This week we were at Goldmsiths, University of London catching up with Indian student Rhea Bhandari. In this interview Rhea talks about what inspired her to study Design in London, her advice for other Indian students wanting to study in London, and her aspirations for the future.
How did you choose your course and university?
The BA Design course at Goldsmiths is one of a kind. It’s a comprehensive course where students are exposed to all design pathways – industrial, textile, graphic, service and system design, along with coding, physical computing and photography.
It is also the Number 1 design college in the UK – 2015 and 2016
The best thing about the course is its faculty! All faculty members, guest lecturers, tutors and mentors are working industry professionals and are therefore well versed in the contemporary design environment.
What do you enjoy most about your course?
The fact that there is no competition, no fixed curriculum but a constant determination to innovate, create, and collaborate.
My experience at Goldsmiths has been so fulfilling because of its people. They’re so warm, welcoming and knowledgeable; and they have this constant desire to share knowledge and learn from others. We’ve just become one big family now.
The other thing I’ve enjoyed here is the studio culture. We practically live in our studios; eat, sleep, work, play, experiment and repeat. Working in this ethos is super-productive for creative beings like us as it nurtures a collaborative work culture. On the other hand, it also inspires us to work individually on completely unique and novel ideas.
Why did you choose to study in London?
London is the hub of creativity; with its museums, architecture, fashion, theatre, industry, etc. The kind of exposure I got in the three years of living in this multicultural city is unparalleled.
What have you enjoyed most during your time as a student in London?
I’ve enjoyed how easy travelling in and around the city is. As students, we want to explore all parts of the city planned or impulsively – visit its attractions, eat at quirky restaurants, attend new and cool events and talks and meet many different kinds of people from across the globe.
How would you describe London in three words?
Exhilarating, Open, Home
Can you tell us more about a project you have worked on during your time in London?
My project aimed to design solutions for the gait problems faced by people with prosthetic limbs. Gait is a person’s manner of walking.
My design solutions are based on Jugaad (a creative fix in Hindi) and Frugal innovation.
These solutions are self-learning, self-correcting tools and require minimum assistance. The patients’ gait was found to be more fluid and stable reducing the limping and jerking incidents that could occur.
Find out more here: www.rheabhandari.in
What motivated and inspired you to develop this project?
Initially, my focus was on solving problems through designing simple, affordable solutions. I explored a lot of fields that I could work in. BMVSS, being the world’s largest institute for prosthetic fitment, caught my eye. Here I saw that all patients were at the bottom of the pyramid and realised that they wouldn’t be able to afford to have assistive technology for any problems they face post fitment. An inefficient gait was one of the main problems affecting their daily life. I realised that improving their gait patterns would radically change their lives.
How does your project aim to change the world?
The gait controlling mirror and other devices have already started to change lives as they’ve been installed at rehabilitation clinics of BMVSS permanently.
My project acts as a tool to understand that acute, complex problems can be solved through frugal, low – tech solutions.
What are your plans after graduating?
I start my Master’s program in the United States at the School of Visual Arts, New York this fall. This is going to further equip me to start my career in human – centred design. I plan to work there for a couple of years before coming back to India. I intend to apply what I have learnt from the developed cities of New York and London in the context of the Indian environment.
Did you work during your studies?
I was a Bollywood Dance Instructor at Goldsmiths. This was my first time teaching and the experience was out of the world. We became like a family. The job didn’t feel like one, but it helped me support myself financially to an extent. Besides that, I worked as a member of the service industry for miscellaneous events.
Do you have any advice for other students thinking about studying in London?
See, Learn, Do, and Connect.
Make the most of your time here with the incredible opportunities that this city has to offer but don’t forget to enjoy the process!