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The pandemic has brought the world to a standstill but the fervour of learning at Anant National University (AnantU) continues despite the challenges. To continue its quest for learning, AnantU and its team of academicians have successfully launched a new live interactive webinar series under the knowledge sharing umbrella, ‘By Design’. In this series, students from AnantU, along with a panel of distinguished speakers and AnantU faculty and other attendees, are encouraged to initiate dialogues about the world of Built Environment and Design Thinking.

On May 20, AnantU hosted the third webinar on ‘Architecture Practices X.0’ under the ‘By Design’ knowledge series. It was conducted with Architect Partho Dutta, Principal Designer, Populous Studio, New York, and Architect Meeta Patel, chartered member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, as our esteemed panellists. The webinar discussed myriad topics from the evolution of architectural practices in studios and on-site executions to what the future holds for young aspirants and graduates.

On May 27, a webinar on ‘Temples of Tamil Nadu as Cultural Institutions’ was conducted which focussed on the architectural development of these temples along with their role and impact in the local society, economics, politics and more. The webinar also aimed at spreading awareness about how these institutions have much to teach, beyond their exclusively religious contribution. Our esteemed panellist, Mr Pradeep Chakravarthy, a historian and a behaviourist, offered his holistic view on the topic with simple and interesting anecdotes.

On May 30, the 5th webinar on ‘Relevance of a Master’s in Design During COVID-19’ was held. It focused on how holding a Master’s Degree in Design could aid one in possessing the right set of skills required to play a key role in addressing any situation with a multidisciplinary approach. With the constant growing need for individuals with robust design skills and capabilities, a Master’s programme could prove to be beneficial for individuals. The panellists for the webinar were Professor Ashima Banker, Director, Master of Urban Design Programme, AnantU and Professor Rattan Gangadhar, Director, Master of Integrated Product Design Programme , AnantU.

On June 6, a webinar on ‘Community Engagement for Urban Transformations’ was conducted with the intent of leading an engaging discussion on how COVID-19 has exposed the many lingering issues of urbanisation. The panellists for the webinar were Nihal Perera, Professor of Urban Planning at Ball State University, Indiana, USA, and the Founder and Director of CapAsia, and Prathima Manohar, an entrepreneur with a focus on sustainable living and eco-tourism. They divulged and debated on whether community engagement is effective for urban transformations. They also addressed important questions which would empower communities to make a better, safer and healthier future for themselves.

On June 16, AnantU hosted a webinar on ‘Indian Luxury Craft and Street-side Jugaad’. It discussed India’s diverse culture which has brewed over the years and been passed down from one generation to the next. The rich, multi-faceted, varied culture of India is on the verge of extinction. At the same time, the hubbub of Indian streets has given birth to many new cultural motifs. The webinar discussed ways to reconcile these contradicting scenarios. The speaker for the webinar was Gunjan Gupta, Founder, Studio Wrap.

On June 17, a webinar titled, ‘Poetry and Society – Understanding India through its Poetic History’ was conducted. The webinar talked about how poetry is closely related to the material and nonmaterial cultural aspects of any land. It is said that to understand what makes a region special, one must understand its poetry. For this very purpose, two esteemed speakers held an enriching discussion. Two esteemed speakers, Virat Nehru, Sydney-based writer and film critic and Kulsum Thakore, Senior Recruitment Consultant, held an enriching discussion where they addressed poetry’s importance and the bond it shares with the heart.

On June 23, the 10th webinar titled, ‘Sustainable Fashion and Design Education’ was conducted. During the webinar, the panellists engaged in a discussion about the importance of educating young minds to be responsible and conscious about sustainable fashion and design education. The panellists for the webinar were Shilpa Sharma, an entrepreneur associated with textile, craft and lifestyle retail space and Himanshu Shani, Creative Director of CellDSGN Pvt. Ltd. It was moderated by Harmeet Bajaj, Director, Fashion and Textile Design Programme, AnantU.

On June 24, a webinar on ‘Land Use Implications of Building a Healthy City,’ organised by USAID-funded Building Healthy Cities (BHC) project in collaboration with AnantU was conducted. It explored how land use approaches, design principles and regulations could guide in building healthy and liveable cities. The webinar identified the efforts needed to transform the built environment in a sustainable manner. The webinar, moderated by Dr Anuradha Jain, USAID India Mission, had Amanda Pomeroy Stevens, Project Director for the USAID-Building Healthy Cities Project, Rejeet Mathews, Head of Urban Development, WRI India and Professor Ashima Banker, Professor and Director of the Master of Urban Design Programme, AnantU as the esteemed panellists.

On June 27, the 12th webinar titled, ‘Musings with Architect Revathi Kamath’ was held. The webinar explored the architectural journey of Architect Revathi Kamath over the span of thirty years, along with her keen focus on ecologically and socially sustainable designs. The speaker Revathi Kamath, a Delhi-based architect and planner, and a pioneer of mud architecture in India. discussed her experiments with sustainable materials and construction techniques. The webinar was moderated by Nishita Kedia, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, AnantU.