Carter Manny Award

  • Crafting Expertise: Art and Design Pedagogy and Professional Values at the National Institute of Design in India, 1955–1985
    Vishal Khandelwal

Elementary design exercises published in "National Institute of Design Documentation 1964-69," mid-to-late 1960s, India. Copyright National Institute of Design-Archive, Ahmedabad

Vishal Khandelwal, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, Department of the History of Art is the recipient of the 2020–21 Carter Manny Writing Award.

This dissertation examines how product designers, applied artists, and design critics affiliated with postcolonial India’s most innovative design academy, the National Institute of Design (est. 1961), mobilized new pedagogical initiatives, media representations, and designed objects to emphasize national consciousness, environmental awareness, and earthly and communal belonging. Case studies explore design theorization, design and art objects, institutional politics, and the reception of design in mass media, illuminating how discourses on the market, industry, urbanism, and village economies were brought to bear on artistic and design practice in ways that transformed the nature of these practices into a kind of applied ethics. The dissertation argues that industrial designers and their collaborators in postcolonial India extended and repurposed colonial design practices to provide models for ethical behavior rooted in alternative visions for global capitalism that gained urgency within the specific context of postcolonial India, but ultimately had implications for the world at large.

Vishal Khandelwal is a PhD candidate in the History of Art department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His dissertation research and writing have been funded by a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School, and stipends and grants from the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Decorative Arts Trust, and the University of Michigan. Khandelwal received his BA in art history and economics from DePauw University, and has an MA in art history from the University of Michigan. He is grateful to all the archivists and librarians who made his dissertation research possible.