Design & People

Design & People identify how design can intervene to make a contribution to the ongoing efforts to improve the lives of people disadvantaged by war, disability, and political and environmental conditions. We unite and encourage graphic, industrial and architectural designers to use their experience and skills towards social and humanitarian projects. Mission: Design For People In Need.

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Project: An Institution Dedicated for Social & Political Art
CENTRE FOR SOCIAL & POLITICAL ART (CSPA)

Shri Jaspal Singh IPS, former Minister, Govt of Gujarat and former Mayor of Baroda inaugurated www.cspa.in, official website of 'Centre for Social & Political Art' (CSPA) on August 9, 2014. CSPA, is a collaborative project of Design & People and Sylviander House to promote collective involvement of every citizen to appreciate rights of all living beings. CSPA a catalyst, inspiring all vulnerable communities to strive against the existing repressive Social and Political order. (Photo: Sreekesh Nair)

WE proudly announce the formation of Centre for Social and Political Art' (CSPA), a collaborative project of Design & People and Sylviander Museum, Alappuzha, Kerala, India.

Founded by Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People, with generous support from Sylvie Bantle and Alexander Devasia, Founders of Sylviander Museum, CSPA acts as a platform for research, documentation and implementation of social and political art-design projects. The institution aims at creating a forum to develop new thinking and developing constructive and collaborative programmes through its network of creative professionals from across the globe. The institution is scheduled to start its activities from October 2014.

Centre for Social and Political Art' (CSPA) is a platform to promote collective involvement of every citizen to appreciate rights of all living beings. It enables the marginalised and victimised people to voice their grievances, build awareness and receive empowerment. The Centre rallies creative artists, thinkers and activists under its banner to work against all power structures. It upholds freedom of all arts and creativity. The Centre is a catalyst, inspiring all vulnerable communities to strive against the existing repressive social and political order.

CSPA Objectives:
1) To create a forum to develop new thinking and to bring creative thinkers, researchers and technocrats to a common platform for a social and political change.
2) To develop constructive programmes and implement campaigns to resist degradation and commercialisation of the art world.
3) To help and encourage artists and professionals to bring in fresh focus, perspectives and vision to the social and political arena of our contemporary times.
4) To develop and promote programmes and campaigns towards protecting ecological harmony.
5) To improve the living conditions and also to open space for the underprivileged, marginalised and victimised to voice their grievances and concerns.
6) To provide a platform for individuals and organisations to work in collaborative networks and shared space thus moving away from power structures, institutionalised art movements and authoritarian education systems.

A DESIGN & PEOPLE-SYLVIANDER MUSEUM COLLABORATIVE PROJECT

Campaign: Slap Deals.com (March 2014)
SNAPDEAL.COM: THE GREAT INDIAN E-ROBBERY

Pressure Group Design & People sues Snapdeal.com and launches 'Slap Deals.com' campaign to educate first-time online buyers. The group is also filing a Public-Interest Litigation (PIL) under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution demanding a ban on portals engaged in fraudulent practices in India.

DESIGN & People was recently approached by two young online buyers to explain how they were cheated of their hard-earned money by New Delhi-based Snapdeal.com. When we explained about how a business model which has a customer base of 20 million could make 'few errors with deliveries', we were asked to do a simple Google search for the words "Snapdeal Fraud". The results were astonishing and even shocking! Snapdeal.com invites millions of complaints and abuses by its own customers who were cheated by this 'award-winning' shopping portal. You may try this yourself to find out what Snapdeal.com does to its first-time customers in order to meet the sales target of US$1 billion by the end of 2015.

Online portals such as Snapdeal.com commit frauds in the most tactful ways — by teaming up with courier companies and resellers for 'strategic delay deliveries' and by manipulating records online. Though many online shopping portals may appear to be on an 'auto-pilot mode', it is well understood that selected employees with clear instructions from the top management are directly or indirectly involved in malpractices — taking advantage of the ignorance of online buyers, mostly first-time buyers. You may note that in March 2013, Directors and Chief Operations Officers of online shopping portals have been arrested in New Delhi for allegedly duping people by taking money from them for articles which were never delivered.

Snapdeal.com is the Great Indian E-robbery of our times! Act now to stop corporate crimes! Spread the word!

