“We are still evolving,” says Dr. Arindam Das, Director of Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, which recently relocated to a new campus in Govindapura as part of the merger of Srishti Institute of Art Design & Technology with Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in 2020.
While he agrees that the transition has had its challenges — since it is a new space, it will take time to “find yourself and get used to it” — he is excited about the way forward. “We have a number of exciting projects coming up,” he says.
Construction is still under way at the new campus, which occupies around 3,50,000 sq. ft. (built-up area) of the 86-acre MAHE campus and is spread across seven buildings. Students will have access to shared facilities on the MAHE campus, including hostels, food courts and the sports complex, adds Dr. Das.
But even more exciting than the idea of shared physical infrastructure is the merging of ideas, talent and minds. “We have some wonderful synergies coming up,” believes Dr. Das, pointing out to the eight constituent colleges in the campus.
While traditionally, Srishti has a unique pedagogy, where learning is spread across three consecutive cycles — the first based on theory, the second more practical, and the third is application-oriented, this new collaboration will further expand the overall holistic learning of its 1,300 students, believes Dr. Das.
“Working closely, the constituent colleges will be offering electives to each other,” he says, adding that, under this system, a business student can take a design thinking or coding class and vice versa.
Focus on research
The institute seeks to focus more on research, encouraging its faculty to go for both practice-based and visual research that is “important in an art and design school”, says Dr. Das, adding that the institute has started working on setting up centres of excellence.
Technology, he says, will be a key focus in the road ahead, especially considering the long-term impact of trending buzzwords like AI and ChatGPT. “We have realised that technology itself is not a threat, but people who may be using this technology may be,” he says, adding that technology and design have always complemented each other. “We are a leading design institute, and must be geared up for this.”