Whenever we come across this word, the first thought that comes to mind is creativity. However, in our life’s busy schedule, the creative art forms that our eyes often encounter are drawings, paintings, and writing to an extent. And, despite being an integral and well-groomed part of our lives, designing as practical and utilitarian art, is often ignored. The vision and ability which consciously requires our attention, and which combines art, engineering and other fields for a good purpose can be termed as design.
Observing potential art forms on a daily basis, we often think that mesmerizing creativity is a gift given to special artists. In reality, though, creativity is a gift given to quite a few life forms! Humans are inherently creative, but then so are dolphins, and chimpanzees! It’s just a matter of perspective to see potential. See the world differently. It’s the essential practice that makes a creatively good artist more creative.
Creativity requires courage and confidence, two factors that help in freely expressing one’s creativity. Courage because it’s about doing unusual things which may often lead to criticism. Confidence because we need to drum up the courage and the power to communicate.
For instance, a drawing of people climbing a rainbow; the sun smiling and wearing black sunglasses; ice-creams growing on trees; and monkeys giving instructions to lions. The more differently you look at the world, the more creative your ideas may be.
There is no defined way to learn the creative art of designing. However, there are many institutions that can help aspiring designers to grow and sculpt their craft and innovative thinking. ARCH College of Design and Business provides budding designers with the wings to polish their skills using advanced technology and equipment and the forums and platforms to exhibit their work both nationally and internationally. This has helped make it one of India’s most prominent design colleges.
Based out of the Pink City of India, the institution provides many design courses that include Jewellery, Fashion, Interior, Product, Graphics, Digital and many more. Apart from design education, the institute also includes practical, highly relevant, and useful inputs in the entrepreneurship and business domains to make graduates capable of many more options for livelihood and success in the professional design field.
In an interaction with The Knowledge Review, Ms Archana Surana, the Founder and Director of the ARCH College of Design and Business, shared her incredible learning experiences, educational pedagogies and the institute’s future vision and mission.
Archana Surana, Weaving the Threads of a Leading Design Institute
The inception story of this college starts from two residential rooms. Under the leadership of Ms Archana Surana and through the challenges and efforts of establishing the concept itself of design in the city of Jaipur, the institution has progressed hugely to become a knowledge hub for higher education in the field of design.
Her leadership, as a result of her experience in the U.S. State Department’s Rotary Foundation and being a Vital Voices Lead Fellow, and a Fortune and GAP Mentee, has provided with the institution with useful farsightedness that other design institutes rarely acquire in such a short period of time.
Since the college’s inception, Ms. Surana’s leadership has focused on delivering quality design education. She moved the institute from solid societies to liquid societies with digital communications and technology. Explaining this inclusion of digitalization, Ms. Surana says, “The previously known notions of the context of the institute will become easily accessible and relevant as the content of the digital world.”
The Origin Story of a Creative Design Institute
ARCH College of Design and Business started with the awareness of the deep necessity for DESIGN-based education. The institute was established in 2000 under the aegis of the ARCH Educational Society to reform and transform the education quality for design aspirants across the globe. The college campus is spread over 80,000 sq feet in Jaipur, often called the Pink City, and it has a 7000 professional alumni base.
The institute has been conducting the AIEED (All India Entrance Examination for Design) for Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in design since 2010. It also offers a wide gamut of industry-oriented courses of international standards with university certification.
ARCH College of Design and Business offers various U.G., P.G., and Certificate level design programmes, such as Fashion, Interior, Product, Jewellery, Graphic, photography, Digital Design, and Design Communication, coupled with specialized courses by combining Design education with Business and Entrepreneurial knowledge.
ARCH College of Design and Business is also a voting member and participant in international bodies, i.e., the World Design Organization (WDO), the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI), and Interaction Design Association (IxDA), and the CUMULUS Global Association. Ms. Archana Surana has just been elected to the Executive Board of CUMULUS, the first Indian to achieve this and serve on this board. Among National Memberships, ARCH is a voting member of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the Indian Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID) and the Association of Designers of India (ADI).
Global Exposure to Students
Alongside the strong links built with industry, these memberships offer global Exposure and numerous and valuable opportunities for students and faculty to participate in International events and Competitions through submitted Research papers and project presentations. Additionally, they get the chance to interact with peer groups from all over the world, among many other collaborative learning opportunities.
ARCH College of Design & Business has partnered with design institutions in Scotland, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Ethiopia, Mexico, Ukraine, and Canada.
ARCH has signed MOUs to promote partnerships focused on staff development, research & development of a new curriculum, and developing progression routes towards higher education which extends to opportunities that range from Exchanges to three-month industry internships abroad and attending module courses in member institutions. Participation in exchanges can extend from three months to a semester or a whole year.
