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Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan

Prof. Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan

Dean

E-mail: suchitra@aud.ac.in

Dean , School of Design

Qualification

  • 1987: Diploma in Visual Communication, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

Scroll of Honour for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement

Diploma thesis: Gandhi’s Way – A Study of Communication as if People Mattered

  • 2012: PhD, CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Doctoral thesis: Genesis of Design Education in India – The Warp and Weft of Global-Local Contexts

Seminar / Conferences

Design and the Postcolonial State in India 
Conference entitled "Moving Away - Bauhaus Pedagogy" organized by Marion von Osten and Grant Watson in cooperation Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi. 2 December 2018

Design and the Postcolonial State in India
Conference entitled bauhaus imaginista: Designing Life/Moving Away : Bauhaus in Asia at China Design Museum, Hangzhou, China, 10 April, 2018

The Design Student Experience at the National Institute of Design
International Forum: When art becomes education, when education becomes art – the past and future of the curriculum of Bauhaus at German Consulate Shanghai, 11 April 2018 

Designing Modern India: Incubating Modernism 
Seminar bauhaus imaginista Moving Away : Bauhaus in Asia - From Bauhaus to Post-WWII Asian Design: Reception and Reflection, Goethe-Institut Peking, 14 April 2018 

Challenges of interpretation of exhibition Atoot Dor/Unbroken Thread: Banarasi Brocade Saris at Home and in the World 
Panel titled ‘Re-Presenting Histories: New Narratives from Museum Collections’, at the conference Old Routes/ New Journeys to be held in collaboration with  Max  Mueller  Bhavan/ Goethe Institut, New Delhi supported by the Tata Trusts, March 2018.

Cultures of the City: AUD Neighbourhood Museums in Delhi 
Presented at International Winter School at The Innovation School, The Glasgow School of Art, Highlands and Islands Campus, Forres, Scotland on the theme "Alternative values/new economies", January 2018.

Making it Concrete: Imagining and realizing a ‘standard’ of ‘living’ in India after Independence 
Presented at Modern Living in Asia conference, Brighton. Via Skype, April 2017

Pedagogy for Social Design Practice at the School of Design, AUD 
Presented at the International Winter School at The Innovation School, The Glasgow School of Art, Highlands and Islands Campus, Forres, Scotland, January 2017.

Three reasons why it is time to rethink design pedagogy in India
Presented at seminar  entitled " Inside Future - Future Inside : Practice, Pedagogy and Perception of Interior Design" at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, December 2015

Imagining the New Republic: Design and the Search for a Standard of Living for Indians 
Presented at conference entitled Political Imaginaries: Rethinking India’s Twentieth Century, January 2014 organised by American Institute of Indian Studies, New Delhi.

Designing Modern India: Gandhi as Design Activist
Presented at Design History Society annual conference Design Activism and Social Change, Barcelona, September 2011

Teaching the History of Design
Presented at Design: Ahmedabad-London, a collaborative design history conference between NID-RCA-V&A, Ahmedabad, March 2011

The Tangled Web of Religious Caste, Community and Gender Identities: Partition and Gujarat 
Presented at Religion in the making of a Region: Perspectives from Gujarat, Conference at Wolfson College, Oxford, July 2010

The Place of Drawing in Design Education
Presented at in 2010 at CEPHAD 2010 – The Borderland between Philosophy and Design Research organized by The Danish Design School, Copenhagen 

Beyond Majority-Minority Dichotomy: Impact of the Events of 2002 on the Education of Girls in Ahmedabad
Presented in 2004 at Annual Women’s Studies Conference at Goa

Refocussing Praxis: The Problem for Design Research
Presented in 2000 at an international conference on Design (plus) Research at Milan, Italy organised by Politecnico di Milano.

Protecting Rights of Children in State Care
Presented in 1998 at a seminar on Child Rights organised by UNICEF and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S. University, Baroda.

