Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Design Way: Dr Harold Nelson at NID, Ahmedabad

The Design Way: Dr Harold Nelson at NID, Ahmedabad

Prof M P Ranjan’s archives

Image: Dr Harold Nelson at NID and the poster for the mini conference at NID.

Dr Harold Nelson visited NID at our invitation and spent a couple of days on campus. His visit to India was unfortunately truncated due to the change of schedule for the CII NID Design Summit in Pune which was cancelled in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack. However we managed to pre-pone his visit to NID and during his stay we were able to organize a mini conference titled “Designing Designers: The Nelson Way.”

Most of my students are familiar with the book written by Dr Harold Nelson with Eric Stolterman, “The Design Way”, which is an amazing articulation of the various dimensions of design as we now know it to be today. Design for Nelson is an intentional activity that generates value. Design has changed and in order to explore the various dimensions of this change we decided to explore these dimensions in a mini conference for which we invited a panel of our teachers and juxtaposed it with the theme lecture by Dr Nelson.

Image: Harold Nelson delivers the theme lecture and the panelists at the mini conference (L to R) Dr Nelson, Suchitra Sheth, M P Ranjan, Shashank Mehta and Chakradhar Saswade.

The mini conference was called:
Designing Designers: The Nelson Way
NID in conversation with Dr. Harold Nelson

"Our ultimate desire is to encourage and promote a design culture… A design tradition requires the enabling presence of a design culture, one that defines conceptual expanses and boundaries, and provides a context for setting particular limits on any design project. Such a design culture acts as a catalyst in the formation of social crucibles essential for sustaining the intensity of design action."

Panel Members:
Mr. Shashank Mehta, Mr. Chakradhar Saswade, Ms. Suchitra Seth, Prof. M. P. Ranjan

Image: Dr Harold Nelson with his models for Systems Assessment: from apposition and analysis, through critique and interventions leading to change through delibrate re-design, adding meaning and creating value.

One of the ways in which we are engaged in the development of a design culture in India is through our models for design education. One task of design education is the designing of designers themselves: building the character and competence for design. The other is the awareness, development and recognition of design competence in other streams of education and in society at large. Both of these are essential to the creation of an environment that can help us realise the potential of design action.

There are a variety of inputs and many possible approaches in each of these tasks. There are also perspectives that design education must take cognisance of: social development, sustainability and macro economics, among others. The panel discussed some of these issues, and their views on design education for a creative society set the tone for the Q & A session that followed.

Image: Dr Nelson with students at the NID’s Product Design studio.

This led up to the theme lecture by Dr Nelson after which we had lunch with a group of faculty colleagues at the NID Guest House. The post lunch session had Dr Nelson meeting the students in a huddle in the Product Design studio and a lively session went on late into the evening since the Nelsons, Harold and his daughter Autumn, were leaving for Delhi early the next morning.

Prof M P Ranjan’s archives

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