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Information Arts and Information Design Practices

"I hope you will go out and let stories, that is life, happen to you, and that you will work with these stories... water them with your blood and tears and your laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom.”
- Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Collaborative and Participatory Research and Making - Students from the “Becoming River. Wing. Tree. Tail” Project at Mawphlang, Meghalaya singing with the community and learning about the 700 year old community forest. PC: Mahesh Bhat



Today art and design leadership is critical around the world to create action around issues that are social, cultural, political and environmental. From poverty, inequality, gender issues to climate change, artists and designers hold a powerful tool, their ability to tell stories through varied media to change the course of life around them, to create meaningful action, to enable change, to empower people, to be the voice for those who have none.

Stories are the most powerful ways in which cultures dream, grow, transform, make meaning and sense. Storytelling has the power to transform information into meaningful experiences. Information is all-pervasive and exists everywhere! We use phones to capture and record our lives, tell stories; posters to inform, educate and make aware; illustrated books of every kind to make a narrative come alive; we use our bodies as powerful instruments to tell stories through performance, dance, theatre; we watch films that transport us to fictional or real worlds or bring to light situations and events that are transforming ourselves and the world!

All of this is information… Overwhelming, comprehensive, persuasive and constantly evolving with time, technology, environment and us… people.

The Information Arts and Information Design Practices (IAIDP) looks at information in all its varied forms. It looks at the processes by which information is gathered and gleaned, it pays great attention to understanding who this information is intended for; utmost emphasis is laid on developing, through a design or artistic process, the appropriate media for the dissemination and delivery of this information.

At IAIDP we nurture reflective practitioners who enquire into; and interpret the world through storytelling. Using tools that record change; be it memories, cultures, personal narratives or vast amounts of data, students are encouraged to explore newer and imaginative ways to construct and craft knowledge, tell stories and responsibly create communication.

While the design of communication is what we do at IAIDP, what remains at the crux of our work is social design. Students work in diverse fields that range from conservation, gender, social communication, culture and heritage. Our core aim is to design/ create for social concerns or aspire to create work that creates social change in some way. Students through the course of their study explore diverse media ranging from drawing, painting, photography, film, creative writing, graphic design, multimodal design, storytelling, computer graphics, interaction design and other art and design practices. Research, design process and methods, artistic process and methods and ethical ways of working closely with communities while collaborating with them are given special importance.

Today, social design is integral to both public and private sectors. Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives as well as NGO's are opening up intriguing project spaces that span contexts across the world. This course invites young people who are seeking to make a difference in the world with their work.


Research. Making. User-Testing - Maria George plays with her character design assignment. Children come and play with the toys to test their usability. PC: Murali Krishna Menon


Work With and Learn from Community – Aparna Marcelin works with Children in Mudumalai to build her app on learning about ecosystems and forests. PC: Aparna Marcelin


Field work - recording experiential data at Soans Farm, Moodabidri in the monsoon. Thresholds in Tapestries project. PC: Juilee Tembhekar.


Socially Engaged art with Technology: NOISE, Interactive Video Installation for the unit Narrative Intersections: Data as Art; Art in Transit, Cubbon Park Metro Station. PC: Rocio Fatas.


Documentation and Storytelling: Nilesh tells the stories of craftspeople from Channapatna. I sing the Body Electric Project. PC: Nilesh Das.


Practice and Iteration - A studio day has students exploring diverse media and methods. Here Isra explores ways to use paper to create the textures and feel of rock. PC: Isra Safawi.


Experimenting with Failure: Working with Collage and illustration in the studio. The Art of Failure Project. PC: Neeraja Durga.


Key Values

Experimental Artistry   - Be willing to work with a media, explore and expand practice to develop expertise
Ethical Creativity   - Moving away from the paradigm of problem solving to engaged understanding of contexts and communities to provide collaborative platforms for unraveling narratives and actions
Compassionate Sustainability   - Being able to reflect and bring awareness to our presence in the planet with awareness of all life and our relationships with them.
Rooted Sensitivity   - Being able to bring care and thoughtfulness to all actions from a place of humility, listening and openness
Enduring Empathy   - Listening through all the senses and being able to unravel other worldviews with reflection and respect, providing cognitive justice


Reimagine Narratives: Annushka's work looks at the representation of influential women in the Mahabharata, placing them in a modern. PC: Annushka Hardikar day context and drawing parallels between their stories with the ones faced by women today.


