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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Design & People
IN a world where people continuously cry for their rights and where diverse means are employed to save "their lost humanity," creativity manifests as energy to make the world better. This creative manifestation of energy has been utilised enormously by the "forgotten people" at different times in history to resist their horrific environments through art, music, dance, theater, and writing. Today, at a time when regimes emerge by crushing "others" to establish themselves as supreme powers, we at Design & People empathise with all those who struggle to safeguard humanity and their natural environment. The twentieth century, through its diverse conflicts, has taught mankind how structures in the social environment can become repressive and destroy the innocence in social "productions" and "relationships." Discrimination has created factions among people, with some communities and groups being tagged as marginalised, weak, underprivileged, and minority. Resistance is unavoidable in such social conditions.
Creative individuals have used their talent as a tool of resistance in the face of oppression since the dawn of humanity. The process continues on and will never end since man is a 'thinking' being. Design & People occupy this area of 'resistance with creativity' opening up a vast space for free dialogue that is needed globally in order to have broader perspectives on people's issues in the present context. Humanity grapples with diverse issues related to environment, gender, ethnicity, religion, communalism, linguistics, culture, politics, education, society, sex, racism, and many more. It is to voice all these issues that this space is opened. Creativity can provide space for people to think, engage in dialogue, and act. Creativity inspires people to better their lives. We believe that through art, literature, music, and performance, people can gain a better understanding of the intricacies related to different issues they face. And therefore Design & People encourages people around the world to communicate, interact, and let free the flow of information from one part of the world to other parts, creating solidarity among oppressed people. It should be mentioned here that the "Creative Resistance" promoted through Design & People's cyberplatform is going beyond modernity to find opportunities to voice against all oppression visible in the world.
Presently, the free flow of information is the need of the hour, where severe constrictions are imposed by autocracies on citizens who are keen to know, learn, and question those in political power. Ample evidence is available on how diverse states continuously engage in suppressing dissenting voices. Hence, creative resistance has come to the forefront, enabling people to think alternatively and express themselves in different platforms instead of silently fading away into oblivion. Our mission is to empower people all over the world to "design" their thinking and to grab the opportunity given to them through this space to voice their dissent and to live in solidarity with all those who are vulnerable. This space encourages and fosters sensitivity toward others, as we are all connected and no man is an island. Therefore, Design & People wipes out nonexistence and insensitivity, thus empowering us to speak to the whole world and to show them the issues we face and our perceptions of the fundamental realities of our nations.
"You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action.
Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty."
(Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verse 47)
Reports & Interviews
MEDIA ON DESIGN & PEOPLE
- 'Dandi Memorial Project' (2013-2014) READ
- 'Design for the Other 90%' (Construction Week Online | May 2010) READ
- 'Designers With A Cause' (Architect & Interiors India | September 2009) READ
- 'Designs for a Better World' (items | May 2006) READ
- 'The Visual Metaphor Of Dissent' (Outlook | January 2005) READ
- 'Design Is Not Enough' (January 2005) READ
- 'Save Periyar Mural Campaign' (December 2004) READ
- 'Introducing Cobworks with Elke Cole' (December 2004) READ
- 'Story of Two Liberations' (November 2004) READ
- 'International Protest Day' (March 2004) READ
- 'Save Periyar Rally' (September 2003) READ
- 'Portriat of a Corporate Crime' (August 2003) READ
- 'Design & People: A Journey Begins' (August 2003) READ
Study, Distribute, Share, Transform & Develop
DESIGN & PEOPLE POSTERS
SINCE 2003, Design & People has created hundreds of posters on various issues and topics from Free Tibet Movement to Free Software Movement. And these posters are effectively used by individuals, organisations, and institutions for their campaigns and movements in India and across the globe. Design & People posters are beyond 'creative expressions' of individual designers involved, but their strong opinions and viewpoints on political and social issues that are relevant in our contemporary times. These posters continue to remain one of the most effective and powerful tools for social and political change.