Organisation Of Workshops And Seminars

2014
Chaired talk by graphic designer Itu Chauduri entitled “An Uncertain Arc: Impressions of India's Design Century” at India International Centre, February 2014
Organised two workshops, one each in London (May) and Delhi (September), to explore cross-cultural learning on the theme of Design and Uncertainty with multi-disciplinary faculty teams from varied cultural geographies
Mentor at conference What’s Next: Future of Design Education organized by Pearl Academy, New Delhi in December 2014.

2013
Co-organiser with Tanishka Kachru of NID Ahmedabad and Academic convenor of the 36th Annual Conference of the Design History Society, London, entitled “Towards Global Histories of Design: Postcolonial Perspectives” hosted by the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India, 5-8 September 2013

2010
Co-organiser with Prof MP Ranjan of NID Ahmedabad, two Workshops LOOK Back – LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Design Education in India (Bangalore, March 2010) and HfG Ulm and Basic Design for India (Kolkata, September 2010) Co-organiser of an art symposium entitled “Contemporary Art in India: Spatial Trajectories” with the participation of artists, curators and photographers from Delhi, Mumbai and Baroda, CEPT University, October 2010.

Public Exhibitions

2016
Co-curated (with Abeer Gupta) exhibition Atoot Dor/Unbroken Thread: Banarasi Brocade Saris at Home and in the World, on view at the National Museum, New Delhi from 25 February to 25 April 2016.

Invited Talks

Cities: Sustainably wicked; Wickedly sustainable
International Conference on “Design for Social Development” jointly organized by National Institute of Design (NID) and World Design Organization (WDO) at NID Gandhinagar, 15 February 2019.

Locks, Limes and Charms: Keeping Safe and Feeling Safe in a Modern World
Talk for students at PhD workshop at National institute of Design, 22 May 2018

The Dashavatara: Civilisational Design as a Response to Uncertainty
Talk for students at PhD workshop at National institute of Design, 23 May 2018

Two cultures of design
Forum, Lopez Design, New Delhi, January 2018.

The Global Gujarati: At Home in the World
Willingdon Club, Mumbai, February 2017

Design in the Real World: A View from India
Glasgow School of Art, 17 January 2017

Imagining the Indian Nation: The Design of Gandhi’s Dandi March and Nehru’s Republic Day Parade
South Asian University, New Delhi, November 2015

Women and the City (Ahmedabad): Gender, Vulnerability, Agency
School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, January 2014

The Myth of the Hare and Hounds: Making Sense of a Recurring City-Foundation Story
Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 2014.

India in the 1970s: A View through Postage Stamps
Haifa University, Haifa, November 2013

Dung: The epistemology of absence and presence
Royal College of Art, London, November 2013

"Lotas of our time": Modern Design in Independent India,
Royal College of Art, London, November 2013

Gandhi and Nehru as Designers: The Dandi March and Republic Day Parade (1930/1950)
King’s College, London, May 2013

Travelling objects, migrating ideas about design: India-London/New York-India (1851/1955)
School of Oriental and African Studies, April 2013

Drawing in Social Science Research
Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, June 2012

Designing Contemporary India: The Warp and Weft of Global Local Contexts
Ambedkar University, Delhi, April 2012

The Shaping of Modern Gujarat-Ahmedabad
IIT Gandhinagar, December 2011

The Shaping of Modern Ahmedabad
Faculty of Planning and Public Policy, CEPT University, December 2011

Past Experience

Professor:11.1 2013 to present, School of Design, Ambedkar University, Delhi

Associate Professor: 7.11.2012 to 10.1.2013, School of Design, Ambedkar University, Delhi

Associate Professor: 1.1.2010 to 27.10.2012, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Assistant Professor: 1.8 2008 to 31.12.2009, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, CEPT University, Ahmedabad

Visiting Faculty: 1991 to 2010, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad National Institute of Fashion Technology, Gandhinagar

