Tuesday, August 17, 2010

HfG Ulm and Basic Design: Conference at Kolkata: 28 September 2010

LOOK Back – LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Basic Design for India

Prof. M P Ranjan
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Conference Title:

LOOK Back – LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Basic Design for India

Last date for registration: September 20, 2010 (Participation limited to 100 participants only - please register early) Conference on 28 September 2010 at Kolkata
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Venue & Schedule:

Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR)
9A, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata - 700 071
behind Tata Centre , Chowringhee Road

28 September, 2010 : Full-day Conference-cum-Workshop on Basic Design Education: 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.


National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad – in collaboration with
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata
HfG-Archive Ulm & IfA (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany) Stuttgart
Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR)


After the successful one day event at Bengaluru in March 2010, this is the second in the series of conferences based on the spirit of the HfG Ulm pedagogy for design education and its impact on India. The HfG Ulm, which started as a continuation of the Bauhaus experiments in design education under one of its former students – Max Bill, soon veered from a foundation in art to a science and society focus under the leadership of Tomas Maldonado. The HfG Ulm faculty, all eminent teachers and thought leaders in their field, experimented with design education like never before and documented the results of teaching in a series of 21 journals published between 1958 and 1968. These ten years of intense research and theory building and sharing has had a lasting impact on the world of design education and the availability of these journals being one of the major factors for this durable influence. Selected papers from these volumes located in the NID Library were reproduced for a conference on design education in 1989 by Prof Kirti Trivedi at Industrial Design Centre, IIT, Powai and these have been a further source of inspiration for Indian design teachers over the years. These journals are now available as part of the conference kit in a DVD compilation that can inform and inspire design teachers interested in the subject.

The HfG Ulm impacted the world of design through its direct professional action with industry, memorably with Braun and its successful range of products that hit the market in 1955 and continued with other product successes that can be called the Ulm style of meticulous detailing and clean functional form. Hans Gugelot was among the lead drivers along this track. Other teachers such as Otl Aicher influenced major corporations such as Herman Miller and Lufthansa with significant contributions in graphic design. The closing down of the HfG Ulm in 1968 saw the scattering of its faculty and students across the world, each steeped in the Ulm ideology of public good with design theory and action, resulting in significant action on the ground in the form of new design education in Latin America by Gui Bonsiepe, in India by Sudhakar Nadkarni and H Kumar Vyas and in Japan by Kohei Suguira and Sutaro Mukai, besides the numerous other influences in Europe and the USA that continue to this day.

The Ulmer Museum/HfG-Archiv has brought together the various threads of the Ulm school in a unique exhibition called ulm: method and design / ulm: school of design 1953-1968 with archival objects, classroom assignments and multimedia exhibits never before seen in India. The exhibition is presented in India by the Goethe-Institut/Max Mueller Bhavan, in collaboration with IfA (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany) Stuttgart and offers us the opportunity to both “LOOK Back - LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Basic Design Education for India”, a title that aptly sums up the objective behind the intensive one-day conference/workshop on September 28, 2010 at Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR), as well as to draw inspiration from the path-breaking work at Ulm and reflect on the path forward here in India. An impressive catalogue published by Hatje Cantz (ISBN 3-7757-9142-6) provides rich background research content on the school and the exhibition. Basic Design is the term used by HfG Ulm to describe the preparatory courses and abstract assignments developed to foster core capabilities in design action and design thinking while nurturing the sensibilities and abilities of a designer.


Design teachers and teachers from other institutes interested in design pedagogy, including design research, design management and technology & design professionals interested in design education.

Registration Fee:

Individual designers and faculty : Rs. 2000/= each
Team of 5 faculty per school from India : Rs 5000/= per team

Exhibition Venue: Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR)- opens September 25, 2010

Conference Venue: Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR)– September 28, 2010
Abanindranath Tagore Gallery and Conference rooms, 9A, Ho Chi Minh Sarani, Kolkata - 700 071, West Bengal, India.

