Center for Education, Research, Training, and Development (CERTAD)
CERTAD is a design collective currently comprising of people from diverse backgrounds: dancers, artists, literary and cultural critics, architects, storytellers, filmmakers, new media designers, environmentalists, technologists, mathematicians and science enthusiasts.
This collective together constructively and collaboratively creates tools, platforms and environments that reclaim formal and informal learning as intimate, personal, transformative and enabling.
Our mission is to create capacity for long-term social, economic and environmental change through participative methods and processes drawn from art and design.
We seek ways to engage with and empower spaces of public education such as museums, galleries, schools or informal learning centers. We often work in collaboration with institutions of higher education and research, organizations in the areas of science, humanities, culture & heritage, and development institutions.
Research & Practice
Dangerous ideas form the substance of Project Vision, a research collective that currently resides with the CERTAD collective at Srishti Institute of Art Design & Technology. These ideas ask some fundamental questions about the rising cost of schooling, ownership, choice of pedagogies and tools.
Project Vision has three ideals that it aspires to create through “disruption” and an organic evolution through emergence in varied contexts. These ideas include “leapfrogging, tripalization and wellness”.
Through its design interventions in both mainstream and alternative learning spaces Project Vision has articulated design principles, pedagogical approaches and structural mechanisms that allow for innovation and self-realization to happen with simplicity and slowness.
Programs and Initiatives
CERTAD gives importance to the emergence of learning communities. Towards this goal it offers a professional development program for K-12 Educators and has started two initiatives: CERTAD TALKS and Bangalore STEAMERS on Meetup.
The PPDE is a two-year postgraduate continuing education program for K-12 educators. It includes face-to-face seminars, workshops, studio experiences, mini design challenges and online interactions. This program offers participants an opportunity to use design thinking to enrich their professional practice and create powerful learning experiences for students.
CERTAD TALKS is an ongoing initiative to bring together eminent educators, artists, designers, thinkers and practitioners to talk with invited audiences about powerful questions, provocative ideas and interesting opportunities related to education.
In the past year CERTAD Talks has organized forums for discussions on the Arts in Education, Story as Pedagogy and hosted a talk with author/ educator Renu Balakrishnan on her recently published book Four Aleys.
Bangalore STEAMERS on Meetup offers both an open forum and resources in Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics to learners of all ages. Our goal is to foster individuals’ long-term interest in STEAM.
Our past STEAMERS events have provided participants opportunities to
explore Scratch, Lego WeDo, Origami, make observations of the sun & sun spots, the night sky & meteor showers, create personalized books and tools such as an inclinometer, map a dry lake bed in Bangalore
and story tell in multiple ways.
CERTAD’s portfolio of work is rooted in how “design as pedagogy” can create rich learning environments, both real and virtual that support individual and participative learning.
Design of learning environments and spaces
placeTALKS is a free online tele-collaboration platform that is being conceptualized and developed by Project Vision, the research collective currently housed at CERTAD.
This platform will enable children from all over the world to share stories and collaborate on projects related to local environments and to geo-tag them on a map of Planet Earth.
This recent project envisioned how school learning spaces can be both flexible so that they transform with time, and timeless in their power to foster imagination, exploration and personal endeavor among children. Drawing upon powerful metaphors such the River, the Five Elements, Metamorphosis and the Learning Village, this design studio proposed 4 learning concepts that can pivot a school of the future.
Labs, Libraries and Learning: Future Learning Spaces
Our current endeavour is to counter the present-day reality where labs and libraries in schools are often stand alone spaces where learning remains disconnected with curriculum and every-day life. Our question is, how can we harness the potential of changing technology to transform labs and libraries into active “maker spaces”?
Community-based Learning and Making Spaces
We are establishing a Vocational Education Centre for multi-generational use in an urban poor community in collaboration with the Global Education Fund (GEF). This centre will offer opportunities to participants to learn vocational skills for which NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) certification is available. But more importantly, our goal is to support individuals in developing entrepreneurial and design thinking skills.
Designing Powerful Learning Experiences
We strongly advocate that young people and educators be playful and engage in active exploration. One way is through active ‘making’, and marrying ‘craft’ with high technology and emerging knowledge tools.