Design Consultant: 1990 to 2008 & Programme Coordinator Setu: Centre for Social Knowledge and Action Ahmedabad

Professional Experience

Design Projects

  • 2011 Design and writing of booklets on multicultural traditions in poetry and textile arts
  • 2005-2009 Designing programmes for education of children of migrant communities in Gujarat
  • 2001-2005 Temporary shelters and Children’s Activity centres in Earthquake affected areas of Gujarat
  • 1999-2002 Creating a Children's Resource Centre for children with social disabilities, Design of booklets on the impact of liberalisation and globalization on Adivasi communities of India
  • 1998-2000 Design Training for women artisans of Kutch to empower them to produce their own communication materials
  • 1994-2001 Design of calendars to promote inter-religious harmony in Gujarat
  • 1996 Design of booklets on AIDS and New Economic Policy, Design of communication kit for Traditional Birth Assistants, Design and execution of an exhibition on Ayurveda and Women’s Health, Design of exhibition to mark Golden Jubilee of Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad
  • 1994-96 Design and illustration of UN documents on Human Rights in Gujarati
  • 1991 Print materials on Traditional Medicine and Maternal and Child Health, Developing of adult literacy programme and teaching materials for women artisans of Kutch
  • 1990 Design and execution of an exhibition and support materials highlighting the social and economic problems faced by women artisans of Kutch
  • 1989-90 Exhibition and support materials on Child-centred Health Education, Communication materials on Water and Sanitation for M.P., Rajasthan and U.P., Communication materials on women’s health, Design of book on adolescent girls.

My Zone / Area of Expertise

Teaching And Research Interests

Design problem analysis, design methods, visual communication, orality and visual literacy,

Design history, sociology and politics of design, design as activism

Design education and pedagogy, comparative cultural perspectives on design

Sponsored research projects

2017-19

Curatorial research for the exhibition Bauhaus Imaginista (Chapter- Moving Away: The Impact of the Bauhaus in Asia) to mark the centenary of the Bauhaus Design School (Staatliches Bauhaus – Weimar-Dessau-Berlin 1919-33) in 2019.

2016 Museum fellowship at National Museum, New Delhi

Sponsor: India Foundation for the Arts and National Museum, New Delhi held jointly with Abeer Gupta. The project was a year-long engagement with National Museum (Decorative Arts Department) to engage with 80 pieces of brocade from the museum’s collection through research, curation and display. This project was visualized as a live link between the university, the museum and the public and opening of national resources through student research and public participation. The project concluded in an exhibition at the National Museum entitled Atoot Dor/Unbroken Thread: Banarasi Brocade Saris at Home and in the World, which was on view from 25 February to 25 April 2016. The exhibition was accompanied by an illustrated colour catalogue of object displayed in the show.

2014 British Council Knowledge Economy Partnership

Project Title: Evolving Best Practices for Postgraduate Teaching about Design, Culture and Society: Developing curriculum, pedagogy and teaching materials through collaborative, cross-cultural partnership

Online Module On Design

2017

Research and presentation of module on History of Design for online course “Understanding Design” developed by Industrial Design Centre at IIT Powai, Mumbai, for Open Design School on Swayam Platform of MHRD. November 2017. Grant sanctioned: GBP 8460 – INR 8.46 lakhs This year-long collaboration explored the theme Design and Uncertainty in the Global Present in two workshops, one in May 2014 in London and the other in September 2014 in Delhi. The two workshops examined the ways in which design is drawn into responding, re-imagining and re-shaping the social landscape amid the unfolding challenges posed by an increasingly inter-connected globalised world. Participants included a team of 6 faculty members (three from each institution) and 13 students from RCA and 20 from AUD.

Faculty Development Programmes

2016

articipated in Twenty-Seventh Appreciation Course on Parliamentary Processes and Procedures for Professors/Associate Professors/Assistant Professors of Universities/Colleges organized by the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training during 2 - 6 May 2016.