Design & People grants every user the right to study, distribute, share, transform and also to develop artworks further for academic and non-commercial purpose. We advise users who create subsequent work based on the original artwork make no attempt to remove it from the Public Domain. By choosing to contribute to the evolution of this work of art, the user agrees to give others the very same rights.
August 9, 2003
DESIGN & PEOPLE: A JOURNEY BEGINS
KOCHI, Kerala: Design & People launched its own brand of 'Design Activism' through 'Portrait of A Corporate Crime', an exhibition of 58 original photographs on the Bhopal gas tragedy by Padmashri Raghu Rai. The eminent filmmaker, Shri Adoor Gopalakrishnan, who has continuously used his films to hold a mirror to the society, launched Design & People activities on August 9, 2003, at the Kerala Lalitha Kala Academy Gallery, Kochi. In a bold departure from typical ceremony protocol, a lamp was lit in memory of those who died in the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, and also as a mark of protest against the collusion between a corrupt government and a corporate giant responsible for the tragedy. Delivering the inaugural address, Shri Adoor Gopalakrishnan remarked that it has become a crime to take birth in underdeveloped countries. "The multinationals attach little value to the lives of those who inhabit in the third world. Living in a third world is only a 'claim' and in reality, we are heading towards a fourth world." Shri Thomas Jacob (Chairman, Press Academy and Associate Editor, Malayala Manorama), Smt Leela Menon (Journalist), Shri KL Mohana Varma (Novelist), Shri Ganesh Nochur (Greenpeace), Sethu Das and Suku Dass (Co-founders, Design & People) also spoke on the event.
Project: Conference For An Independent Tibet (2015)
CONFERENCE FOR AN INDEPENDENT TIBET IDENTITY
EVER since the Tibetan National Uprising that swept across the Tibetan plateau and shook China at its base in the year of Beijing 2008 Olympics, time has changed for Tibet forever. Tibetans inside Tibet are today awakened, united and ready for any sacrifice; the 132 cases of supreme sacrifice by self-immolation that followed the violent crackdown by Chinese security forces in Tibet.
Since the Tibetan Uprising we have seen signs of protest in two other Chinese occupied countries: Southern Mongolia and East Turkestan. And this year world witnessed the awe-inspiring student’s movement in Hong Kong demanding Democracy and freedom for the island city. Though it is only an early sign in Taiwan, the political party that advocated merging with China is losing confidence of the people. If the opposition, the Democratic Progressive Party wins the 2016 general elections in Taiwan it will hugely boost the hope of Democracy and rule of law in China and Hong Kong.
Friends of Tibet organised the first 'Conference for an Independent Tibet' in the year 2007. Some critics at that time censured us for "unnecessarily championing the Independence of Tibet" when Tibetans inside Tibet remain 'silent.' As if to answer such cynics the 2008 Tibetan National Uprising reminded the world how much Tibetans inside Tibet yearned for freedom as more than four hundred Tibetans sacrificed their lives and thousands were jailed following violent crackdown by Chinese security forces.
Friends of Tibet therefore calls for the '2nd Conference for an Independent Tibet' to be held in New Delhi from April 11-12, 2015. This is an attempt by Friends of Tibet to understand the overall situation and also estimate details of the different facets of the struggle. The conference will bring together as many Indian supporters to once again resolve to work for the sacred goal of the Independence of Tibet which is the long term goal of the Indian nation.
The aim of the conference is to bring together all of us together once again at one place and review the struggle from the bigger picture and deliberate on creative and constructive ways in which the Tibetan Independence movement can be sustained and taken forward. The conference will pass a resolution in the form of Declaration which will guide the future course of action in the Independence movement.
+ Design & People poster for 'Conference For An Independent Tibet 2015': Download
Project: An Institution Dedicated for Social & Political Art (2014)
CENTRE FOR SOCIAL & POLITICAL ART (CSPA)
1) Jaspal Singh IPS, former Minister, Govt of Gujarat and former Mayor of Baroda launches the official website of 'Centre for Social & Political Art' (CSPA) on August 9, 2014. 2) Noted cartoonist Yesudasan welcomes Jaspal Singh 3) Sethu Das, Founder of CSPA gives an introduction to the institute during the launch 4) Sylvie Bantle and Alexander Devasia, Co-Founders of CSPA speak to the gathering. (Photos: 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.
