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New worlds with some tinkering...

BENIWAL Sucharita
National Institute of Design



This research paper looks at repair and repairpersons as propagators of design for sustainability. The idea of discard, upgrade, consumerism and mono-cultural globalized world of objects is forever questioned through the idea of longevity, repurpose and customization. Originating in adversity, due to scarcity and as coping mechanisms, these localized solutions afford us designers the pluriverse – many worlds together. The paper also tries to define what could be open-design and longevity in design through case studies of a street tailor and a cobbler, in the city of Ahmedabad, India. The repairperson as designer through examples of repair, recycle, repurpose and reuse give add to the sustainability paradigm and the generate a new value of things. These case studies could be used to develop a framework for inclusive design actions through acceptance of multiple worlds of making. This could also equip designers and design educators for new methodologies of coping in uncertain futures.

repair as design; resourcefulness; design in the real world; open-design

About the Author(s)

Sucharita Beniwal, is a designer-educator from the global south; she formally trained as a textile designer from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India and worked thereafter for over 10 years in the textile industry and with traditionally learned craft-makers. Her enquiry into her privilege, her questioning gender and class hierarchy and seeking indigenous ways of knowing led her to a M.Des. in Social design from Ambedkar University, Delhi. Her research interests include history (design and others), feminist studies, sociology and indigenous practices; she loves travelling, gardening, reading poetry and pondering. She locates her teaching and research practice within the larger discourse of democratization of design.

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