In January 2018, 16 Deakin students worked with 15 students from Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and tree students from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) to create seven design proposals for an Anganwadi Centre in Ajjarkad, Udupi. An Anganwadi centre is a typology for a maternal care and children’s early learning centre targeted at elevating equitable access to health and well-being in India.

lntercultural Dialogue through Design (iDiDe) is an international design workshop led by Ms Susan Ang and Mr Michael Sharman. The study tour program has a transcultural themed agenda achieved through contribution to social architecture, immersion of cultural (in-country) experiences and international collaboration.

During the three week program which included intensive design studio, students worked in collaborative groups with academics, architects and built environment professionals who offered local expertise and mentorship. The designs students created for in Ajjarkad were informed by local community stakeholder involvement and feedback.

The stakeholders meetings were an informative means of gaining critical experience and information through face-to-face interaction. Communication was a key aspect of the presentation process, with language barriers challenging the student’s ability to deliver their proposals. The feedback received was insightful and paramount to the development of group concepts.

The students also held a children’s workshop to expose them to the fundamental needs, ideals, characteristics and behavioural attributes of the local children. Immersing themselves through craft, games and interactive programs allowed students to understand how the children operate and what they value.

The proposed designs were presented in a Public Exhibition within MAHE and will be on display at Deakin’s School of Architecture and Built Environment on Thursday 12 July, 2018.

Supporting the cultural immersion experience, time was spent exploring local heritage sites and the UNESCO listed temple, Sringeri Sharada Peetham. Students were exposed to renowned architecture by Charles Correa, and a School for Children designed by architect Gerard da Cunha. To give back to the under privileged community of Ajjarkad, Udupi the students donated a potted garden and water filter purchased through the generous fundraising efforts of Deakin staff and students.

iDiDe Exhibition of student work and student experiences will be open to the public from 12 to 26 July 2018 at the Geelong Waterfront Campus, A+B Gallery.  The exhibition opening launch will held on Thursday 12 July, 2018 at 11 am.  Please rsvp your attendance to the launch through the following link:

In Trimester 3 2018 Manipal University will host iDiDe again and we look forward to collaborating and furthering our work in intercultural student learning and research on integral sustainable designs for another Anganwadi Centre in Karnataka, India.   Applications for iDiDe Trimester 3 2018 are now open, please contact Susan Ang for further information click here to apply.