Co-founded by Sethu Das of Design & People, with 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.
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: SlapDeals.com (March 2014)
SNAPDEAL.COM: THE GREAT INDIAN E-ROBBERY
Pressure Group Design & People sues Snapdeal.com and launches 'SlapDeals.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.
"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
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
A DESIGN & PEOPLE PUBLIC AWARENESS INITIATIVE
Project: Design & People Green Initiatives (2014)
"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.
+ Paper is Prettier: Photos
A DESIGN & PEOPLE GREEN INITIATIVE
Campaign: March 2014, Bangalore, India
'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
IIT Bombay, India (2003)
PROJECT: DANDI SALT SATYAGRAHA MEMORIAL
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 National 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
Jeju Island, South Korea (August-September, 2012)
PROJECT: JEJU ISLAND ROAD SHOW, 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)
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)
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
NID, Ahmedabad, India (January 16-28, 2012)
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CHANGE THROUGH DESIGN
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
Patron: Tibetan Medical & Astrological Institute of HH Dalai Lama (January 2011)
PROJECT: MEN-TSEE-KHANG ENVELOPE DESIGN
MEN-TSEE-KHANG, the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute of His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama is an educational and charitable institution that functions under the guidance and support of the Dalai Lama and of the Tibetan Government in Exile. The institution is dedicated to preserve the ancient system of Tibetan medicinal practices. It started the traditional Tibetan medical camp in Kerala with Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar in September 2010 in association with Friends of Tibet. Men-Tsee-Khang requires moisture-proof paper envelopes for distributing pills with text in Malayalam, the local language of Kerala, clearly explaining the intake as most people confuse themselves with the instructions and sometimes even take the pills from wrong envelopes.
Design & People Solution: After discussing several design options with Dr Dorjee Rapten Neshar, Chief Medical Officer of Bangalore Men-Tsee-Khang, Design & People comes out with three paper envelope designs to be printed on three different colours white, yellow and blue signifying Nes-pa-sum or Tridoshas with white as phelgm, yellow as bile, and blue as wind-energy.
+ Men-Tsee-Khang Medicine Envelope: Artwork
Basis Frankfurt, Germany (September 22, 2011)
"DESIGN AS A SOCIO-POLITICAL FORM OF EXPRESSION"
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, 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)
Lecture: Kochi, Kerala, India (June 19, 2011)
"SUSTAINABLE RICH LIFE FOR ALL"
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 Kirti K 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
Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany (September 2010)
RE-DESIGNING THE EAST: POLITICAL DESIGN IN ASIA & EUROPE
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
Beneficiary: Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (July 2010)
'SWARAJ' VISUAL THESAURUS
IN the process of working together, Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (GGMS) and Design & People developed the idea of 'Swaraj in Design'. It seemed so much in place and relevant to the work Design & People doing so far bringing Design to the idea of Swaraj. Once the most used in India, the word Swaraj is more or less disappeared from our everyday vocabulary. While the word 'Swaraj' was added to the recent edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), it seems to be difficult to see the word and the right meaning associated with it in our own dictionaries including the Sanskrit dictionary. Both GGMS and Design & People felt the need to develop a Visual Thesaurus for 'Swaraj' which could illuminate the sacred word once again with much more clarity on synonyms associated with it.
Mahatma Gandhi said: "Swaraj is a sacred word, a Vedic word, meaning self-rule and self-restraint, and not freedom from all restraint which 'independence' often means." After a long research and discussion on various synonyms associated, a Visual Thesaurus for the word 'Swaraj' with synonyms associated with was developed in a visual representational form. The keyword is connected to direct meanings with solid lines and is further connected with related meanings. The proximity of synonyms is structured to indicate their significance and relationship with the keyword. Synonyms, connected meanings and Antonyms are demarcated using colour codes Green, Blue and Red respectively. Those who develop this diagram further are requested to share the same with Design & People. Please write to us.
