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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Event: CSPA Website Launch (October 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.

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

Event: Total Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea
JEJU ISLAND ROAD SHOW, SOUTH KOREA (2012)

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

Event: February 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

Event:NID, Ahmedabad, India (January 2012)
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: Read

Event: Basis Frankfurt, Germany (September 2011)
"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, 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)

Event: Prof Kirti Trivedi Lecture (June 19, 2011)
"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 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 by Yeldtho Mathew: Read

Event: Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, Germany (September 2010)
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

Design & People
Design & People, PO Box 16674, Mumbai 400050 Email: solidarity@designandpeople.org