Slap Deals.com Campaign: Case Study & Petition

"Largest corporations are training the brightest Indian minds to be corrupt and dishonest, so that they can continue their legacy of unethical business practices that harm our people, environment and society. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is no license to anyone to indulge in corporate crimes."
Sethu Das, Co-founder, Design & People

A DESIGN & PEOPLE PUBLIC AWARENESS INITIATIVE

Design & People Green Initiatives (2014)
PROJECT: "PAPER IS PRETTIER"

PLASTIC, described as "a threat greater than an atom bomb" by the Supreme Court of India is everywhere. Plastic dominates our lives and poses a great threat to our fragile environment and all the inhabitants of planet earth. Unless there is a global ban on the use and manufacturing of plastic for temporary use, the next generation would certainly face risks beyond our imagination. This is bound to happen.

The most fatal menace the modern world face is the increasing pollution from plastic. The plastic items that we conveniently throw away after use will not degrade or decompose for at least 5000 years, all the while poisoning our soil, our water and our air. There are hundreds of initiatives organised all across India by individuals, organisations and institutions to bring an end to the plastic culture of our society. All such pure initiatives of the past were defeated simply because of the acts of our governments, decision-makers and designers who collaborate and work closely with plastic Industry; manufacturers of plastic; multi-national companies whose agenda is to dump toxic materials in developing nations and the educated section of the society which has no hesitation using or later dumping plastic in our backyards. Our cruelty on our environment is also extended to our oceans. The United Nations recently reported that 46,000 pieces of plastic are estimated to be afloat on every square mile of our oceans.

Design & People implements a strong 'No Plastic Policy' in all its projects and programmes. Our commitment is also our message on environment protection. We discourage the manufacture, use and sale of plastic and promote the use of products made of cloth, jute, paper or other bio-degradable materials. Design & People works closely with Paper Trail, a Kochi-based not-for-profit organisation which produces bags from used newspapers, an initiative that helps financially-backward women to make a living. We urge you to buy "Paper Is Prettier" bags from Design & People and replace plastic bags at your home and at work. Use them over and over again, and thus maximise the utilisation of the resources of Mother Earth.

Support "Paper is Prettier" Project.

A DESIGN & PEOPLE GREEN INITIATIVE

Paper is Prettier: Photos | 'Paperman' Initiative

March 2014, South Bangalore, India
CAMPAIGN: 'AADHAAR KA ANAADAR'

IN June 2009, Hon Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's Council appointed Dr Nandan Nilekani as the Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) with the rank and status of a Cabinet Minister — probably the only 'Cabinet Minister' who has not taken a formal oath abiding by the Constitution of India.

The key task of the UIDAI Chairman was to advise and implement the UID Scheme in India in the next five years. In less than two years in office, Nandan Nilekani became the centre of criticism — his own colleagues from Planning Commission and Home Ministry to ordinary citizens. Former Defence Minister Jashwant Singh even called Nilekani's scheme a "madcap scheme". The UID scheme which already spent Rs 3,500 cr and is expected to spend another Rs 100,000 cr for the final implementation of the scheme — all from poor taxpayer's money. Introduced as a proof of identity, the Aadhaar card was later projected as a card of 'benefits'. The result — denied benefits to millions of Indian citizens who walked the dusty roads and struggled several months to get hold of their 'benefit' card.

The UID Scheme is one of the biggest scams of the century — introduced and implemented by a public servant who's supposed to 'guide' the Hon Prime Minister and the nation. If implemented, India will be the only country in the world to have such a unique identification number which will ultimately challenge the civil and constitutional rights of Indian citizens. After September 11 attack on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in USA, there were attempts in all countries to tighten security in order to benefit Uncle Sam. The Unique Identification Number is nothing but an initiative to create a data-base for national security, and Aadhaar data-base would be eminently suited for that purpose. Apparently your Aadhaar card is linked with the National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) and the National Population Register (NPR). Since bio-metric based identification systems are rejected by the entire world, the Unique Identification Number launched in India can only be compared to 'People's Card Index' or Volkskartei, introduced by the murderous Nazi Germany in 1939 to control the German population and to punish the non-abiding Jews.

In February 2014 Dr Nandan Nilekani shocked the nation by deciding to resign as the Chairman of the ambitious UIDAI project much before completing his term to take up his 'next assignment' — contesting the Lok Sabha election from South Bangalore on a Congress ticket, a party he never joined! Soon after the launch of his political career from Bangalore, Nandan Nilekani declared that he and his wife have assets worth Rs 7,700 crore!

Design & People launches "Aadhaar ka Anaadar" campaign in South Bangalore, the constituency chosen by Nandan Nilekani to contest the Lok Sabha election.