+ 'Swaraj Visual Thesaurus': Download
Beneficiary: Eloor Ferry Resident's Association (June 2010)
'ELOOR' EMERGENCY EXIT CAMPAIGN POSTER
THE residents of Eloor Udyogamandal industrial town in Kerala is under constant threat of 25 odd polluting factories situated near the River Periyar. More than 20,000 people living in the island town are caught between the polluting industries and the river as there is no escape route for them in case of a gas leakage or in an emergency situation. The Eloor Ferry Resident's Association (EFRA) is now in the preparation of forming a human chain across the River Periyar on Saturday, July 10, 2010 at Eloor Ferry. This action is to remind the authorities about their last demand an emergency exit route. The organisation requires publicity materials to invite public participation in this unique protest.
Many people have given their blood and sweat in their struggle for a permanent solution to the on-going pollution of River Periyar. The State Government, industries and the trade unions remain silent on the issue of pollution while highlighting the progress these polluting industries have brought to Eloor Island. A poster is being developed with the image of an ordinary man's footprint in blood, which will serve as a logo for the Eloor People's Struggle for a cleaner and safer environment.
+ 'Eloor Emergecy Exit' Poster: Download
Beneficiary: Abhilasha India Society, Uttrakhand (May 2012)
VISUAL IDENTITY FOR ABHILASHA
ABHILASHA India Society, an Uttrakhand-based non-profit organisation consisting of young and enthusiastic youths from different scientific, research, management, rural, social and professional backgrounds to provide a platform for all to share their thoughts, monetary, emotional values for uplifting the needful individuals, social projects, socially deprived community to make them able and to step with the main stream of the society. The organisation requires an identity that communicates its core activity of promoting social change in the society.
'Abhilasha' means desire and what can be a better metaphor than the desire of a bud to bloom and spread fragrance and love. The new Abhilasha identity is a simplified form of a Lotus with the central area of the flower modified to give the feel of radiance and energy. The vibrancy of colours and multiplicity of petals pointing towards various directions depict the intent and aim behind the endeavor while the dot represents the bud from where it all started.
Beneficiary: Abhilasha India Society (June 2010)
'SAVE WATER' POSTER
ABHILASHA India Society, an Uttrakhand-based non-profit organisation consisting of enthusiastic youths from different walks of life work voluntarily for the socially deprived community to make them able and to step with the main stream of the society. The organisation has its own local campaigns to develop a sense of unity and vision towards various needs which are crucial to the existence of the society. One of their main campaigns in Uttrakhand region is a campaign to create awareness among visiting tourists to save water. Abhilasha needs a poster to start their campaign.
A recent report says by 2020, both China and India will start importing water. The Blue Gold crisis is everywhere. Even states like Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala in India, known for receiving the maximum rainfall a year during monsoon seem to have very few buildings or houses with the water harvesting facilities. Saving or harvesting water seems to be the only answer to our water crisis in the country. Design & People decides to focus on the simple, yet the strong two-word message of 'Save Water' in which even the alphabets are participating in the simple activity of collecting water to educate the masses about the importance of the saving water.
+ 'Save Water' Poster: Download
Beneficiary: Periyar Riverkeeper (April 2010)
VJ Jose, is known as 'Periyar Riverkeeper' because of his continuous efforts to protect the river from pollution for the last three decades. He protects, patrols, speaks, fights, trains and inspires people around though his activities. Through the programme 'Interact with Riverkeeper', he is been able to conduct more than 3,000 interactive sessions with students across Kerala state. The session is usually done in Malayalam and with the help of a Powerpoint Presentation Jose developed. The Riverkeeper needs a presentation to be used during interactive sessions in schools and colleges across the state.
Because Design & People started its activities in 2003 with the active involvement of VJ Jose, the Periyar Riverkeeper, it was not difficult for us to gather information about the activities of the organisation. The key to a good and simple Powerpoint Presentation (Design & People love the pirated version of Microsoft Powerpoint!) for Periyar Riverkeeper was the right information and the availability of right images. 22-slide PPT developed by Design & People for Periyar Riverkeeper talks about Periyar River, history of Periyar Riverkeeper, present toxic pollution level, and what individuals could do for the dying river. The new presentation was used for the first time during 'Understanding Swaraj' workshop in Dharamshala organised by Swarajpeeth.
Beneficiary: Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (May 2012)
ONLINE PRESENCE FOR GGMS
THE 'Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj' (GGMS) is a network of individuals, organisations, campaigns and movements, subscribes to the vision of 'Swaraj' Self-Rule or Home Rule as explained by Mahatma Gandhi in Hind Swaraj. It was created on the occasion of Hind Swaraj Centenary International Conference, November 2009, in Delhi by more than a hundred eminent thinkers and activists wanted a portal which was easy to use. The organisation wants to vertical and horizontal integration of its members and visitors. The end objective was to communicate the message to as much people as possible.
Design and People deployed a popular blogging software as the content management system. Members of GGMS with limited technical knowledge can manage the content of the website with ease. Popular social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo & OpenID were embedded to take the discussion beyond the website, but still keeping them connected to the movement. Tweet messages were embedded to broadcast live messages from any place at anytime to the website. The entire website utilises 'free-to-use' kind of services. None of the services were actually paid-for.
Beneficiary: Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (April 2010)
VISUAL IDENTITY FOR GGMS
THE 'Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj' (GGMS) is a network of individuals, organisations, campaigns and movements, subscribes to the vision of 'Swaraj' Self-Rule or Home Rule as explained by Mahatma Gandhi in Hind Swaraj. It was created on the occasion of Hind Swaraj Centenary International Conference, November 2009, in Delhi by more than a hundred eminent thinkers and activists from all over the world. The organisation wants an identity which captures the spirit of the Gandhian movement while highlighting the vedic word Swaraj.
Swaraj, the sacred word of India is slowly disappearing. India has achieved its political freedom but not the Swaraj Mahatma Gandhi once dreamed. Developing a new identity for Global Gandhian Movement for Swaraj (GGMS) without an image of Gandhi in it was a bit out of context for both designers and the members of GGMS. After several discussions and debates with GGMS Core Group members on various logo options developed by Design & People team members, the new identity showing Gandhi as the vision and guidance for the future Swarajits was finalised.
Beneficiary: Friends of Tibet (December 2007)
'WORLD WITH TIBET' POLITICAL MAP
FRIENDS of Tibet is a people's movement to keep alive the issue of Tibet through direct action and its activities are aimed at ending China's occupation of Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people. Tibet was an independent country till China occupied and diminished it from face of World Atlas. The organisation wants to launch a worldwide campaign to educate people about the position of Tibet in the world map as an independent country and other occupied countries by People's Republic of China.
Conceptualised by Rohit Singh, a Friends of Tibet Campaigner based in Mumbai, Design & People took the task of working on one of the most complex design jobs for a small group of ordinary designers a place for Tibet in the political map of the world. A worldwide campaign for re-establishing Tibet on the World Map and to focus on the aspect of its position, its importance and its existence which China is out to destroy, a group of Design & People started its research in consultation with Tibetan historians, intellectuals of the exile community in India and traditional cartographers from Tibet. After several months of debates, research and laborious execution, Design & People develops the final version of 'World With Tibet' map for Friends of Tibet. On December 10, 2007, Human Rights Day, Venerable Geshe Lhakdor, Official Translator of His Holiness the Dalai Lama released the first copy map in public meeting in Mumbai.
+ 'World With Tibet' Education Campaign: Website
Beneficiary: Swaraj Peeth Trust, New Delhi (November 2009)
HIND SWARAJ CENTENARY CONFERENCE PORTAL
SWARAJ Peeth Trust wanted an online solution to communicate with its delegates and participants from all over the world, media, visitors and general public. The main objective was to provide information regarding conference itenary, the papers presented and to facilitate discussion on Swaraj during the three-day Hind Swaraj Centenary International Conference at Suraj Kund, Haryana, India from November 22, 2009.
