Bespoke unboxed

Four of the five original investigators on the Bespoke project were reunited in India last week for the Unbox Festival.

Four of the five original investigators on the Bespoke project were reunited in India last week for the Unbox Festival.

UCLan’s Paul Egglestone, Jon Rogers from Dundee, Justin Marshall from Falmouth and Surrey University’s David Frohlich flew to New Delhi to ‘anchor’ one of the biggest Design festivals in India with an exercise in Insight Journalism.

Working with a former UCLan School of Journalism and Digital Communication graduate and New Delhi resident journalist Tanvi Chug and six design students from the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, a new Bespoke India team attempted to do in 4 days what the original team did over 12 months.  The method involved generating and reviewing stories of life in the Chandni Chowk area of old Delhi, prioritizing and refining design ideas with the help of festival participants, and realizing a working design response.

The student designers focused on issues of women’s safety in crowded public spaces, and created an animated bird table and associated SMS-and-Twitter service called ‘Share the stare’.   The idea was to create public awareness of uncomfortable or harassing behavior by sending a text to a pre-assigned number. The text triggered a bell on the bird table to ring, frightening off any feeding birds and sending a twitter feed to phones nearby. The scattering of real birds was seen as a metaphor for the scattering of messages on Twitter. The concept speaks to public concern over the recent Delhi rape case, and suggests that design may have its own part to play in addressing social issues.

The design students included Shivani Saran, Swati Shelar, Shipra, Arjun Raj Kumar, Rajat Dhingra and Karthikeyan Gopinathan.

The Unbox Festival celebrates interdisciplinary processes and experiences that shape contemporary thought and action. Unbox is a response to the emergence of a new subculture: one that straddles the spirit of innovation, is fostered by an enterprising spirit, and invites the engagement of all senses. UnBox manifests itself as a blend of different events – including a conference, workshops, exhibitions and performances – designed in sync with one another, to stimulate thought, debate and action.

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