Eat healthy OR die filthy!  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Working on the ‘eat healthy or die filthy’ project was quite a healthy learning experience for me. Starting the project, brainstorming the ideas and coming up with an exiting one was a tedious exercise. But when the discussions started, we went on discussing about the current issues humans are facing and what could we work as a research team to help people.

The title ‘Eat healthy or Die filthy’ was an abrupt idea from our team while thinking about the topic. This was when I was discussing about a program, which I saw, on BBC, named, ‘Freaky eaters’. Further discussing about the title, I thought from my personal observation that, hearing the name ‘Freaky eaters’ provoked me to watch the show on the BBC channel. So we decided to keep the title bold and catchy. I also watched a program ‘super slim vs. super skinny’ on channel 4, which influenced me for thinking about the issue of poor eating diets. Watching unrelated documentaries, a couple of months back, on the TV proved useful. I feel so because, I had seen them while having my meals and they became useful information and a motivational kick for our project.

We all are from different cultural backgrounds, like, David is from the UK, Ahmed is from Saudi Arabia, Jegan from Srilanka and I am from India. This proved useful for us as we shared useful information regarding the food traditions, rituals and festivals in our respective countries. We came up with the issue of obesity in children, especially, the nursery children. Jegan, Ahmed and I explained the traditions and our experiences in Srilanka, Saudi Arabia and India, which we observed. We discussed about the growing hype of burgers and pizzas in the east and south Asian countries. We watched a couple of videos, on Youtube, of obese people. We also referred different articles on the Internet related to the increasing problem of poor diet in the nurseries. Dividing the work of literature research in four of us made it easier and quicker way of gathering more information within a short span.

Initially the ideas weren’t substantial but after searching for literature over the Internet and consequent discussions with Dr. Catriona MacAulay, we finalised a subject for concentration. We were now working on a research proposal about what factors are responsible for the poor diet of the nursery children. Again, each of us, being from different cultural background, discussed the scenario of the factors responsible for obesity in each country, such as, I discussed that, India was a country of villages and farmers. Eating more oily and fatty food was useful for the farmers working on the fields in earlier days, but currently the diet remains the same although the lifestyles have changed. People have started working in IT companies. The jobs they perform mostly comprise of sitting at one place for long hours, which is the prime reason for increasing obesity and related diseases. David and Dr. Catriona explained how the invention of heaters, in early 70s, decreased the burning of calories due to cold, which resulted in increase of obesity in Britain. We discussed about the difference in our childhoods, when we were in nurseries, and the situation right now.

Considering the exchange of Ideas and experiences discussed by us I feel that, brainstorming is a greatest exercise I have learnt by working on the earlier semester’s project and this one. Earlier, I was completely concentrating on individual work after a brief given by the client to work on a design.

It was a valuable experience working with an ethnographer. In our team Jegan was the only ethnographer and we three were designers. Being designers, our thinking was result oriented, with a substantial design outcome as a solution, for the problem. But ethnographers concentrate more on the research part of the problem and gathering information, which changed my vision towards a design solution. I thought, every time, being a designer, I think of a substantial design output, but never thought that a deep research study would be more multipurpose instead of running behind a design solution, which I did in the past. I learnt that putting more efforts into the research initially, than thinking about the design solution, widens the scope of the anticipated design outcome.

Working with the Gantt charts was the most important thing for me in this project. Up till now, I wasn’t aware of this method for planning the budget and the timeline of a project.

A detailed budget was impossible without a team while working on the monetary part of the project and discussing the financial needs throughout the research project. Each of us came with a different need throughout the time span, while discussing the proposal. Working on the time line of the project was a tough task, but all of us, being from a different field of study, and having commercial experience, it became easy as we went on. Jega, because of his experience in management in his previous employments, was fast and quick in visualising the Gantt chart and plotting down the information.

Working on the Gantt chart gave me an idea of developing a business model of my master’s project, which I elaborated in the 2500 word journalistic write up. I found useful for planning my master’s project in a timescale with the costs involved in each phase.