Awards

  • 2017 Member of Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Design History, London: Oxford University Press
  • 2015 IFA-National Museum Fellowship
  • (jointly held with Abeer Gupta Feb 2015 to Jan 2016)
  • 2014 British Council Knowledge Economy Partnership Grant for postgraduate teaching collaboration with Royal College of Art (Jan-Dec 2014)
  • 2013 Leverhulme Trust Post-Doctoral Visiting Fellowship at Royal College of Art, London (Feb-Dec 2013)
  • 2011 Member of Core 77 Design Awards – Category: Design for Social Impact
  • 2006 Shortlisted for Crossword Book Award in English Non-Fiction category
  • The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond, New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2005.
  • 2000 Awarded Ashoka Fellowship (Ashoka Innovators for the Public, USA)
  • 1987 Awarded Scroll of Honour for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement,
  • National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

Publications

Research (*indicates publication)

  • 2003-2005 Research on gender context of girls in municipal schools in Ahmedabad*
  • 1997-2001 Study of impact of liberalisation and globalisation on Adivasi communities in India*
  • 1996-2005 Study of Partition experiences of Sindhis and Gujaratis*
  • 1996-97 Social Ecology of Kutch
  • 1994-96 Communicating United Nations Human Rights documents through multicultural approaches*
  • 1990-1992 Study of Gandhi's communication strategy for mass mobilisation during Salt Satyagraha*
  • 1987-1988 Study of visual communication systems developed and used by non-literate people

 

 

 

BOOKS

  • Encyclopaedia of Asian Design Vol. 4: Transnational and Global Issues in Asian Design Christine Guth (Volume editor), Hilary French and Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan (Thematic editors), London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018
  • Atoot Dor/Unbroken Thread: Banarasi Brocade Saris at Home and in the World,Abeer Gupta, Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan, Anamika Pathak (Eds), New Delhi: National Museum, 2016.
  • Ahmedabad 1411-2011: Portraits of a City (Guest editor with Sharmila Sagara), Bombay: MARG Publications, 2011
  • Ahmedabad: From Royal City to Megacity (with Achyut Yagnik) New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2011
  • The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond (with Achyut Yagnik) New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2005
  • Shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in English Non-fiction category

Forthcoming

  • Editor, Workshop Proceedings: LOOK Back – LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Design Education in India and HfG Ulm and Basic Design for India (2014)
  • Editor, The Encyclopaedia of Asian Design: South Asia, Volume on India, Section 2 – 19th century India, Berg Publications, London (2015)

CHAPTERS IN EDITED BOOKS

  • Concrete Designs for Living proposed by Marg magazine: The Materiality and Political Economy of Modernism in India in the early years after independence, Forthcoming Chapter in Modern Living in Asia 1945-1990 (Megha Rajguru and Yunnah Lee eds.), London: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Being and Becoming an Architect Forthcoming Chapter in Learning Architecture (Kulbhushan Jain ed.) Ahmedabad: Aadi Centre, 2019
  • Who Teaches? Who Learns? Forthcoming Chapter in A Song Called Teaching: Ebbs and Flows of Experiential and Empathetic Pedagogies Delhi: Aakar Books, 2019.

Published

  • Designing Life in India Chapter in Bauhaus Imaginista (Marion von Osten and Grant Watson eds.), London: Thames and Hudson, 2019
  • Epilogue Chapter in Conserving Architecture (Kulbhushan Jain ed.) Ahmedabad: Aadi Centre, 2017
  • The Life, and Many Lives, of the Banaras Brocade Sari (with Abeer Gupta) Chapter in Atoot Dor/Unbroken Thread: Banarasi Brocade Saris at Home and in the World, (Abeer Gupta, Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan, Anamika Pathak (Eds), New Delhi: National Museum. 2016.
  • Imagining the Indian Nation: The Design of Gandhi’s Dandi March and Nehru’s Republic Day Parade Chapter in Designing Worlds: National Design Histories in the Age of Globalization, (Grace Lees-Mafei and Kjetel Fallan eds.), New York: Berghahn Books, 2016.
  • Paper, Chopdas, Kites: Crafting Hindu Muslim Symbiosis Chapter in Ahmedabad 600: Portraits of a City, (Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan and Sharmila Sagara eds.) Mumbai: MARG Publications, 2011

