Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What is Design? : A lecture for school teachers

What is Design? : A lecture for school teachers

Design for India: Prof M P Ranjan

Image 01: Thumbnails of slides used for the “What is Design?” lecture dealing with Dimensions, Processes and Applications.

“What is Design?”, will be a perennial topic since design is and will always be a moving target whenever we attempt a definition since it is always rooted in the present time and can only be understood and appreciated in the context of the “particular” place or location and a “general” description will need to take that into account as well. Each age will need to take stock of the definition and as we evolve so will design and hopefully our design ability. Design is one of our basic abilities, which we have used in more and more sophisticated ways as we evolved and enhanced our human sensibilities and capabilities. In the period of slow transformation through craft based processes of trial and error many of these sensibilities were refined and we could fall back on traditions to find our way forward.

Image 02: Thumbnails of the second part of the lecture dealing with design concepts and models that lead to our current definition of design as a basic human activity and this calls for a greater focus for the subject in our school education in the days ahead.

However in the post-industrial era reach and impact of our senses and abilities have been considerably enhanced by our multitude of tools and our externalized knowledge processes that we now have the capability of changing and impacting nature in dramatic ways, many of them undesirable, and our economic and social frameworks lag behind by a huge magnitude, that we are on the brink of failure as a species. Design becomes all the more important in this scenario and we will need to temper our dependence on science and art which has helped us evolve very rapidly over the past 600 years since the Renaissance if we are to face the crisis that this dependence is to be addressed.


Code to embed podcast of lecture sent by Satya Murthy using MP3 file provided by me.

I had the occasion to speak to a group of school teachers as part of our programmes at NID and I prepared a lecture that was delivered to this group at NID the other day. The recording of the lecture is available here as a podcast at the link above which is of one and a half hour duration and the 2.5 MB pdf file of the slides used lecture can be downloaded from here at the links below along with an MP3 file of the lecture which too is available for download as a 45 MB file

Link to download the Podcast with images

What is Design? : Dimensions, Processes and Applications (pdf file 2.3 mb download)
What is Design? : Dimensions, Processes and Applications (MP3 voice file 43.8 mb download)
Design for India: Prof M P Ranjan

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