Initially, we planned to go for a project, which would last for three years, but then after having a chat with Dr. Catriona MacAulay, we finalised to work on a research report as the outcome of the project, rather than a substantial design outcome. Again being diversified due to our respective fields, we had different views in the dissemination part of the research proposal. This was a good point as it created a huge amount of Ideas for us to rate and it led to a variety of options to select as final.

Working with an ethnographer in the project was an added advantage for figuring out the research methods and methodologies for the research in depth. While working on the methods and methodologies, we referred the IDEO method cards from the library. We thought of active research as a major part of the research methods we discussed, which eventually provoked the idea of involving nutritionists, child psychologists in our research team.

Working on the presentation part of the research proposal, we distributed the time in four of us, according to our comfort and expertise. David was good in starting the presentation by creating a positive environment, which he did effectively. Ahmed was good at management of money and Jega was good in managing the planning and timescales as he had worked in visualising the Gantt chart, so they both elaborated the costs and Gantt chart respectively. I elaborated the research question and methods and methodologies required for the project.

Giving a presentation was much easier than in the last semester. It was more confident and a positive feeling remained while presentation was on. I feel that, after entering into the professional world, the level of confidence and presentation skills would be much more developed.

Group on facebook  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

I just started a group named 'online social networking for stress relief' on facebook. Until now 20 members have joined the group. I am eagerly waiting for a broader response and being from an advertising school, I am publicising my group widely. I am also searching for related groups like, counter terrorism, social networking, internet & websites, etc. and sending the administrators of the respective groups a personal message to join my group.

I want to carry out my research through discussion forums and understand their psychology through short and decent questionnaires. I have already started a forum and put in two simple questions for people to answer. Response is slow and I think I need to do the marketing of my group in depth.

Digital creative arts against terrorism  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

I have now changed the anticipated outcome for my masters project into a positive one. The concept is the same, "counter terrorism". I was quite depressed and disturbed reading about the radicalisation of young Muslims. Terrorism is a broader arena so I thought to turn towards the post terror event trauma suffered by general people, people who are suffering from a terror attack or the survivors of an attack. I am looking forward to understand the psychology of people suffering from depression because of these issues. Media hype about terror events is also increasing gradually making the environment more depressed.

I was just surfing through the web and encountered a website, This website is a simple portal with uploaded images from the people world wide. It contains images uploaded by people with their families, individuals or any snaps with a slogan "we are not afraid". This website was a medium for people to unite together and give a message to the radicals about their fearless attitude. This also was a notion of confidence building among the people.

I was reading through the art therapy for de-stressing people suffering from traumatic conditions. Drawing is a creative medium for expressing oneself and quite a pleasant activity as well (stating from my personal experience). Considering these things, I thought of developing a website comprehending creative art such as drawing, music composition, poetry writing, etc. in a digital paradigm. My project advisor suggested me to involve social networking into the website as a prime criteria. Resultant of this, the website would be a social networking website including digital creative art as the main aspect.

Now I am looking forward towards involving my peers in an interview and understanding their idea about their way of tackling depression, usage of internet when being depressed and such other things. A question and priority for myself, at the moment, is to generate a profound idea which would be a pitch-able product after my masters.

Live surgery  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

I had a chance to watch a live surgery today. It was a colon surgery, the patient was suffering from crohn's disease. Initially, I though I would faint in the operation theatre, but the environment was quite friendly and not serious at all. There was music running on a small music system, doctors were chatting and cracking jokes while answering to our questions.

As I am working in a group in a project of redesigning a surgical stapler, the motive behind watching the live surgery was to understand the use of the surgical stapler. It basically consisted to observe the storage, its use by the prime stake holders, the surgeon, assistant surgeon and the scrub nurse, to learn about the usage of its packaging, and handling of the stapler by the surgeon and his assistant. A lot of information was revealed after watching the actual live procedure with the stapler's use.

It was an unforgettable morning in my life. Earlier, in the last days of my school, I used to feel like becoming a doctor and performing a surgical procedure. In my childhood, I used to perform a fake kiddies surgery on my grand parents while they were asleep, pasting wet white papers on their body as bandages. My grandpa also used to enjoy and praise the performance, making a relieving sound as a disguise of feeling better after the surgery. Today, even if I didn't perform a surgery, I actually felt like being a doctor. The picture below elaborates my feelings neatly. :)

That's Fiona (my colleague) and me, watching the surgery with a broad smile. :)


Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

RESQROLL is a product invented and designed by Mr. Brian Carling. Its an amazing concept created to reduce the risk of spinal damage after an accident. Mr. Brian elaborated his process of designing this masterpiece product in the session on Tuesday 16th of February.