Foresight and Errand
While interacting with Ms Archana Surana, we asked her to highlight the vision (foresight) and mission (errand) of the ARCH College of Design and Business.
Foresight (Vision) To engage the natural potential of an individual through Design Education enabled by positive thought and action and empowering them to evolve through the spirit of holistic co-creation.
She also shared the institute’s core values: EMPOWER, Co-CREATE, and EVOLVE.
- To be an internationally acknowledged design institution with an impeccable foundation of research and learning built on a broad spectrum of disciplines.
- To revive and renew the essence of time-honoured indigenous design culture and knowledge with its sustainable practices and ensure these are universally accessible to help solve the problems faced by the world today.
- To enrol youth of pluralistic identities and cultural contexts and to nurture and channel their energies towards creative entrepreneurship and to become innovative, proactive leaders inspiring transformation.
- They enable youth with a range of professional skill sets geared to address emerging societal and industrial needs effectively and effectively successfully.
Overcome the Challenges
Explaining the challenges while implementing the e-learning facilities in the institute Ms Surana says, “We are one of the few confident institutes and centres of excellence equipped to use digital technology and online delivery to provide continuous smooth premium education and learning experiences to students, despite the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. The grim situation presented new and unprecedented challenges for all of us. Our teachers and students showed remarkable agility in quickly adapting and adopting innovative practices to successfully continue the hectic ‘exchange’ that is integral to the delivery of world-class Design education.”
Special Necessary Programs to Develop Artistic Skills of the Students
The institute’s unique program is curated to develop and enhance students’ fundamental creative skills. The creative processes of design, research or fabrication of models, sample artefacts or prototypes are achieved in well-equipped labs and workspaces.
All essentials are required for efficient grooming of students in developing artistic skills are accomplished with the most up-to-date hardware and software infrastructure in the form of ideation labs, peer learning, grass-root connections, emphasis on entrepreneurship, classroom projects, open house, industry interface, internships, club activities, summer, and winter courses and many more.
Bringing Unity in Diversity through Extra-curricular Activities
Asserting how the college management drives student engagement and growth through interactive extra-curricular activities, Ms Archana says, “ARCH offers various U.G., P.G., and Professional courses with the main aim to develop a set of skills required for being an industry professional or creative entrepreneur. Along with academics, ARCH emphasizes the overall development of skills and personality. The college organizes workshops, exhibitions, juries, peer assessments, and collaboration with the top companies in the design industry. ARCH also works as a facilitator through its Design Business Incubator.”
A Glance at the Awards, Accolades, and Achievements of the Institute
As a design and business institute, the college has achieved many awards and accolades at the international level, and they are-
- It has recently been awarded as the Institutional Excellence in Design Education by Times Business Awards, Times of India.
- It received a ‘Most Innovative Design College in Research and Business’ award at the 22nd World Education Summit organized by Elets Techno Media Pvt Ltd.
- Also received a ‘Rajasthan Education Leadership Award 2021’ by the World Education Congress endorsed by the Asian Confederation of Businesses with CMO Asia as its Strategic Partner and Stars of the Industry Group as a research partner.
- ARCH has hosted International Design Culture – Pink City Design Confluence with 80+ speakers from 10 countries in 2022
- ARCH had also won the ‘Uniform Design Contest’ conducted by Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (JMRCL) and is the official Consultant Designer for the complete range of uniforms covering all cadres for the Jaipur Metro Corp.
- ‘The Changing Room’ Installation: A 25ft long garment was created from waste in the fashion learning process. The institute also intended to remind society to keep changing itself according to time and seasons. The institute presented a research paper at the Responsible Fashion Series, Antwerp.
- International Fashion Colloquium 2020, which culminated in the Jaipur Responsible Fashion Manifesto 2020 declaration, ARCH organized and hosted the Pink City Design Confluence in March 2022.
- ARCH is affiliated with the University of Rajasthan for Bachelor of Design Degree (B.Des) and B.B.A (Design and Entrepreneurship) and the Rajasthan ILD Skills University (RISU) for Master of Design Degree (M.Des), Masters in Design Entrepreneurship, and Professional Development Certified Courses.
Envisioning the Institute’s Future
Ms Archana shared the future expectation of the institutes, “ARCH is a part of the RISE project with European higher educational institutions (HEIs) to create innovative measures in sustainable and social entrepreneurship for HEIs via solid networking between India and the E.U. In addition, we are completing a proposal to apply for Erasmus Plus funding for developing an appropriate and helpful curriculum for a course in Social and Sustainable Entrepreneurship. As a natural extension of this exercise, we propose to set up a Centre for Sustainable Practices and Entrepreneurship (CSPE) in India. Our Design Culture initiative aims to facilitate forums to contribute to the content and nature of training appropriate for developing the next generation of designers and Design Leaders capable of transforming existing scenarios!”