Organising Institutions

National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad – Prof. Pradyumna Vyas, Director
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata – Dr. Reimar Volker, Director
HfG-Archive Ulm & IfA (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Germany) Stuttgart
Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR)

Keynote Speakers:

Daniela Baumann, Research scholar, HfG-Archive Ulm, Germany
Prof. Kirti Trivedi, Industrial Design Centre, IIT Powai

Prof Sudhakar Nadkarni, Dean, Business Design, Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research, Mumbai

Conference Chair:

Prof M P Ranjan, NID, Ahmedabad


Prof Suchitra Sheth, CEPT University, Ahmedabad


Registration fees are payable by Demand Draft drawn in favour of “National Institute of Design” payable at Ahmedabad.
Registration Form duly filled with Demand Draft attached shall be delivered to National Institute of Design, Paldi, Ahmedabad 380 007

Last date for registration: September 20, 2010
(Participation limited to 100 participants only - please register early)

Address for communication and registration

1st contact: National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad
Avinash Bhandari
Conference Coordinator
Outreach Programmes
National Institute of Design,
Paldi, Ahmedabad 380007
Tel: (off) 91 79 26623692
Fax: 91 79 26621167 / 26605240
conference email: outreach@nid.edu

2nd contact: Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, Kolkata
Sharmistha Sarker
Programme Officer
033 2486 6398
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan
8, Ballygunge Circular Road
(Pramathesh Barua Sarani)
Kolkata - 700 019 India
Tel: +91-33-2486 6398
Fax: +91-33-2486 5188
email: sarker@kolkata.goethe.org

Detailed Programme:

The one-day conference at Kolkata follows the opening of the touring exhibition ulm: method and design/ulm: school of design 1953-1968 September 28, 2010. Participants at the conference are encouraged to visit to exhibition before the event which is adjacent to the venue.

September 25, 2010 onwards (Exhibition venue: Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR), Kolkata)

Exhibition: (optional for participants) Inauguration of the exhibition at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR), Kolkata organised by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata.

September 28, 2010 (Conference venue: Rabindranath Tagore Centre, Kolkata (ICCR), Kolkata)

LOOK Back & LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Basic Design Education for India

9.30 am to 10.00 am Registration and informal get together. Seating for the Plenary Sessions in Abanindranath Tagore Gallery and the Reflection Session in conference rooms. Seating plan to be mixed across design schools with seats and Break-Away groups assigned at the registration. This will facilitate the workshop sessions and encourage participation by all members.

Conference Session One: LOOK Back: Hfg Ulm and Basic Design for India

10.00 am to 10.30 am : Opening remarks by organizers – Introduction to Purpose and mission of the conference.

10.30 am to 11.00 am Keynote 1: Daniela Baumann, Research scholar, HfG-Archiv Ulm, Germany – Focus on the pedagogy of HfG Ulm and its spread of key messages to other centres over the past 50 years.

11.00 am to 11.30 am Keynote 2: Prof. Kirti Trivedi, Industrial Design Centre, IIT , Powai – The Pedagogy of Basic Design at HfG Ulm– its growth and development in Asia after Ulm.

11.30 am to 12.30 noon Panel Discussion 1: Moderated by Prof Suchitra Sheth, CEPT University: Multi Institutional experience of Basic Design and pedagogy propositions from experiences in design education. panel discussions by five invited speakers from Indian design schools to reflect on various threads of influences across design subjects. Session will map the contours of Basic Design and Foundation programmes at leading schools in India today.

12.30 pm to 1.30 pm Lunch Break (lunch served at venue)

Conference Session Two: LOOK Forward: Future of Basic Design Education

1.30 pm to 3.30 pm: Break Away Sessions – World Café Format
Group 1: Senses: Sensitising Perception
Group 2: Knowledge: Broad World View
Group 3: Ethics: Attitudes and Values
Group 4: Culture: Understanding Context and Field Contact
Group 5: Skills: Actions and Abilities – Competency and Confidence

Conference Session Three: LOOK Forward: Reflections on Design Education

3.40 pm to 5.30 pm Presentations by Break Away Groups. The lessons from the debates and the key take-aways are summarised from all groups by one representative from each group.
(10 minutes including discussions from the floor)

5.00 to 5.30 pm Reflective Keynote Panel, commentaries by eminent design teachers moderated by Prof M P Ranjan, NID with Prof Sudhakar Nadkarni and keynote speakers. Building a checklist of action points and sharing these with the forum. Towards a policy for action by Indian design education.

6.00 pm to 8.00 pm Guided tour of the HfG Ulm Exhibition (optional for participants)


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