The entire solution was a mash up of web 2.0 technologies. Multiple technologies were brought together on a popular blogging software to exceed client expectations. Except for a browser (enabled with Java Script & Cookies) no other software is required to view documents, photos or use any other services on the website. The content of the website was made available in 8 international languages, including Chinese. Live feeds including photographs, messages and papers presented were distributed on real-time basis during the International Conference. Web 2.0 Technologies like Disqus, Flickr, Twitter, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Friend Connect and Google Translation were deployed for the project. The Hind Swaraj event website incorporates the basic rules of Search Engine Optimisation. So even after the conference is over, the site still gets a stream of visitors regularly on daily basis. PDF documents were displayed using Google PDF Viewer for the browser. So even without the PDF viewing software installed, users were able to view the documents. With site-management happening from Mumbai in Maharashtra and the Conference at Suraj Kund in Haryana, Design & People used technology effectively to bridge barriers and made distance a non-issue.
Beneficiary: Shishu Sarothi, Assam; ActionAid! (December 2005)
READY RECKONER OF DISABILITY LAWS IN INDIA
AN 8 page, simple 2 or 3 flat colour booklet, listing out the Laws and Rights of the Disabled people under the Indian Constitution. This was to disseminate information like a Ready Reckoner, for anybody and everybody. It was to be given primarily to government officials and bureaucrats to sensitise and educate them. Shishu Sarothi, Assam did not have funds to do a 4-colour offset product, but they were afraid that a typically 'official looking' piece of work would not engage an already busy official. Shishu Sarothi approaches Design & People to provide a solution that would be attractive, easy to follow, and portrayed disabled people in a positive and inspiring manner, rather than the usual manner of seeking pity and help.
At first it was decided that while the inside pages would be single or double colour, the cover had to be 4-colour offset. Design & People made several cover concepts that portrayed a positive outlook, were bright and cheerful. Somehow, the delivery vehicle: a booklet in this case, was found to be run-of-the-mill (something the officials & bureaucrats receive day in and day out). Besides, once the booklet is opened and read, it would be forgotten. We wanted a delivery vehicle that would engage the reader on a daily basis. So Design & People came up with the idea of a Year/Wall Planner, which had the calendar, enough space for images, space for one to scribble notes, and all the laws neatly placed at the bottom in a very readable format. This way we ensured that the Information stayed on the reader's wall for 365 days. And we got ActionAid! to foot the printing bill!
+ Shishu Sarothi Ready Reckoner: Download
Beneficiary: Friends of Tibet, Mumbai (January 2000)
A WEBSITE FOR FRIENDS OF TIBET
SINCE 1999, Friends of Tibet had its online presence in a free site with just one webpage announcing the Festival of Tibet 2000. Organisation had its own difficulties in hosting a mega website with almost no resources and manpower. The final decision was either to have an elaborate website which is updated regularly or not to have one. The Tibet Support Group requires a website which talks about the organisation and its worldwide activities for an independent Tibet.
Friends of Tibet is the first patron of Design & People and the Friends of Tibet website is probably one of the first projects of Design & People. A small team of Design & People Designers with guidance from James Walker, the 'Cyberwallah for Tibet and East Turkistan', developed the website. Many social networking tools are used to make the site for networking with its members and supporters from all over the world, especially those who are living in occupied-Tibet and People's Republic of China. Today the Friends of Tibet website www.friendsoftibet.org. Design & People considers Friends of Tibet website one of its most successful projects as it succeeded in getting the website banned in mainland China in the year 2002. The website and the information in it updated almost every day remain closed for millions of Internet users inside Tibet and China.
+ Friends of Tibet: Website
Beneficiary: Pratyasha Cancer Children's Welfare Society (2005)
GREETING CARDS FOR PRATYASHA
PRATYASHA is a support group for children with cancer a helping hand for families of children and young people with cancer. Under the aegis of Paediatric Oncology Division of the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) at Trivandrum, Kerala, a support group — Pratyasha was formed in April 2003 to support the affected families during illness and its treatment regime and also afterwards. One of the major obstacles to their activities is the shortage of funds to take care of more than 30 children at a time. The organisation depends entirely on donations from their own members and supporters. Pratyasha needs a permanent solution to the crisis and needs better ways to generate funds regularly.
