Critical Jugaad: Marginal Making Practices from the Global South
Dr. Deepa Butoliya
Tuesday, June 15 2021: 11:30am-1pm PDT
Design, however critical, does not emerge exclusively in closed studios of designers or classrooms; it happens at sites of the everyday struggle to survive, to resist, and to subvert. To acknowledge such diverse perspectives, I explore and analyze the ingenious making practices from the Global South, known as jugaad, a Hindi word for making, making-do, and survival in the face of scarcity of resources. This practice of jugaad is often symbolized by a make-do solution using found objects. However, that is a limitation of its understanding in the western references. Jugaad is a state of mind, a way of critical yet collective thinking, which is a legitimate informal code of living in a society where resources are limited for the marginalized. Often jugaad does not get the recognition it deserves as a designerly practice, as it is often antithetical to the western colonial foundations of design. There is an imminent need to challenge the Eurocentric narratives in design and introduce an alternative that takes into account pluriversal perspectives (Mignolo, 2011; Escobar, 2012). I will introduce the term critical jugaad as a decolonizing methodology through various modes of representation, discourse, and practice, in particular at the intersection of the Global South and critical design. My research aims to answer the question of how do we move beyond a western logic of criticality in design through critical jugaad that takes into account pluriversal perspectives that engage with deeper social, cultural, political, and economic conditions of practices emerging from the marginal contexts of the Global South.
Dr. Deepa Butoliya is an Assistant Professor at Stamps School of Art and Design at the University of Michigan. Dr. Butoliya's research areas are Speculative and Critical Design, Biodesign, and the marginal designerly practices and maker spaces from the Global South. Her research is located at the intersection of pluriversal worldviews and resource constraint-driven design. She has over 10 years of experience in design research and design education and is an Industrial designer and architect by training. She received her doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University in 2018.