RV University students use design to drive positive social change

RV University students use design to drive positive social change

RV University students

Bengaluru, 14th May 2024: The School of Design and Innovation (SDI) at RV University sparked critical conversations about design’s potential for social change with its student-led exhibition, “Design for Justice.” Held on 10-12 May 2024, the prestigious Chitrakala Parishath in Bengaluru hosted this showcase of impactful design solutions.

“Design for Justice” spotlighted the work of passionate B.Des and M.Des students who are deeply committed to confronting societal and environmental challenges through design. Their meticulous research and innovative thinking yielded tangible solutions that address marginalized communities, sustainability, and digital equality. This exhibition, spearheaded by a talented team of student organizers, exemplified design’s power as a force for positive change.

“Design for Justice is a curated public exhibition led entirely by the students of School of Design and Innovation (SDI), RV University. The School is known for its focus on design, technology and society and while it prepares the students for corporate and entrepreneurial careers in design, it also builds in them a strong social responsibility ethic. Design for Justice is not a pin up students’ annual work – It is a response to the need for design to challenge its complicity in asymmetries of power and to cater to the needs of those peoples and communities that are generally marginalized and overlooked in and through design. Furthermore, through their involvement in a curated exhibition such as this, SDI students have gained tangible experience in curatorial practice and curatorship, display and exhibition design, event and project management, social media and marketing. I am so proud of them.” says Dr. Anuradha Chatterjee, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of SDI, RV University.

“Justice is a profound concept. When we look around, there are several challenges to the idea of securing justice for all. Persons with disabilities are relegated to live as second-class citizens as our built environment, transport systems, etc. are not fully accessible. Same holds good for other vulnerable sections also. I am delighted that students in our School of Design and Innovation have put up an exhibition on “Design for Justice” and are engaging with contemporary challenges. Our students are not only learning design skills but also developing the social consciousness to drive positive change. I commend Dr. Anuradha Chatterjee, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the School of Design and Innovation, for her leadership and all faculty members of her school in nurturing these socially responsible designers. This student-led exhibition demonstrates RVU’s commitment to fostering a new generation of professionals who understand the power of their craft to challenge inequalities, foster inclusivity, and build a more just world.” says Prof. (Dr.) Y.S.R. Murthy, Founding Vice Chancellor of RV University.

The “Design for Justice” exhibition was more than a display of student work; it represented SDI’s commitment to design that goes beyond aesthetics. Recognizing the potential of design to shape experiences, interactions, and even societal systems, SDI encourages students to grapple with complex issues facing our communities. This exhibition was the culmination of rigorous research, empathetic exploration, and a determination to use design as a catalyst for change.

Visitors to “Design for Justice” weren’t just passive observers. The exhibition included interactive workshops where attendees delved deeper into the themes explored by the student projects. Guest speakers and industry experts shared insights, further sparking dialogue and critical thinking about how design intersects with social, environmental, and legal challenges.

“Design for Justice” aimed to leave a lasting impact on attendees, inspiring them to consider design’s role in their own lives and communities. Whether you’re a designer, student, or simply a concerned citizen, this exhibition challenged you to rethink what design can accomplish. It served as a reminder that even seemingly small design decisions can have far-reaching consequences, and a call to embrace design as a tool for building a more just and equitable world.

Exhibition Sub-Themes and Highlights

The design-focused exhibition explored six critical sub-themes:

Design-Ability: Creating inclusive designs for diverse needs and abilities.

Accessibility: Removing barriers to ensure equal participation and experiences across physical and digital spaces.

Sustainability: Prioritising environmental responsibility at the heart of design choices.

Wellness Design: Promoting physical and mental well-being through design solutions.

Access for Digital Inequality: Bridging the digital divide with designs that promote technology access and skills.

Ethics and Privacy in Design: Upholding ethical standards in design to protect user data and privacy in a technology-driven world.

Rabindra

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