Introduction

Originally intended as a short guide for students of the Master’s programme in New Media Design at the National Institute of Design, this text introduces the reader to pedagogical concepts and frameworks in place in the programme. Concerns about the lucidity and brevity of the text have naturally coalesced with its size — a companion in your pocket.

Though I cannot undermine the influence of my lived experience in distinct environments across three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe) at different formative phases of my life, and how it has informed my interest and understanding of pedagogy, these frameworks have largely evolved over a decade of intense engagement with diverse disciplines across and beyond the field of design, both at the National Institute of Design and other institutions and organizations in India and abroad. I remain indebted to NID for the opportunity and academic freedom to lead the postgraduate programme in New Media Design and, above all, to my students, for the knowledge explicated here.

The title of each section or framework is inspired from the names of geometrical constructs, which in turn are based on the number of entities within it (one, two, three, etc). Hence terms such as monad, dyad, triad, tetrad and so on precede a keyword that frames the discussion. Where deemed necessary, references in footnotes elaborate specific pedagogical concepts or principles. Readers are encouraged to immerse themselves in the ‘act of study’.1 

Finally, the lack of awareness, let alone discussion, on pedagogy, even within academic settings, is deeply disconcerting. This remains one of my motivations in writing this essay, for hopefully it will not only serve as lecture notes in my class but also spur discussions beyond it. I believe this text is of much use to educators and practitioners of design and hope it will find resonance with those beyond the field too. As learning environments, it is the role of institutions to construct an ambience where personal and collective freedom2 can be practised and where trust, faith and hope can be experienced. 

  1. read The Act of Study (Chapter 1) in The Politics of Education: Culture, Power and Liberation (1985). 
  2. read Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom (1994).