I am truly glad to be a part of this process of learning and growing in a tough time like this. When I am writing this, I feel a great deal of rush to welcome the new year and the new beginning of the academic term and that is perhaps guiding this entire note.
There is a certain anxiety of our time to hold and accumulate time that is coming from the events of the past few months where most people who had never taken a break to reflect and introspect, got the opportunity to do so. That has sparked a new wave of doing anything and everything which has again fueled the restless spirit of our lifestyle. It is from this perspective that I feel the idea of conscious reflection needs to become a part of the routine. In Rainer Maria Rilke’s words “What goes on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love.”1 In order to reflect and learn and grow, one must first pay attention to the self and its interaction with the world around us. And this precise argument makes me all the more interested in becoming a part of this process of the studio with Siddharth and Sukhmani where the emphasis on experiences and memories are the starting points of the design.
I am fortunate to have had a chance to take a deliberate introspective pause just after my graduation where I had the opportunity to explore my interest in education with the guidance of Ar. Shirish Beri.2 This fellowship for ‘Introspection and Expressions’ allowed me to immerse myself in learning environments where education of the total human being was at the center.3 Taking my experiences from there, I joined teaching assistantship at CEPT to take a step into the practice of the values learnt during the course of this fellowship.
Last year at this time, I was preparing for another studio under the tutorship of Pranav Raiji at CEPT. Halfway through the semester, we had to shift to online mode of teaching where we had to reorganize and revise the expected output.4 But that latter half of the semester made me realize the difficulties that were coming up due to the nature of the interaction. These realizations stopped me from joining an online studio in the following semester but I assisted in courses other than a design studio. The kind of interactions that I had with the students during that semester gave me the confidence to participate in an online studio.
Another set of concerns grew around the idea of working with group of students who unfortunately had a foundation that was completed and cured from a distance and how would I be able to facilitate their learning in a way that builds a conviction about their work and education. While I was debating this and my position as a TA in a studio internally, I had the chance to read Neil Gaiman’s book Art Matters and in that he says “… individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.”5 Readings like this have been important to me and they have become guiding points in many significant decisions of my life. Given all this, here I am preparing for the new semester with a team of tutors who are not only generous enough to offer me this opportunity but also bringing with them a fresh perspective on architectural education.
Cheers to the new beginning!
- Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke – Letter Six
- Art matters by Neil Gaiman