STEAM by Design: makeLEARNmake
STEAM by Design is an educational project for low resource contexts. Our goal is to provide young people opportunities to be makers, not consumers. Accordingly, we support students to be curious active explorers and creative thinkers who are confident about how they can acquire knowledge.
Other ways of ‘learning by doing’ can involve explorations of our environment. Our goal is to support young people’s appreciation of the complex, dynamic systems and symbiotic relationships that surround us.
Extreme Places and Extended Senses
This collaborative project has scientists, artists, designers and educators exploring ways we can extend our senses to perceive and make new meaning of our environment. The group will borrow from D.I.Y /D.I.W.O (Do it Yourself/ Do it With Others) practitioners to develop sensors and probes, tool kits and/or mobile laboratories that can be used for educational purposes by schools and non-formal learning groups.
Wrestling with the idea of how zoos can be imagined as ‘arks’ that help preserve wildlife and conserve biodiversity, Srishti students responded to a brief from the Centre for Environment Education. They explored ways to enrich visitor experiences and designed interactive exhibits that would inculcate empathy for animals in captivity and promote an understanding of biodiversity and conservation.
Nature Interpretation Center for Karnataka
CERTAD and Srishti are currently undertaking the design of an exhibition and environment education program for a nature interpretation center in the Western Ghats. This design studio will conceptualize materials and exhibits for developing awareness among lay people of marine ecology and the importance of the Western Ghats as a bio-diversity hotspot.
Educational Resource Development
CERTAD supports the development of educational resource materials. Our recent projects have included creative content development and publication design for teacher manuals, textbooks and story books.
Responding to a request from two groups, ANET (Andaman and Nicobar Environmental Team) and the Dakshin Foundation who work in the Andaman Islands, CERTAD and Srishti undertook the redesign of “Treasured Island” – an out-of-print environmental education textbook for teachers of grade 6-8. Keeping Island ecology in mind and current ecological concerns, this design studio created new illustrations, designed educational activities, and gave the book a fresh visual identity.
The Un-textbook Project
In this ongoing project in collaboration with Katha, Srishti students will design English Literature Books for grades 1 to 8 for the CBSE curriculum. Their brief, to design textbooks that come alive through the use of visuals, colours, typography and layout; to develop books for school children so they not only begin to appreciate Indian literature, but also Indian art.
If I Were Sky, If I Were Story
In a recent collaboration with Katha and the Wildlife Trust of India, CERTAD supported the created of a lab space to produce educational materials and stories both “for and with” children between the ages of 3-16 for informal learning and enjoyment. These materials explored issues related to conservation, community histories, folklore and crafts.
Centre for Environment Education was established in August 1984 as a Centre of Excellence supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. CEE, a national institution with its headquarters in Ahmedabad, has a mandate to promote environmental awareness nationwide. CEE is committed to ensuring that due recognition is given to the role of Education in the promotion of sustainable development.
The Global Education Fund (GEF) is a not-for-profit based in Boulder, USA that focuses on removing obstacles to education in three high-need countries: Kenya, India and Guatemala. GEF partners with local grassroots groups that are taking innovative approaches to changing the lives of children through education.
The Karnataka State Government, created the Department of Information Technology and Biotechnology with the objective of promoting the growth of Information Technology and Biotechnology Industries in the State.
Katha is a nonprofit organization working with and in story and storytelling for 22 years now. It has more than 300 published titles, including quality translations of fiction for adults and children; 21 Indian languages in the voices of over 600 writers and translators. Started in 1988 with a magazine for children from the underserved communities, Katha’s work spans the literacy to literature continuum. By seamlessly connecting grassroots work in education and urban resurgence, Katha brings children living in poverty into reading and quality education.
Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is a leading Indian nature conservation organisation committed to the service of nature. Its mission is to conserve wildlife and its habitat and to work for the welfare of individual wild animals, in partnership with communities and governments. WTI’s team of 150 dedicated professionals work towards achieving its vision of a secure natural heritage of India, in six priority landscapes, knit holistically together by seven key strategies or Big Ideas.
Dr. Geetha Narayanan - Founder Director of Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology, Principal Investigator- Project Vision