Aadhaar ka Anaadar: Poster | Report

A DESIGN & PEOPLE PUBLIC AWARENESS INITIATIVE

November 7-December 22, 2013, IIT Bombay, India
DANDI SALT SATYAGRAHA MEMORIAL PROJECT

1) 80 Marcher' Statues Final Display: As part of the Dandi Memorial Project, a Prayer Meeting and the Public Preview of 80 Dandi Marchers' Sculpture installation was organised in the Lecture Theater Lawns, IIT Bombay on February 12, 2014. The Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial is a project of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It is advised by a high-level committee and is coordinated and implemented by IIT Bombay in association with an international design team. Design & People extended its support to IIT Bombay in Research and Coordination for the Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial Project. (Photo: IIT Bombay) 2) Prof Kirti Trivedi of Industrial Design Centre of IIT Bombay introduces the activities of Design & People during "Satyagrahas of Design & People" talk by Sethu Das, Co-Founder, Design & People organised during the second Dandi Marchers' Sculptures Workshop at IIT Bombay on December 16, 2013.

3) "Satyagrahas of Design & People" talk by Sethu Das, Co-Founder, Design & People during the second Dandi Marchers' Sculptures Workshop at IIT Bombay on December 16, 2013. 4) Bina Nayak, a Design & People Member presents Design & People works and campaigns during "Satyagrahas of Design & People" talk by Sethu Das, Co-Founder, Design & People organised during the second Dandi Marchers' Sculptures Workshop at IIT Bombay on December 16, 2013. (Photos: Prayag Mukundan)

IIT Bombay: It is probably for the first time in the history of contemporary art in India, hundreds of artists, supporters and volunteers from around the world are coming together to set up a monument of international importance — Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial Project at Dandi, Gujarat. And it is probably for the first time a memorial is to be dedicated to the courageous 'Salt Satyagrahis' who marched with Mahatma Gandhi to defy British imperialism. The Monument celebrates the historic March of 1930 that triggered a wider Civil Disobedience Movement, which in turn inspired leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr in the US and Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial is a project of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It is advised by a high-level committee and is coordinated and implemented by IIT Bombay in association with an international design team. Design & People extended its support to IIT Bombay in Research and Coordination for the Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial Project. The project to build the historic monument for the Satyagrahis was called the "most meaningful cultural monument of Gandhiji" by Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, Former Prime Minister of Tibetan Government in Exile was fully supported by Design & People from its very beginning. On December 16, 2013 during the second Dandi Marchers' Sculptures Workshop at IIT Bombay, Sethu Das, Co-Founder, Design & People and Bina Nayak, a member of the organisation gave a joint-presentation on "Satyagrahas of Design & People".

Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial Project: Website | Reports | Photos

August-September 2012, Jeju Island, South Korea
JEJU ISLAND ROAD SHOW PROJECT, SOUTH KOREA

Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das joins the 'Jeju Island Road Show Project' in South Korea organised by the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea from August-September 2012. (Photos: Lee Sangjae) Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das joins the 'Jeju Island Road Show Project' in South Korea organised by the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea from August-September 2012. (Photos: Lee Sangjae)

Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das joins the "Jeju Island Road Show Project" in South Korea organised by the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea from August-September 2012. (Photos: Lee Sangjae)

THE purpose of "Jeju Island Road Show Project" was to study the threats faced by the inhabitants of the controversial Jeju Island, South Korea and also to explore the possibilities of a civilian intervention. Jeju Island, a World Heritage Site which has a volcanic mountain in its centre is now under a big threat from the United States Naval Base under construction. One of the biggest in this region of South East Asia, the massive naval base is going to house more than twenty American and South Korean warships including submarines. The study tour and a peaceful creative resistance to the Naval Base construction site was organised by the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea from August-September 2012.

Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People joined the team members from South Korea, Spain and Germany as a Resource Person. The International Team included some of the known design curators and activists. The "Jeju Island Road Show Project" team also held talks with with Fr Moon Jeong-hyun, the Catholic priest turned activist who has become the most popular icon of the ongoing opposition of the Jeju villagers trying to block construction which will threaten their peaceful lives.

