Curation, Design Education

Lines of Inquiry

National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad

Curation, Research, Editing, Project Management, Design

Curation Team
Aarushi Bapna, Tanishka Kachru

Lines of Inquiry was the Annual Design Show for 2020 at National Design Institute, Ahmedabad.

Our brief as curator of the show was to reimagine how we look at design, by moving beyond disciplinary boundaries. Over next two months, after going through 100s thesis projects from the graduating year, talking to students, asking students to reflect on their practice, their projects and their design education.

Aarushi working on curation
We re-structured the narrative of design-pedagogy in NID around the Idea of Inquiries. Inquiry as a framework looked at what are the questions: whether they be personal, professional or systemic driving the design students at the Institute. We invited all students to talk about their inquiries through ( very intensive) open call. From a collection of 170 qualifying entries, we curated 100 Inquiries tied together by meta narratives of what questions they seek. 

These meta narratives lead to 4 lenses to look at a design Inquiry,
1. Introspective: Inquiries about self, identity, origins, values… etc.
2. Practice: Inquiries about design, its role, tools, its future… etc
3. Subject: questions about the designed, users, stakeholders, field of study… etc
4. Systemic: large macro questions around complex, systemic ideas around gender, environment, technology etc.

The lenses were representational and not prescriptive, all inquiries had a bit of everything in them. A big shift the curation did was all projects were presented as questions, rather than solutions. All description of the projects was in first person, where the Inquirer was talking to the viewer instead of trying to convince them. We wanted the content and tone to be very personal, honest and frank. For the curation, the timeline of an Inquiry was much longer than a design project and thus, the ‘quality’ of outcome and the ‘process’ were not as important as the reflection.

The curation materialised as a week long show at the Convocation 2020 of NID, A publication, A digital exhibition and a travelling exhibition.

The curation and its pedagogical intervention were introduced to the governing council, faculty, first year students, esteemed alumni’s and young school children through guided tours.

The show marked an important moment in pedagogical discourse at National Institute of Design. I am really grateful to the Director Praveen Nahar and Professor Tanishka Kachru for giving us this big responsibility fresh out of the institute.


<  > NEXT