Kristian Vedel Amrik Kalsi 2006 (3 of 7) dansk

[Klasserom, Kenya]

With income generati­on, as a focus, the design challenges had to cross the normal bounda­ries of traditional design thinking or skills. This made traditional thinkers, at the Department of Design, uncomfortable and insecure, thus their opposition to his revolutionary thinking and approach to design theory and practice to meet the development needs of the country.

Kristian Vedel encouraged the students to question the colonial oriented design education and practice and to research for a new identity in the context of the developing world’s needs. The students began to explore new potentials of design in the developing economy of Kenya. His new direction had a pioneering fresh approach. By prioritising the development needs, the aca­demic curriculum firmly established a more humanistic role of design and thus demonstra­ted its effectiveness and relevance to a newly developing country. This approach also ensured that products would remain close to local cultural practices and thrive on the diversity.

Some of his efforts continued, in some ways for some time, but the emphasis and enthusiasm tapered, after his departure in 1971 from Kenya. Over time, the changing trends and development priorities also contributed towards this effect.

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