Ethical Dilemmas, Engagement and Decision Making was an immersive course that I taught at Srishti during the last semester of the undergraduate programme. Through 2020, I immersed myself in the book, Designs for the Pluriverse – Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds by Arturo Escobar. It’s an invaluable book. As an art &design school educator, a designer’s role in the current and future is crucial. We need to create many ‘new world makers’ to bring about a change in the world. This is now my focus when I teach. I Urge students/aspiring practitioners/designers to move away from just making things, from designers for consumerism and to create new worlds.
I looked forward to this class which followed the ‘Interim’ semester, where I mentored a group of 28 students who produced a beautiful personal photo documentary on Yelahanka. We made images, curated, and made a show for five intense weeks.
The class involved reading, thinking, research, discussions, and speculative design. Yes, I teach many more subjects, not just photography. It turned out that the students, too, were looking forward to the class. Students interacted with Vishwanath Srikantaiah about his Million Wells for Bangalore Project and Udaya Kumar P L of Inscription Stone Projects at Mythic Society to appreciate the need for a designer to delve into the written history of the context that they are working in. A day-long workshop at Environment Support Group (ESG) to understand the complexity of bringing about change. Systems thinker and futurist Sudhir Desai facilitated a workshop over zoom on how complex and layered the issues we face are. These interactions gave the learners several new perspectives.
The four weeks in this class were delightful; discussions in class were invigorating. Few experiences are better than facilitating immersive learning experiences because teaching is not one way, and the teacher learns as well. Interacting with young minds keeps me young.
Students developed interesting speculative design ideas from better education, systems to exercise free will to better public toilet systems to Alternative Socio-Economic Systems in the Global South. None of them was finished projects; however, it was a great start to a new path.
It was beautiful to get a mail from one of the students that said, “I had an absolutely delightful class with you this last cycle, and it inspired me to look beyond the obvious..”