RESQROLL is a product designed to prevent post accident damages to the spine of an injured person. It may be any accident. According to Mr. Brian, the human spine bears the impact of the accident becomes weak. If after an accident the person is abruptly extricated, his spine may suffer a permanent damage. In this context, RESQROLL provides a solution for these post accidental damages.

To initiate the designing of the product, Mr. Brian started rough and random sketches, which he emphasised as an essential method to start any design. He also elaborated about the research he had to do in designing the product. The questions he encountered while designing were, the weight of the product, its reusability, materials to be used and its ease of use for any person. The point on which he was emphasising while the lecture was, to double the time schedule of any research project we undertake. He also revealed that he did the project while working on his existing job. That was a really inspiring insight to see someone be so much successful with strong will, determination and positive attitude.

It was really a valuable session. I got a glimpse of how a product with an innovative idea is designed from a scratch if you are determined. I also learned to be confident and believe on your instincts.


Ambaba is a company which develops reusable nappy pads for children. This company is run by Mel Woods and Roz Henderson. They make nappies which can be used for the kids, from infancy till they start using the toilets.

Personally, I am unaware about the nappy context as I haven't seen the use of nappies in my surroundings. Still, I found the project interesting. I felt motivated with the idea, basically to work for something which would encourage ecological balance. The idea of a disposable nappy and its design as a solution for ecological balance as well as its aesthetic model to make it look better as compared to the other hugely sized disposable nappies is an innovative venture, which I never thought of before.

This project motivated me to think about many more ecological issues today, which we face like the issue of non degradable medical products, the need of waste management, etc. It also provoked me to think from the disposable point of view in the medical stapler packaging design project, which I am currently working on.

Writing an email  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Today we had an eye opening lecture about writing formal emails by Dr Kathleen Mcmillan who is an academic writing advisor in our university.

I was in a blind mindset of polite email writing, until she described it as an Indian standard of writing an email. I learnt that the use of words such as "Can you kindly do...", which I wrote in almost every formal email of mine, was actually a negative way of approaching the recipient. Also the use of "Respected sir" as a salutation mark is inappropriate, as it exaggerates the plea of application, which was again used repeatedly by me in my emails. I wonder how much miscommunication I would have caused due to these minor things in my emails to the university staff, my tutors and other elder people up till now.

The lecture was quite interesting and humorous comparing emails with the other forms of communication such as telephone, text messages on a mobile or a one to one conversation. I learnt about the phrasal verbs, which must not be used in the emails and its relation to the history of German, French and Latin languages.

It was really an useful session to understand formal email writing, which is the most important way of communication in today's world.

Multimedia solution on "Dementia"  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

We had a lecture on a research project led by Dr Norman Alm, a Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Computing, University of Dundee. It was an interesting lecture about how the use of multimedia and technology can help elderly people suffering from dementia to express themselves.

He was describing about the context of the design problem, like, people suffering from dementia usually talk on same things repeatedly, which sometimes can be irritating for the care takers. While Dr. Norman Alm was explaining about the project and their team's interaction with elderly people, I recalled the memories with my grand mother. She wasn't suffering from dementia, but being old, she always wanted to share her stories and incidences in the past with we, young people. Sometimes, even if the stories were interesting it wasn't always possible for us to sit near her and listen to her stories. This project just gave me a nostalgic feeling about my interaction with my grand mother and felt that, such an interactive venture would be tipping point in terms of interacting with the elderly people, especially those suffering with dementia.

The project also made me think of the emerging problems and extraordinary design solutions. It changed my view towards design, and gave me a glimpse of an innovative design solution for a persistent problem. Listening to the lecture also helped me understand the experiences of Dr. Norman with his team mates, like selecting a research team, working with people of different background in teams, management of the team, etc.

It was an insightful and motivational lecture

Balloon quest  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

On Monday, we had an amazing experience of briefing our Master's project. We were given a set of 15 questions and we had to answer them visually. It was not a regular write up task, on a sheet of paper, but it was answering those questions through a strange and interesting way. We had to blow 15 balloons and draw the 15 answers on each of the balloons.

I found it a quite interesting way of doing a task in a different way. It created an atmosphere of enthusiasm in the class. It was fun, everybody was helping each other in blowing the balloons, as it was the task of exhaustion. I feel that, because of this method my involvement in the task was more than what it would have been if it was mere writing on a sheet of paper.

from jail to jihad  

Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

I watched a documentary, “From jail to jihad”, which was broadcasted on Monday, 16th of June 2008, at 8.00 PM, on Channel 4. It is based on the radicalization of British prisoners into extremists on false Islamic ideologies. It also deals with the problems faced as well as measures taken by the British government to neutralize these youngster's religious beliefs and stop the spread of extremism.

Reporter Mr. Amil Khan reveals how the prisoners are misled through extremists inside the prison by addressing false Islamic preaching to the young prisoners, or by supplying of DVDs containing the speeches of some Islamic revolutionaries, or through literature material distributed inside the prison. These young prisoners are motivated, through this preaching, to commit crimes and violence against non-Muslim masses and are convinced by their guru extremists that, if committed against any non-Muslim, Islam justifies these acts. British government is also now taking strict measures to allocate Imams for friday prayers, who are highly qualified and righteous in Islamic ideologies.

These youngsters are full of anguish due to the street lives they live in. Extremists take advantage of these troubled youngsters and contact them either by staying outside the mosques or through the prisons. They gradually drag them into terrorist activities, blinding them on the false religious beliefs and radicalize them into Jihad, for the sake of Allah, the almighty.

I am now thinking of using this context to be the focusing point of my project. I am thinking about how advertising design can change the viewpoints of these youngsters, towards Islam, political violence, and terrorism. Concluding this, my campaign would now be targeted towards these radicalized youngsters.


Posted by Ketan Kulkarni

Design to combat terrorism, is the topic for my Masters this year. Its a vast subject with varied definitions, none of which are substantial. All sorts of questions arise while you think about the topic. The first question is, why? Why does this happen? Why would they do it? Who motivates these people to this extent?

Terrorism, from what I am trying to understand, is not just the national attacks, suicide bombings, hijacks. The violent acts harming innocent or unarmed masses, rebellion of students in universities can also be termed as terrorism. Before I start to read - although I have just started reading on the topic - when I was thinking about terrorism, I imagined about the terrorism in Kashmir, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, the hugely hyped 9/11 attack on the twin towers, and such major events. But then I realized that its just a part of terrorism, though the events which have occurred are major ones.

I came to know that a student rebellion, which is against an institution, organization or university can also be called as terrorism. The protests, rallies, sometimes create destruction in the offices or campuses of the university, mostly not harming the innocents. I feel myself as a terrorist as well, when I recall those moments of my college life. We all did rebellions against the university for certain demands in favor of the students. We used to go out for rallies and protests on the road of Pune, walking or sometimes on our bikes. Only once we had the interference of police and the leaders of our rebellion were arrested for a short period of time. Luckily, I wasn't any of the leaders and also not present there at that time.

One more question I am thinking on is, why is the Islamic religion usually under the suspect of terrorism? Almost all the names we hear about the terrorists or terrorist organizations, those are from the islamic religion. I have a lot of good friends who are from the same religion and sometimes are frustrated due to these acts, as the whole religion becomes a target due to some minorities.

Being a graduate from a design school and advertising and illustration as my major subjects, I want to concentrate on an advertising campaign for counter terrorism. Use of visual communication to make people be aware and understand about any suspicious acts going around them, which would lead to any violence. I want to understand how people communicate regarding these issues, like websites, posters, rallies - like the recent ones in Mumbai after the mumbai terror attacks- , news papers, etc. Other things I want to understand is the design of building structures. If we consider the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminal station in Mumbai and compare it with the Kings Cross station in London, what are the major differences in the two in terms of security?

These are some of my ideas and future prospects of my research on my masters project. Please suggest or comment about your views, or any valuable information you have, which would help me explore the subject.