Course Structure

The curriculum comprises of different ways of learning as follows:

  1. Foundation introduces students to basic principles and tools of Art, Design and Technology as methods, tools and processes
  2. Disciplinary Studios are learning spaces where students develop core disciplinary capabilities, while navigating a trans-disciplinary environment
  3. General Studies: A common and compulsory programme of study that integrates Humanities, Sciences, Development and Policy Studies and also offers Languages-English, Indian- Hindi and Kannada as well as Foreign (Spanish, French and German) Click here to read more about the General Studies Program >>
  4. Interim: An introduction to practice in new and emerging areas of art and design
  5. Electives: Of three kinds- this program allows students to expand their skills, develop the interests as well as provide opportunities for travel exchange
  6. Internship/Apprenticeship: Compulsory work experience done over the summer-break between the 6th and 7th semester
  7. Project involves the application, synthesis and demonstration of capabilities acquired, and is a qualifier to the thesis
  8. Thesis is culmination of the 4-year program, which allows for demonstration of an integration of values, positions, capabilities and practice.


Artistic inquiries: Maria George wonders about what is sacred inquiring into her own love for life, and all creatures using painting as a way to find the relationship between nature and self. Becoming River. Wing. Tree. Tail Project. PC: Maria George.


Chabi Agarwal maps systems to devise a solution for education of children of construction workers who are constantly on the move. Roaming Classroom Project. PC: Chabi Agarwal.


Learning Approach

  • We thrive in lively debates, dialogue, sensitive and ethical questioning on a range of issues
  • We research into communities and contexts using participatory approaches
  • We build multiple modes of expression for engagement in the field of literature, science, media, ecology and learning experiences.
  • We employ data analysis, visualisation tools as well as artistic expression to create communication
  • We create new technologies of representation by interpreting and visualizing data
  • We explore hands on ways of crafting, design and development for traditional and digital platforms


Environmental Exposure with Foundation Students: Nature and the City - Students examine how natural spaces, water catchments, wildlife can be conserved in areas surrounding metros and mega cities. PC: Mahesh Bhat.


Capability Sets

This course will enable students in their:

  • Capability to experiment, choose context-sensitive media and create meaningful work
  • Capability to use multiple lenses to extract, interpret and engage with information
  • Capability to engage with communities using varied art and design tools and methodologies
  • Capability to emerge self-identity through ethical dilemmas, limitations and challenges
  • Capability to strategically intervene and innovate towards change communication
  • Capability to emerge practice with reflections on interdependence and symbiosis



The above mentioned capability sets could lead to opportunities such as:

  1. Employment in Design Studios, Advertising Agencies and the Publishing Industry
  2. Employment in New Media and Software industry
  3. Employment in Media and Television Industry
  4. Employment in startups, small and medium enterprises, NGOs, social and educational enterprises.
  5. You can become a contemporary art practitioner, entrepreneur, design consultant
  6. You can have an active involvement in emerging domains such as digital arts and new technology, storytelling in new formats.
  7. Pursue your research and continue to do a PhD.
  8. Develop your own projects and apply for grants.
  9. Some jobs profiles could be
    Design Strategist, Project Manager – Community Programme Services, Entrepreneur- Visual Designer. Artist. Arts Manager, Design consultant, Educator, Social justice Coordinator, Multicultural program coordinator, Cultural Design Practitioner, Creative Director, Program Manager, Creative and Cultural Researcher, Storyteller, Systems designer/ Consultant, Design Consultant, Educational designer, Eco-artist/ Eco –Designer


Listen to people with sensitivity: Atia documents people from Mawphlang in their village and those who have migrated to the city to map their relationships with place, home and the natural world. Becoming River. Wing. Tree. Tail Project. PC: Atia Sen.


Disciplinary Intersections

The course is informed by learning modules of the following disciplines: