Key Note Speakers for the Symposium

Prof. Ashoke Chatterjee received his education at Woodstock School (Mussoorie), St Stephen’s College and Miami University (Ohio). He has a background in the engineering industry, international civil service, India Tourism Development Corporation, and 25 years in the service of the National Institute of Design (Ahmedabad) where he was Executive Director, Senior Faculty, Distinguished Fellow and Professor of communication and management. He has served a range of development institutions in India and overseas, particularly in the sectors of drinking water, sanitation, disability, livelihoods and education as well as working with artisans in many parts of the country. He was Hon President of the Crafts Council of India for over twenty years and continues to serve CCI as its Hon Advisor. Other current affiliations include the Prabhat Education Foundation for children with special needs, Utthan, the Centre for Heritage Management (Ahmedabad University), the India Foundation for the Arts (Bangalore), Madras Crafts Foundation, Centre for Environment Education and Gandhi Ashram. An author and writer, his books include “Dances of the Golden Hall” on the art of Shanta Rao and “Rising” on empowerment efforts among deprived communities in rural Gujarat. Prof. Chatterjee continues to assist design education in India and Pakistan. He lives in Ahmedabad with his son Keshav, daughter-in-law Prativa and grandchildren Kabir and Alisa.


Mr. Ashoke Chatterjee

Former, Director NID
Prabhat Education Foundation for children with special needs

Prof. Mugendi K. M’Rithaa is a transdisciplinary industrial designer, educator and researcher. He studied in Kenya, the USA, India and South Africa and holds postgraduate qualifications in Industrial Design, Higher Education, and Universal Design. He has taught in Kenya, Botswana, South Africa and Sweden and is passionate about various expressions of socially conscious design, including: Design Thinking; Designerly Strategies for Mitigating Climate Change; Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability; Distributed Renewable Energy; Indigenous Knowledge Systems; Participatory Design; and Universal Design.

Mugendi has a special interest in the pivotal role of design thinking in advancing the developmental agenda on the African continent. He is a founding member of the Network of Afrika Designers (NAD), and is associated with a number of other international networks focusing on design within industrially developing (or majority world contexts). Mugendi is also President Emeritus and Convenor of the Senate of the World Design Organization (formerly known as Icsid – the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design). Much of his work with the WDO focuses on the importance of supporting the aspirations of younger designers worldwide in our profession’s collective quest to resolve wicked problems in diverse contexts.


Prof. Mugendi K. M’Rithaa

Faculty of Informatics and Design
Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
Cape Town, South Africa

Lorraine Gamman is Professor of Design at Central Saint Martins and the Director of the award-winning Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) she founded at University of the Arts London in 1999 as well as co-director of its Socially Responsive Design Hub.

Gamman is co-editor (with Tom Fisher) of Tricky Design – the Ethics of Things – to be published by Bloomsbury in November 2018; the author of Gone Shopping – the Story of Shirley Pitts, Queen of Thieves, Bloomsbury (2012) and co-author of numerous recent design research articles on empathy, participatory and socially responsive design, most recently for She Ji journal (2018). She is currently Principal Investigator on the MoJ’s Safer Custody Furniture project 2018-20; she was PI on the AHRC-funded Extending Empathy Network (2014–16) and PI on AHRC-funded Design Thinking for Prison Industries (2014–18), which has developed Makeright an anti-theft design education course in partnership with HMP Thameside in the UK and National Institute of Design and Sabarmati Jail in India. This project has generated the prison-made anti-theft Makeright bag label distributed by Abel & Cole - see Makeright. Gamman is currently attempting to scale the Makeright project to other UK prisons, alongside the idea that “designers in residence” are needed to help stimulate prison industries.


Dr. Lorraine Gamman

Professor of Design
Central Saint Martins

Preeti Vyas, an independent entrepreneur with humble beginnings in 1997, has steered VGC's Mumbai and Bangalore offices to a top position in India as an independent Design and Communication Consultancy with several international associations including the recent strategic alliance with leading Dutch Agency, Total Identity. According to Economic Times and from the time she began her journey after graduating from the National Institute of Design, Preeti has created some of India’s most iconic brand stories and redefined the design landscape.

She is counted among the 50 most influential women in India according to Impact and Verve magazines, ranked as one of the top creative minds by The Economic Times and named one of the 25 most Powerful Women in Indian business by Business Today. Perhaps more to the point, what characterizes her oeuvre, and impact, whether as the Creative Director of Contract or Enterprise, or as the Executive Creative Director of the Trikaya Grey Dream team, or as Founder of VGC, is Preeti' s penchant of breaking everything down to its fundamental truth. From making economic sense with design as a management tool, to business and marketing strategy, Preeti has infused them all with the essence of intelligent design thinking. Amongst her other achievements, Preeti has been on the jury for D&AD, the New York Festival and the Cannes Festival, where she was invited twice. A member of the Indian Design Council, she helps in formulating important design policies for the country. She is also on the advisory councils of ISDI Parsons School of Design, MIT School of Design and on the governing council of NID, Vijayawada.

In 2010, she launched Designomics a knowledge and awards platform promoting the use of design by businesses effectively, bringing her journey, it seems to a full circle. She also curated and presented a show called Designomics on Bloomberg, interviewing design savvy captains of conglomerates. And the imminent launch of Designomics Live Academy promises to be an idea whose time has come. To sum up, Preeti is a creative mind, an artist and a thinker without boundaries. She is always willing to explore and experiment and push herself and all around to discover newer and greater dimensions. As they say, she endeavors to always stay hungry and stay foolish.


Preeti Vyas

Chairperson and Founder, VGC