Ask questions in the comments section of the blog and post or write to me at and I will answer through this blog.


So want to do a Masters?

( here is the text in my words)

Exploration – explore this blog and the links.
These are the first steps
1. See the Pathways (link in sidebar) for the various masters areas in Industrial design.
2. See Research (link in sidebar) for the research culture in the School.
3. See the RMIT International Site for the application process 4. See the links to ‘reps’ in your city. And go and meet the reps or go directly through RMIT International.
5. Through discussions with either one of the local reps or RMIT International ensure that you meet our entrance requirements for post graduate study.

Next Steps: Once you have decided that YES you want undertake a masters at RMIT – Industrial Design and yes you are eligible, here is what you have to do.
1. There are two application forms, one for RMIT International and one for the School, download these from RMIT International and School of Architecture and Design . Do not complete these application forms yet but use them as a reference for the following steps.
2. Decide upon your research topic. Work out a sketchy proposal – detailing your proposed project; focus on the what, how and why. Use the school application form as a guide.
3. Select a supervisor, see pathways, and send the proposal to them with a CC to Malte ( who is the research coordinator in Industrial Design.
4. Get an in-principle agreement from your chosen supervisor.
5. Now complete both application forms.
6. Contact RMIT International to put in your application and supporting material.
7. Follow up remaining steps to make your journey to Australia.

The Industrial Design Community at RMIT and other such

The ID program at RMIT is a 250 (approx) strong community. Of the staff (faculty, teachers are referred to as staff here) there are ten continuing (meaning permanent staff) and another 30 odd sessional (meaning visiting, part time, semester wise) staff.
The ten continuing staff each has an area of specialization (their research and teaching focus) and they teach (guide) their projects from these perspectives. You can see pictures of all these staff in the people section of the Industrial Web site – but of course these days this is under maintenance.

The program has a workshop (modeling laboratory is what we call it here) (approx 1000 sq yards) – that is equipped to handle all the model and prototype making needs of the students and staff. The workshop has three continuing (permanent) staff. Each semester for the model making courses teachers/ tutors are drawn on from the pool of visiting/casual staff of the program.

The student community now: At the undergraduate level there are about 230 students and at the PG level (masters and PhD) level there are currently 15 (approx) students. Approximately 30% of the community is female. A good 20% of the community is international students – mainly from SE Asia. A number of students typically from Europe and the US also come to spend a semester or so as exchange or study abroad students. About 10-15% of the students are “mature age: – which means they have not come straight out of school – but are looking at a career change. Among the mature age students are: a doctor, a chef, a vehicle mechanic and an engineer.

This makes for a complex and diverse community. And teaching is a challenge of a particular sort. The ethnic diversity is also huge. You will se students of Italian, greek, indian, chinese and middle eastern ancestry. In one class in 2004 I asked for a show of hands for students of pure English ancestry – and one hand went up.

Sid (Siddharth) Marwah is a recent graduate who teaches CAD these days in the program. He worked for many years as a security guard to make money while he was a student. In December last year he went to Delhi and worked with Nexus (Devesh and Pratyay). His relatives live in Gurgaon and Sahibabad.

Nirmal Menon is in the first year. He transferred out of the RMIT engineering program after the first semester. He is from Singapore and was in a class I taught this semester.

There are many more Indians in Engineering than in Design. In fact the city is literally swarming with young Indians doing a second degree after completing their Engineering degree in india. Many taxi drivers I have encountered have been students doing their MIT (masters in info tech). Many of them are in the hope of getting a PR- permanent residency. They very rarely speak about returning to India. It appears that the 2year masters is a transition period into living and working in Australia. They often speak of the better life in Australia. Soumitri are you working for immigration?

Indian food in the city is still not refined. You can’t get a decent dosa – you can get pretty average ones all over town.

What Does Masters by Research at RMIT cost?

Go to RMIT International site (link in sidebar) – and click on the corresponding program. For Masters by research choose “Design and Social Context” and “Masters by Research” in the appropriate place. You should see a chart with all the courses – click on (industrial design).
Or go to the rep in your city and they will navigate through this.

So want to do/transfer to a Bachelors at RMIT?

Contact rep in your city, and/ or Contact RMIT International. Things will happen from there.

You have questions!

1. Should you be looking for a Masters by Research if you already have a masters degree? Some people have done a second masters. Ajay for one did ID after his auto engg masters. So this is not so rare.
2. What is the minimum qualification? An UG degree, in a design related area.
3. Can you work when you are studying? Masters students seem to. Some have done teaching in the UG program.

What is Masters by Research

Click on the Masters by Research link in sidebar. Also see candidate abstracts in the Graduate Research Conference section of Research. (;ID=3d4oicvct01)

RMIT Industrial Design does not have a masters by course work. It only has a masters by research. These are of two types – by thesis and by project.
In one sense it is like a two year long final thesis or diploma project that you may done during your ID education. But that is not all- the premium is on innovation. And in that sense it is valuable – like a small PhD type study. There is also an emphasis on a risky and innovative adventure. Your masters project has to have an edge (!), a spirit and a strong angle to it.

project easy

project easy is an information resource, and an attempt at transparency about ID in RMIT, in Melbourne, Australia.
This is the location of FAQ info about studying industrial design at RMIT.
and as such is to back up my conversations throughout my trip to India in November 2005.

Is it Over

You think so. But is it really?

It is a learning project, and it has this punctuation. This point at which we sit back and ask: So how far have we come? What has it meant?

