Design Histories of Modern and Contemporary India
A symposium series organized by Tapati Guha-Thakurta and Ushmita Sahu
February - March, 2022
Online on Zoom
This seminar series is an invitation to explore the ways in which a new aesthetic category of ‘design’ breaks free of the epistemologies of the colonial art establishment to emerge as an independent field of pedagogy, practice and creative livelihoods in twentieth century India. It hopes to lay out a chronology of design initiatives, design education and policies, and the making of the profession of designer, in different institutional sites, in areas ranging from printed texts to textiles, from architecture to animation, in post-Independence India.
A number of questions lie open for reflection. While practitioners have repeatedly highlighted the continuum between the domains of art, craft and design, how do the more established entities of ‘art’ and ‘craft’ extend or get morphed into new practices that take on the name of ‘design’? What enables the transitions between these related-but-separate creative circuits, in which ‘artists’ take on the vocation of ‘designers’? What are the various idioms of modernism in India’s design movements that draw as powerfully on contemporary international vocabularies as on the nation’s handicraft and folk-art traditions? In proceeding from the Nehruvian to the post-liberalization era, to what extent is this design history embedded in the patronage of state and industrial capital, in the mobilization of foreign expertise, and in the expansion of the manufacturing economy? How does this design history both feed into and define a new era of middle class tastes, life-styles and consumptions, alongside the expanding industry of publicity and advertising? Can we mark out a present conjuncture, in which histories of design are becoming a new focus of archiving, collecting and exhibiting?
Outreach Partners : NID (National Institute of Design Ahmedabad) + JBMRC (Jadunath Bhavan Museum & Research Centre; A Unit of the Centre for Studies in Social Science, Calcutta )
The List of speakers:
Prof. Ashoke Chatterjee, Pinaki De, Ushmita Sahu, Sarita Sundar, Rebecca Brown, Mortimer Chatterjee, Vishal Khandelwal, Nancy Adajania, R. Siva Kumar and Tapati Guha Thakurta
On Zoom and we will also be streaming live on Emami Art’s Facebook page
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