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Industrial Arts and Design Practices


“A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.” - Buckminster Fuller


How do we set priorities in design? Do we design for people, for the market, for the environment or to express our creative selves? Today as we move to planet-centric design, the question is, how can we shape our practice such that whatever we create is inclusive and caring in nature for a larger, common good?  This is a tall ask but as creative practitioners who are trained to ‘make things better’ we often inadvertently do the opposite.  Apart from ourfocus on solving immediate local problems, we also need to consider the impact of our creations on the planet.

In the natural world, we see Form and Structure coexist in the most invisible and harmonious ways.  Everything is cyclic and regenerative if allowed to be. Is it possible for us, as the form and structure givers to both tangible as well as intangible man-made things, to produce cyclic, regenerative man-made ecosystems that can co-exist with nature?  Is it time we as conscious designers, bring in efficiency and care while using our limited resources and not just design for the sake of doing something ‘new’?   

Design is about connecting all the dots – how things are made, who makes them, how things are used, who uses them and what happens to these things when they are thrown away. Design is about imagining better futures while taking forward the best of our past. India has a rich history in craft and making and artisans were the first designers. Today we can learn from their frugal practices to design more sustainable products and systems.

The future of ‘how things are made’ is rapidly changing with new technologies and possibilities emerging every day. What does this mean for the designer of the future? There is in an increasing move towards engaging directly with materials, tools and emerging technologies like 3D printers is making this think-able and do-able, easier and simpler. Through the course we engage with making at different levels – to acquire skills, to express creative ideas, to have conversations with materials, to think critically and much more. We use making as a way of thinking in the design/art process.

The Industrial Arts and Design Practice course is based on the idea of “making” as a way of thinking. We believe that making is the connection between the head and the heart. Hands-on making leads to an enduring understanding of design and art processes, and allows us to learn with intuition and sensitivity.

As practitioners each of us can find our unique position in the maker space, be it amongst contemporary hand crafted artefacts or adding value to mass-produced objects of every day use. This course allows you to find out what kind of creative person you are and facilitates your individual development as an artist or designer.

Core Values

  • Open
  • Hands-on
  • Inclusive
  • Frugal
  • Playful
  • Caring

In Shanghai for the International Sustainable Summer School in 2019

Course Structure

The curriculum comprises of different ways of learning as follows:

  1. Foundation introduces students to basic principles and tools of Art, Design and Technology as methods, tools and processes
  2. Disciplinary Studios are learning spaces where students develop core disciplinary capabilities, while navigating a trans-disciplinary environment
  3. Workshops are hands on making and doing opportunities to develop core skills
  4. General Studies is a common and compulsory programme of study that integrates Humanities, Sciences, Development and Policy Studies and also offers Languages-English, Indian- Hindi and Kannada as well as Foreign (Spanish, French and German) 
  5. Interim is an introduction to practice in new and emerging areas of art and design
  6. Electives allows students to expand their skills, develop the interests as well as provide opportunities for travel exchange
  7. Internship/Apprenticeship is compulsory work experience done over the summer-break between the 6th and 7th semester
  8. Project involves the application, synthesis and demonstration of capabilities acquired, and is a qualifier to the thesis
  9. Thesis is culmination of the 4-year program, which allows for demonstration of an integration of values, positions, capabilities and practice.

Learning Approach

  • First hand learning through making and managing materials, processes and technologies enabling industriousness as a virtue
  • Harnessing expertise and rich making skills available extensively at all levels in the Indian context through Locative Making
  • Explore, play and innovate, making connections between the old, the present and the future to discover new potential
  • Research, combine and collaborate craft and technology. Acquiring and using the skills of both the craft industry as well as the technologies and processes of the future with empathy and sensitivity
  • Synthesizing and realizing concepts by making and validating from a stakeholder’s perspective through various hands on visualization and translation methods, managing complex systems, developing autonomy

Project: After the Storm, village in flood hit Assam

Capability Sets

Working with Material

  • Acquire a proficiency in working with specific materials and processes, as well as explore a wide range
  • Understand and use technologies from the traditional, contemporary to futuristic
  • Play and innovate with new materials and technologies to make new connections
  • Develop curiosity and respect for material, processes and people

Learning through Making

  • Be proficient in using the design process and creative thinking skills and tools- research methods, tools for analysis, ideating, prototyping, testing and validating
  • Be proficient in expression through drawing and prototyping
  • Explore and experiment in a hands-on manner with materials, processes and techniques in order to develop understanding appropriate and sustainable uses
  • Use Making as a conceptual thinking tool for envisioning and translating abstractions into tangible forms

Manage Complexity

  • Develop an ability to detail, plan and manage - materials and resources to arrive at a final finished outcome
  • Understand the Impact of one’s practice through different lens – Experimentation, Humanity, and Business leading to positioning of one’s practice in a larger framework
  • Develop an ability to create frameworks through Making and Reflective response with art, craft and design techniques, processes, and contemporary ways of perceiving art and design worlds.

Project: After the storm, design for people in the flood hit regions of Assam


The above capability sets equip and prepare the student for a wide range of opportunities with:

  • Creative Manufacturing Sectors – Engaging with artisans and craft units at a small and medium scale and become part of the growing global phenomenon of the Maker movement
  • New Product Envisioning and Design studios, R&D departments - Disseminating creative energies as a team player in small & large industries, and multi-national corporations
  • Grass root development organizations, NGOs & Social Enterprises – Bringing in a breath of fresh air and a new perspective to the conventional, through a blend of creative, technical and business acumen
  • Start-ups, small and medium enterprises – Propositioning as a contemporary craft practitioner, entrepreneur, design consultant
  • Emerging and Trans-disciplinary Domains – Merchandising and Strategic Product Planning in Retail, UI & UX in e-commerce for the transactions of the future

The Sari as a sustainable garment – experiments with textiles in the International Sustainability Summer School hosted by Srishti

Workshop: Crafting with Clay, Working with clay to develop new ideas in form


For more information please email Naganandini Dasgupta at

Disciplinary Intersections

The program is informed by the following learning disciplines:

Making Polyhedra to understand geometry and precision

Research and Collaboration

The students under this program will have the opportunity to work with the following centers and labs at Srishti.


View Eligibility for Admission, Fee Schedule & Other information for this Program >>