It is a moment of immense joy and significance for an institute of education to welcome the young and motivated minds, the harbingers of persistently renewing hopes. It is also an occasion of a thousand opportunities for us to project, guide and encourage responsible possibilities and a sustainable future. From August 24th to 28th this year, IICD hosted the orientation programme for its fresh entrants of 2020, to celebrate their auspicious integration into IICD and their induction into the philosophy and ecosystem of the institute.
The ceremony this year was both unusual and unique, both in its method and experience. For the first time in the history of the institution we received the newest members of our family, our most novel students through the lens of a camera, but with the same immensity of love and similar enthusiasm. The emergence of this new world in a constant fight against the pandemic has made several impressions upon the human mind, behaviour and civilisation. Some negative, and some positive. It has made enormous revelations. How earth along with its entire atmosphere heals itself so readily in the lack of excessive human interference, and how important are the human traits of interaction, association, assimilation and compassion for the humanity to remain sane and survive. These months of threatening isolation prompted us to implore into the basic premises of human nature and explore new ways of renewing the fading bonds of communication in every field every sphere of life, and internet surfaced as the most potent and omnipresent rescuer. The society of knowledge too dwelled deep into this new mode to ensure the continuous flow of education, and came out victorious with a much expanded potential and global reach. The online initiation programme of the young novices was a live example of this new power.
The five day event started with the address of Dr. Toolika Gupta, Director IICD, who with immense warmth greeted the new batch and shared with them the vision and mission of the institute. Dean IICD, Professor Anu Jain, also spoke to the students and encouraged them. The first day was dedicated to the first introductions. Departmental prefaces were presented through digital presentations to render a glimpse into the discipline specific specialities and strengths, materials and methodologies, innovations and experimentation, subject matter and student work, artisan absorption and alumni achievements.
A peek into the creative energies and harmonic synergies of the many student clubs took the freshers on a journey through the colourful allies of festivities and celebrations, into the weekly movie galleria for cinema buffs, and along the echelons of literary discourse and exchange for the lovers of language and letter. The echoes of social responsibility and ecological accountability, of civic duties and individual liberties, of human rights and environmental empathy, of progressive thought and global identities knocked on the millennial hearts of the personas in making. The club representatives also stirred the silent souls of incipient photographers encouraging them to archive the life happening all around, and roused the ecstasy of dancers with the rhythms of the past and anticipation of future.
The string of introductions moved forward and disseminated the information on student rules, policies of financial aid, library and resource centre, project cell, grievance cell; and the institutional facilities of hostel, on campus doctor, psychological counsellor and yoga classes.
Second day of orientation saw the beginning of Design Thinking workshop with Prof. Bhargav Mistry, former IICD Dean and a renowned Industrial Designer and Sarod player, to induct the newly admitted students into the methods of design, to educate them to appreciate design as a problem solving agency, and to disperse the vital lessons on identifying, analysing, evaluating, reflecting upon and resolving a problem. The workshop guided the novices to understand design in its extensive macrocosm and exposed them to the idea and importance of purposeful design. The workshop was coordinated by IICD faculty Ms. Shubham Tambi.
Alongside the workshop students were also offered meaningful exposures to a range of topics through several enlightening panel discussions. In the discussion on international exchanges at IICD, with IICD alumni Ms. Mariyam Khatri and Mr. Dhruv Saxena; and Ms. Sanjana from the French institute, moderated by IICD faculty Mr. Binil Mohan, they were counselled about their future academic prospects on international platforms. In the discussion moderated by Ms. Anuja Kumar with craft designers Mr. Ayush Kasliwal, Ms. Juhi and Ms. Laxmi Murthi, they ruminated on the significance of craft sector, the possible integration and alignment of crafts and design, and the role of craft designers in bringing about this confluence for the future preservation and promotion of this ancient heritage. Smt. Sonal Rathwa, a bead Jewellery artisan from Gujarat; Shri Sanjay Prajapati, a blue pottery artisan from Rajasthan and Shri Mir Mazid, a kani shawl weaver from Kashmir in conversation with Prof. Shalu Rustagi, took the students into the world of artisans, reflected on their history and strengths, and shared the issues and perspectives in Indian crafts.
In ‘Know Your Rhythm’ session of music therapy with Mr. Arnab Bishnu Chowdhury, a composer, teacher and explorer of consciousness with the yoga of music, mantra, body, breath and sleep; students learned to discover the sense of rhythm in their own lives and work. With Mr. Neeraj Kadela, a Jaipur based theatre artist they learned the skill of expression, interaction and engagement. In the workshop on shadow puppetry craft of Kerala, coordinated by Prof. Pampa Panwar, students learned about the origin, community, culture, characters and technique of the craft from Mr. Vipin Pulavar, a master artisan of this narrative tradition.
In the concluding session of the programme coordinated by Prof. Meenakshi Singh, Prof. Ashoke Chatterjee, a distinguished personality in the field of crafts and design, former Director of NID and Honourable Secretary and Advisor to the Craft Council of India, delivered the closing address to the students. With him they pondered into the question of the possibility of a handmade future, laid their eyes at the building crisis in the craft sector of India, reflected on the concept of cultural industries, contemplated the importance of generating a demand for hand quality, analysed the impacts of transforming landscapes and changing traditional craft ecosystems, and understood crafts as the true representatives of sustainable development. He motivated them to realise their responsibilities as future craft designers and change makers.
The programme successfully oriented the on-boarding students into the ideology and methods of IICD. It offered them their first interface with the craft habitats and craftsperson, with the vast repositories of their olden wisdom and their struggles in a rapidly modifying world. It introduced them to the fundamentals of their education and foundational perceptions of design, to the ideas of self discipline and positivism, to the spirit of innovation and empathy, and it initiated them into the newly adopted medium of communication and instruction, the all pervasive World Wide Web.
We wish for our young apprentices the fruits of earnest learning, the joys of college life, an unending progression of accomplishments and a gleaming future!!
-By Nivedita Narayan
Asst. Professor, IICD
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