'The Artro': Report (KOREAN) | Photos

February 27-29, 2012, Budapest, Hungary
POLITICAL DESIGN WORKSHOP AT TRAFO, HUNGARY

Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das (Left) joins Sugár János, Keiko Sei, Prof Yvonne P Doderer and Eross Nikolett for a Political Design workshop at Trafo House of Contemporary Arts, Hungary on February 27, 2012. (Photo: Trafo) Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das (Left) joins Sugár János, Keiko Sei, Prof Yvonne P Doderer and Eross Nikolett for a Political Design workshop at Trafo House of Contemporary Arts, Hungary on February 27, 2012. (Photo: Trafo)

Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das (Left) joins Sugár János, Keiko Sei, Prof Yvonne P Doderer and Eross Nikolett for a Political Design workshop at Trafo House of Contemporary Arts, Hungary on February 27, 2012. (Photo: Trafo)

TRAFO House of Contemporary Arts, Hungary organised a Political Design workshop which according to the House was all about "the possibilities, resources and methods for the communication of political thinking, held by international designers and theoreticians." The four-day long lectures and workshop held at both Trafo and Labour in Budapest was aimed to gain the theoretical and practical knowledge which helps to form opinions supporting human rights and franchise, and, that promotes social responsibility and solidarity. The Political Design workshop in Hungary was held from February 27-29, 2012 and was supported by ERSTE Stiftung, the EU Culture Programme and the National Cultural Fund of Hungary. The lecturers include Prof Yvonne P Doderer (Architect, Urban Researcher, Professor for Cultural Studies at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf and Office of Trans-disciplinary Research and Cultural Production, Stuttgart, Germany); Eross Nikolett (Curator) & Sugár János (Contemporary Artist and Curator); Keiko Sei (Media Theorist and Curator) and Sethu Das (Co-founder of Design & People).

'Budapest Times': Report | Photos

January 16-28, 2012, NID, Ahmedabad, India
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CHANGE THROUGH DESIGN

Social and Political Change Through Design' session at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Resource Faculty: Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People. (Photo: Upmanyudu Mullapudi) Social and Political Design' Open Electives team of the National Institute of Design (NID) at SEWA Bank, Ahmedabad. (Photos: Benno Benno Zindel)

1) "Social and Political Change Through Design" session at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Resource Faculty: Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People. (Photo: Upmanyudu Mullapudi) 2) "Social and Political Design" Open Electives team of the National Institute of Design (NID) at SEWA Bank, Ahmedabad. (Photos: Benno Benno Zindel)

CAN design make a contribution to the ongoing efforts of improving the lives of those disadvantaged by war, disability, and political and environmental conditions? Can graphic images be powerful messages for social improvement and political change? The objective of "Social and Political Change Through Design" International Open Elective 2012 course at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad by the Resource Faculty Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People was an attempt to redefine the function and purpose of Design. The Open Electives are offered to students in the Graduate Diploma Programme in Design and the Post Graduate Diploma Programme of NID.

In Conversation with Dr Ela Bhatt: Interview | Photos

September 22, 2011, Basis Frankfurt, Germany
"DESIGN AS A SOCIO-POLITICAL FORM OF EXPRESSION"

Basis Production and Exhibition space at Frankfurt, Germany Katharina Jourdan of Design & People at Basis Frankfurt, Germany for the lecture series titled 'Design & People: Design as a Socio-Political Form of Expression' held on September 22, 2011.

1) Basis Production and Exhibition space at Frankfurt, Germany. 2) Katharina Jourdan of Design & People at Basis Frankfurt, Germany for the lecture series titled "Design & People: Design as a Socio-Political Form of Expression" held on September 22, 2011.

ON September 22, 2011 Katharina Jourdan of Design & People spoke at Basis Frankfurt, Germany as a part of its "Fall Programme" series of lectures, presentations, workshops and a two-day exhibition that focus thematically on various applied disciplines. The first of the lecture series titled "Design as a Socio-Political Form of Expression", Katherine Jourdan spoke about the Design & People network, which promotes independent, social, political and environmental projects and also the way in which they themselves get involved with core issues. She also spoke briefly about Open Design Philosophy of Design & People and projects such as Periyar Riverkeeper, Friends of Tibet Wellbeing, Buddha Smiles Education etc. Katherine Jourdan also introduced the re-launched, redesigned website of Periyar Riverkeeper — www.periyarriverkeeper.org, a project she was able to work and complete based on her own first-hand experiences during her recent one-month visit to India.

'The Slanted' Magazine: Report (GERMAN)

June 19, 2011, Kochi, Kerala, India
"SUSTAINABLE RICH LIFE FOR ALL"

Niranjan Sharma of Design & People introduces Prof Kirti K Trivedi of Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay during his lecture on 'Sustainable Life For All' organised by Design & People. (Photo: Prince Prabhakaran) Prof Kirti Trivedi of IIT Mumbai speaks on 'Sustainable Rich Life For All' in a face-to-face organised by Design & People on June 19, 2011 at Kochi. (Photo: Prince Prabhakaran)