Encyclopaedia Entries

  • Craft and Design in the Hindu Way of Life Article in Encyclopaedia of Asian Design Vol. 4: Transnational and Global Issues in Asian Design, Christine Guth (Volume editor), Hilary French and Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan (Thematic editors), London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018
  • Design in India Entry in The Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design Vol. 2 (Clive Edwards ed.), London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.
  • National Institute of Design Entry in The Bloomsbury Encyclopaedia of Design Vol. 2 (Clive Edwards ed.), London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

  • Moving away from Bauhaus and Ulm: The development of an environmental focus in the Foundation Programme at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad Bauhaus Imaginista online journal 2019. Available online: http://www.bauhaus-imaginista.org/articles/4197/moving-away-from-bauhaus-and-ulm0bbf55ceffc3073699d40c945ada9faf=ab1585fb6d5539db94de349af8acceb3
  • The Myth of the Hare and Hounds: Making Sense of a Recurring City-Foundation Story Occasional Papers Series, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 2014.
  • Design and activism: A view from India Design and Culture, Vol 5 No 2, Bloomsbury, London. 2013.
  • Opportunity Costs of a Leader Outlook, New Delhi, 10 December 2012
  • The Search for Culturally Relevant Roots: Towards Writing a History of Design in India Take On Art (Special Issue on Design), January 2012
  • Partition and Gujarat: The Tangled Web of Religious Caste, Community and Gender Identities
  • Religion in the making of a Region: Perspectives from Gujarat, Special issue of South Asia, Nikita Sud and Harald Tambs-Lyche (eds.), Routledge (November 2011)
  • Sisters Under the Skin: Events of 2002 and Girls’ Education in Ahmedabad Economic and Political Weekly, April 29, 2006
  • Gujarat’s Balance Sheet Seminar, January, 2005
  • Whither Gujarat: Violence and After (with Achyut Yagnik)
  • Economic and Political Weekly, March 16, 2002
  • Dandi March as Communication Strategy Economic and Political Weekly, April 8, 1995
  • In and Out of Jail Mainstream, October 1, 1994

Articles In Conference Proceedings

  • Pedagogy for Social Design Practice: The Challenge of Designing Design Assignments
  • In M. Saleh Uddin, Farah Mahbub & Muhammad Ali Khan (Eds.). Proceedings from Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture: Design Evolution (Education and Practice). Karachi: Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. 2017
     
  • Refocussing Praxis: The Problem for Design Research In proceedings of the international conference on Design (plus) Research at Milan, Italy organised by Politecnico di Milano.Available online: http://www.dplusr.polimi.it/ita/01/dpr00/edu.htm
     

Pre-publication review of journal manuscripts

  • 2017 Diplomacy at the Design School: India’s National Institute of Design and the Ford Foundation Review of essay for Design and Culture, Journal of the Design Studies Forum, Taylor and Francis.
  • 2016 Crafting Community: George Nakashima and Modern Design in India Review of essay for the Journal of Design History, London: Oxford University Press Architecture should be proactive to celebrate life Review of essay for the Journal of Design History, London: Oxford University Press
  • 2015 The Myth, the prop, the dance- connecting the tradition through body Review of essay for Society and Culture in South Asia, journal co-published by New Delhi: South Asian University and Sage India 
    Consuming the Orient in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain: Persian Carpets and the South Kensington Museum Review of essay for the Journal of Design History, London: Oxford University Press
  • 2013 Unremembered Memories: Post-Partition Narratives and Intra-Caste Conflict among the Kumars of Kolkata Review of essay for South Asia, published by Monash University, Australia