
and insights into future directions were congregated from confer-ence and seminar recordings. The
complications of the Indian people, both nationally and locally, within the mesh of cultural diversity
with eco-nomic discrepancy-ncluding health, transportation, housing, agricultural support, safe
water provision, to mention some of the many sectors—are areas which offer potential for the
designer to make a contribution in finding panacea to the wide range of problems facing India. It is
important for designers to comprehend the complexity of issues at stake as well as being aware of
“intangibles” like values, social responsibilities, empa-thy, humility, and local/global relevance. When
design education includes political, social, economic and eco-logical discourses in a collaborative,
inter/multidisciplinary way perhaps then design can participate actively in nation building.

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