‘Traditional Skills and Wisdom Must Be Brought into Mainstream’

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Padma Shri Bunker Roy speaks at the inauguration of the 12th Pune Design Festival

Pune, February 16, 2018: There is a lot of knowledge, skills and wisdom amongst the illiterate and semi-literate people of rural India. This must be brought into mainstream. We should drive them to design solutions that are relevant to their situation, said Padma Shri Bunker Roy, social designer and founder of Barefoot College, Tilonia, Rajasthan.

He was speaking as the Key Note Speaker at the 12th Pune Design Festival (PDF) which is organised by the Association of Designers of India (ADI). PDF conference will be held on February 16 and 17 at Hotel Hyatt in the city. Ashish Deshpande – President, ADI, Balkrishna (Bala) Mahajan – President, ADI, Pune, Darpana Athale – Vice-President, ADI, Pune; Ashwini Deshpande – GS, ADI, Pune; Siddharth Kabra – Treasurer, ADI, Pune; Rugwed Deshpande, Satish Gokhale and Nachiket Thakur – Members, Managing Committee, ADI, were present on the occasion. The ADI Honorary Fellow Felicitation was bestowed upon senior designer Sudarshan Dheer,

Established in 1972, Barefoot College trains rural women in solar engineering. The women, in turn, help in bringing electricity to their villages. Explaining the design of the institute, Roy exclaimed, “The most important task is to generate employment among rural women. When a woman is educated, she takes it back to her family and her community.”

Elaborating on this model further, he said this is a “Gandhian Bottom-Up Model”. “You have to have a different strategy for retaining skilled workforce in villages. There must be a rural solution to a rural problem.” He also stated that when you bring about a change, it should be brought slowly, gradually and non-violently.

Enumerating the achievements of Barefoot College, Roy said that the institute has its footprint in 19 countries now. “We have produced 1000 ‘Solar Mamas’ (female solar engineers) from 83 countries. Through this initiative, electricity has reached 50,000 houses,” he said.

The second session of Day 1 of the Festival was titled ‘Unravelling New Layer in Design (Life, Culture and Human Emotions)’. K.V. Sridhar (Pops), Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Hyper Collective, Mumbai, spoke on the topic of Reinventing Communication. He touched upon the concepts of Brand Emotion, Brand Experience and Sensory Branding. “You should understand the motivation behind people’s behaviour; only then will you be able to engage them emotionally. This will give your brand a human aspect and evoke emotional experience,” he said.

Tarek Atrissi, Founder, Tarek Atrissi Design, spoke on the topic of Cross Cultural Designer. Based out of Holland and Spain, he specialises in Arabic Typography. “Arabic Typography is so rich but less experimented and thus creating a lot of possibilities in design. It has also helped me in countering and reconstructing many clichés associated with the Arabic world,” he said. Atrissi also have designed Arabic font for Apple’s iOS interface including many other international companies.

Sapna Behar, Owner, Icarus Design Pvt. Ltd., conducted the session on Product Design in Healthcare. Through various case studies, she discussed various aspects of Product Design. Commenting on the current scenario of healthcare in India, she said, “The resources are too few, too far and too expensive. We want to take it towards affordability, accessibility and availability.”

Day 2 of the Festival will have various lectures, panel discussions and sessions to be conducted by accomplished professionals. As part of the Festival, the Pune Design Expo has been organised at the Ishanya Mall between February 16-18.