1) Niranjan Sharma of Design & People introduces Prof Kirti K Trivedi of Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay during his lecture on 'Sustainable Life For All" organised by Design & People. 2) Prof Kirti Trivedi of IIT Mumbai speaks on "Sustainable Rich Life For All" in a face-to-face organised by Design & People on June 19, 2011 at Kochi. (Photos: Prince Prabhakaran)

"OBJECTS Rooted in Soil: Objects of Value" — It is a simple sounding but profound statement. We are surrounded by objects of desire which necessarily may not be rooted in soil and we are bombarded by advertisements driving us to chase and own them. According to Prof Trivedi, this is sharply in contradiction to the sustainability in its real meaning. The way of life as we have now is not sustainable, even for the rich. The simple statistics that against a population increase by 50% over the past 50 years, the corresponding resource utilisation has increased by 1000% means that we are eating up all that is there at such speed that there won't be much left for the coming generations.

There is a notion that the material goods consumption is a driver of economy. So it is necessary to encourage the consumption. The growth and development of a country is gauged by its goods consumption. The terms GDP, PPP (Purchase Power Parity), etc used to assess how developed a nation is, are not realistic ones. A major portion of the consumption of goods is by a miniscule section of society because wealth is concentrated in this small section and thus arriving at a per capita figure with this kind of data would be totally misleading, especially in a country like India where the per capita earning is said to be hardly Rs 20 per day. As Gandhiji taught and as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam commented, so long as the benefits of the so-called development do not reach the ordinary citizen living in the remotest villages, such development has no real worth.

Sustainable Life For All: Report

September 2010, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany
RE-DESIGNING THE EAST: POLITICAL DESIGN IN ASIA & EUROPE

Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das presents the Indian section of the 'Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe' symposium  at the Württembergischer Kunstverein at Stuttgart, Germany on September 25, 2010. The Indian section titled 'Swaraj in Design: Opportunities for Conscious Learning and Sharing' focuses on the work and philosophy of Design & People, an organisation he co-founded in 2003. (Photo: Sung Hyun Sohn, Activism of Graphic Imagination, South Korea) Sethu Das explains Visual Thesaurus developed by Design & People for the word 'Swaraj' during 'Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe' symposium  at the Württembergischer Kunstverein at Stuttgart, Germany. (Photo: Sung Hyun Sohn, Activism of Graphic Imagination, South Korea)

1) Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das presents the Indian section of the 'Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe' symposium at the Württembergischer Kunstverein at Stuttgart, Germany on September 25, 2010. The Indian section titled 'Swaraj in Design: Opportunities for Conscious Learning and Sharing' focuses on the work and philosophy of Design & People, an organisation he co-founded in 2003. 2) Sethu Das explains Visual Thesaurus developed by Design & People for the word 'Swaraj' during 'Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe' symposium at the Württembergischer Kunstverein at Stuttgart, Germany. (Photos: Sung Hyun Sohn, Activism of Graphic Imagination, South Korea)

'RE-DESIGNING the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe' symposium/exhibition made a grand beginning at the Württembergischer Kunstverein of Stuttgart, Germany. Chris Hans and Iris Dressler, Directors of the institute formally opened the event by presenting the artists, designers and curators to a colourful gathering on September 25, 2010. Conceptualised by Keiko Sei, 'Re-designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe' has Maks Bochenek (Poland), Hans D Christ and Iris Dressler (Germany), Sethu Das (India), Nikolett Eross (Hungary), Tomas Pospiszyl (Czechoslovakia), Keiko Sei (Japan/Thailand) and Nathalie Boseul Shin (South Korea) as curators for various sections. Württembergischer Kunstverein is highlighting critical and resistive design practices in Europe and Asia from the 80s to the present with particular focus on the role of both design and designers in the context of sweeping social, political, economic, and cultural upheaval.

The symposium explores the work of Polish designer Jerzy Janiszewski who created the historic logo for the Solidarity Movement of Poland; Czech designer Joska Skalník who was actively involved in the so-called 'Velvet Revolution' and now faced with the accusation of being an informant to Czechoslovakia's secret intelligence; Thai designer Pracha Suveeranont who developed the 2007 boycott campaign and the work; activist projects by the design group Activism of Graphic Imagination (AGI) by Noh Suntag, South Korea; Laboratory of Imitation of Hungary; and the work and activism of the pressure group Design & People, concluded on January 9, 2011 attracting more than 6,000 people from all walks of life. The event is organised by WKS in co-operation with Trafó Gallery, Budapest; Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk and Total Museum, Seoul with financial support from European Commission.

Re-Designing the East: Report | Catalogue | Photos

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Tel: +91.9995181777, +91.9847044248 Fax: +91.11.47615142 Email: support@designandpeople.org