And do we have what it takes to keep going?


( A) Reflective Essay
Write a 1500 word essay reflecting upon your learning journey through the semester. You can use the SWOT analysis to help you. You can also visit the blogs of some of your classmates for inspiration on the way to write reflectively. Your essay has to demonstrate an understanding of your abilities and shortcomings in learning in a reflective fashion. You also have to demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of reflective practice.

(B) Paper Lantern
You are required to make a 6’ high paper lantern out of paper and wire. In making the lantern you have to visually document your experiments with paper. The final product has to be photographed and presented along with the picture of the processes in an A4 poster. You then have to reflect upon the ‘method’ and the meaning of doing design in this fashion.

(C) Design Method Essay
Write a 1500 word essay on either of the following topics:
1. Methods to improve creativity
2. Methods to solve problems
To develop the essay you could use the questioning technique, and refer to the handouts given through the semester. Your essay has to demonstrate an understanding of the overall area and a few specific methods in detail.


If you receive this it is because in your two peer reviews the critique has found your overall progress inadequate for the grade you have chosen. You work for the semester in this course is thus inadequate.
Mid semester crit and counselling
You may in the recent past have had a conversation with me in which you have agreed to complete a set of tasks to push your learning along. However you have not completed these tasks.
Incomplete learning
1. I am now asking you to undertake and finish all or some of the tasks listed below. You will receive a separate email listing the tasks that you need to complete.
2. You have to do these tasks and get a certificate of satisfactory completion from me to receive a grade for this course.
1. Your last dates for submission are as follows:
a. 1st date: 1st November
b. 2nd date: 26th November. This is with extension – so you have fill up an extension form (with Brian) and get it signed by me.
All submissions can be through your Blog or as hard copy handouts.
If you use the blog: You have to post your work in the Blog and get me to review it. You have to mail me specifically to notify me – by email – that you want a specific post looked at.

Your Learning Journey

I have all the documentation from the whole semester in front of me. This is:
1. Your reviews from 26th Oct.
2. Your reviews from the middle of the semester.
3. Your books.
4. Your Grade aspiration

Each of you individually has had a unique experience through the course. You have learnt many things. You have had many difficulties negotiating your way through the course. Some of this may have had to do with a conflict between your idea of what constituted the practice of industrial design as you understood it to be and what you were exposed to though the course.

You dealt with a lot of the new material that you encountered in the course in your individual ways – facing up to it, ignoring it, adapting your ways to it. Many of you at many times through the course encountered feelings of inadequacy – which this conflict gave rise to. In the end you may have come though in your own way.

What is apparent from the profusion of documentation you have produced is a journey, a process of learning. And a process of unlearning – which is more significant in some ways than learning new things.

I am attempting now a closure of the exercise. In this process the task before me is to comprehend your aspirations and match these aspirations to your learning experience. In simple words if you have high aspirations then your learning goals – as portrayed in your individual spider diagrams – will be many faceted. If you have competing interests in your life then your aspirations may be modest. And so to the task of closure – which requires me to match your desire for learning and how adequately you have fulfilled that desire.

Many of you in your reflections have been completely honest both with your self and with the people in the room on 26th. You have said you could have done a lot more. Or you have said you wished you had started earlier. Or you may just have confronted me earlier, even in the first few weeks, to get more clarity for your self. The chart in the beginning of the semester was a ‘tough problem’ and many of you, rather than attack it, set it aside. But all that is in the realm of what may have been. What I am keen on is what ought to be!

For one I am keen to maintain the grades you have chosen. At the same time I am keen to complete your learning journey. My task, therefore, is not over.

So here is the thing:
1. For some of you the learning journey is incomplete.
2. I would like you to complete it: For example if you haven’t reflected – I would like you to do the reflective essay.

So – Please speak to me about this. And ask me what I think you ought to do.

Research is tough

Research is a tough thing to do – if only because it immediately goes into some other professional paradigm. And the desire to do it disappears. Design people do things because they are passionate and excited about things – chiefly change or signature objects. How are these things to be constructed as research.

This can be done post facto but how does one do it before the fact?


Follow this link to see where your new posts show up. Where every new post shows up!

“So Feeds it is
By soumitri
Warren told me about this yesterday. Apparently this is what the “IT” content magangers do. A blog that captures all other blogs and ‘feeds’. And is a way to revolutionise my life – for months I have been trawling through individual blogs and often the trawling has been unproductive – juts taking time – and now the new posts show up as numbers in this blog. Sounds good!!”

Should Lap Tops be Mandatory?

Was looking around and saw this at the RISD site: the rhode island school of design is one of those design schools that have stayed pure to design – unlike uni programs of design which have sold out to various brands of academic discourse. so ‘et tu risd?’ i am prompted to ask. or as we tamils say it – ‘you also a risd’.

It basically says:

“Laptop Computer Requirement: All students in the Industrial Design Department are required to purchase a laptop computer, software, upgrades and insurance specified by the department. For more information call the department at 401 454-6160.”

Now the question is – what does this mean?
1. Is the future going to be one in which the laptop is ubiquitous?
2. Or is the present one of ubiquitous laptops – and its jjust us at RMIT who haven’t gottn on to the bandwagon?
3. Is this the last we are seeing of laptops in design schools before they are banished forever?

Looking at the long period in history – especially as people who have to be in the future, and action it for others by initiating adoption – what are we seeing? Can we read the trend correctly and go in the right direction? Or should we follow our current ideas?