Carolina Montesinos, a Design & People volunteer working on a design assignment of Nachair Vidyalayam School at Pollachi, Tamil Nadu comes up with a solution. The Design & People volunteer proposes greeting cards to be prepared by the students of Nachair Vidyalayam to generate funds for the children cancer victims of the Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum. This beautiful idea of children in one corner of the country working to support child patients on the other side they have never seen was finally coordinated and executed by the Design & People volunteer by spending several weeks at Pollachi School to work on the school requirements and also to convert the idea into a reality. Pratyasha continues to sell greeting cards to generate funds.
Beneficiary: Buddha Smiles Education Movement, Tamil Nadu (2001)
GARDEN OF PEACE COMMUNITY SCHOOL
BUDDHA Smiles, an organisation of volunteer-teachers working towards providing non-formal education from non-formal sites from ten different locations in the country, decided to get themselves a home a school of their own, situated at the Kurumbapalayam village in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. The project of the school had a much larger vision than imparting formal education alone to the students of that and other villages around. The almost barren land amidst the rock hills of Vellore had to be worked on to yield again, and the students and teachers were envisaged as participating in a whole micro-climate created through practices of permaculture, natural building and cattle rearing.
The Buddha Smiles project provided a fertile occasion for the architects from the Design & People volunteer pool to extend their skills. Over the past few years, the team has made participation in the Buddha Smiles annual Pongal time camp on permaculture and natural building into something of an event. We would, in relayed groups, stay at site for over a month and influence the building activities taking place through the camp a dining hall, class rooms, a common toilet block and a cattle shed). This way, we have also tried to organise the site as a whole with a view towards creating a master plan for the campus and trying to formalise an alternative and sustainable building system for the site using local and sometimes unconventional building materials.
Beneficiary: Pratyasha, Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum (December 2004)
A WEBSITE FOR PRATYASHA CHILDREN'S WELFARE SOCIETY
PRATYASHA is a support group for children with cancer a helping hand for families of children and young people with cancer. Under the aegis of Paediatric Oncology Division of the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) at Trivandrum, Kerala, a support group 'Pratyasha' was formed in April 2003 to support the affected families during illness and its treatment regime and also afterwards. The organisation needs a presence in the World Wide Web to spread their message and also to raise funds for their activities to support the victims and their families.
Pratyasha is a Malayalam word, meaning 'Hope'. The Design & People spent time understanding the activities of the organisation and their exact requirements. Many members of the Pratyasha who are family members of victims, now dedicated to the charity activities did not really know the possibilities of having an online presence. Design & People developed a friendly, colourful website instead of a gloomy one. Because it is all about hope. The Pratyasha website: www.praytashaforchildren.org, was inaugurated by Berlin-based Social Designer Sandy Kaltonborn at the Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum on December 28, 2004 during his visit to Kerala to workshop on 'Design Is Not Enough' organised by Design & People.
Beneficiary: Friends of Tibet, Mumbai (January 2002)
'CHINA, GET OUT OF TIBET' POSTER
Friends of Tibet is a Tibet Support Group based in India with chapters worldwide. The organisation needs a powerful and direct poster which could be distributed among international Tibet Support Groups and among the Tibetan community in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Europe and the United States and used during protest rallies and demonstrations.
There are hundreds of posters are being for the Tibet cause and are easily available in almost all democratic countries. But there is no single poster which asks the Chinese military to get out of Tibet. A small number of Design & People designers do a research on former political prisoners executud, detained and in exile. After a joint research with the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) in Dharamshala, Design & People finalises on 50 faces of Tibetan freedom fighters who are executed, in detention or in exile in India. 'China, Get Out of Tibet' is one of the first posters designed by Design & People for Friends of Tibet and the poster is one of the largely circulated Tibet posters worldwide.
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