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Center for Education, Research, Training, and Development (CERTAD)

CERTAD is a ‘design in education’ collective comprising of people from diverse backgrounds – educators, storytellers, filmmakers, technologists, mathematicians, new media designers, environmentalists, architects, artists, literary and cultural critics, performers and science enthusiasts.

As a centre for training in cutting-edge educational practices as well as continual professional development, we work collaboratively to create tools, platforms and environments for K-12 and higher education spaces, to make formal and informal learning experiences transformative, personal, playful and enabling. 


Our vision is to create capacity for long-term social, economic and environmental change in learning and within educational institutions through participative methods and processes drawn largely from art and design.  We empower, train and develop professional competencies in education and allied sectors of development and conservation.

We seek ways to engage with spaces of public education such as schools and universities, informal learning centres, museums, galleries, maker and open learning spaces, zoos and interpretation centres. CERTAD is open to collaboration with institutions of higher education and research, government and civil sectors, NGOs and development institutions in the areas of healthcare, earth and ecological sciences, technology, humanities, culture and heritage, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.


CERTAD’s portfolio of work is rooted in how ‘design as pedagogy’ can create rich learning environments to support individual and participative learning. Accordingly, our work has included:

  • - curriculum development and teacher/educator training
  • - assessment reforms in practice
  • - development of educational media, artefacts, interpretation centres, stories and experiences that investigate the world both for and with children and youth in their contexts
  • - the design and development of maker spaces for multiple age groups
  • - research and public outreach in mindfulness, meditative retreat and contemplative practices
  • - public pedagogy and place based education
  • - using embodied learning and the body as a site of investigation for performance

Research and Development

Provocative ideas form the substance of Project Vision, a research collective that currently resides within CERTAD at Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology. It has three ideals that it aspires to create through ‘disruption’ and ‘emergence’ in varied contexts through leapfrogging, tripalization (globalization, personalization and localization) and wellness (inner and outer practices). These are realized through our design interventions in mainstream and underserved communities including formal institutions and non-formal learning spaces.

Project Vision has articulated design principles, systems and pedagogical approaches that enable for innovation through simplicity and slowness. We design and operationalize K-12 curricula, liberal arts and science programs in different contexts. In addition, Project Vision has contributed and will continue to contribute to national and international debates on assessment reform by showcasing evidences in learning and achievement at both the secondary and tertiary sectors.

Project Vision provides consultancy in the above areas as well as in institutional development and creative leadership.
For more information, contact:

Programs and Initiatives


M.Des in Earth Education and Communication

Earth Education and Communication embodies the philosophical position of Earth First - a sense of thoughtful wonder, a way of being and making in awareness and in resonance with nature. It encourages thinking about co-existence and interdependence while navigating complex issues concerning the environment. Further, it engages with art, design and technology to support discovery and present information in a meaningful manner. It will appeal to both art and design practitioners as well as non-practitioners from education, engineering and environmental science backgrounds.

B.Des in Creative Education

In the burgeoning world of education, there is an increasing demand for creative practitioners to be able to rethink current practices and push the frontiers of new learning. This is not just in the K-12 school sector but also in allied fields such as content creation, teaching and learning aids/artefacts and materials, curating learning experiences in museums and galleries, building active maker spaces to foster exploration, designing interactive exhibits for visitors in parks, zoos and interpretation centres, and transforming learning spaces such as schools, labs and libraries.

Creative Educators will explore their creative interests and chalk their learning track with mentoring by a wide range of designers of books, toys, games, furniture, exhibitions, interactive apps, films and animated stories drawn from a pool of highly qualified and creative faculty.

Water: A Searious Problem - an interactive interpretative installation by 1st Year CE students

B.Voc in Creative Coding

Coding is today a creative endeavour that enables new age youth, artists, and others to use the computer as a canvas, algorithms as the paintbrush and the screen as their painting. Without a background in mathematics and formal computer sciences, coders realize the power of independent learning, ethical hacking and work to create artworks, apps, interactive exhibits, toys and games that foster deep immersive learning.

Sample Project: Surveillance Rover for Remote Tracking

This project enabled students to explore physical computing and digital making with the help of microcontrollers such as Raspberry Pi and a web camera. Their task was to design a vehicle that operates remotely without an onboard human presence. This rover collected information and passed it on to different locations through tele-operations.

M.A in Design Practices, Specialisation : Design in Education

Design in Education is relevant to anyone currently working in areas concerned with communities of learning be it government and civil services, education providers, policy makers, foundations working with CSR, edupreneurs both in formal and non-formal sectors, teachers and heads of department in schools and colleges, educational start-ups and NGOs. It includes practitioners in allied educational fields such as museums, interpretation centres, galleries, zoos, publishing houses and content designers for textbooks and other educational materials.

Design in Education is strongly anchored in design thinking and philosophical learning frameworks that will enrich professional practice and enhance job opportunities in new and emerging areas such as maker spaces, within universities and colleges who are providing design-based degrees, and as a stepping stone for individuals wanting to lead NGOs, CSRs and other institutions that intersect development and education.

Here are some blog portals of our current students:

Junuka Deshpande :
Kavita Arvind :
Preethi Vaidyanathan :
Riya Banik :
Sonia Jose :
Tulip Sinha :

Alumni Profiles

We are proud of our alumni Alisha and Lopa who have charted their own vision in design in education and taken their learnings forward.

Alisha Panjwani is a design educator and STEM Teacherpreneur. After graduating from Srishti, she went on to do her M.S in Media Arts and Science from the Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media Lab. Alisha currently runs her own studio lab SEEDS at the Acera school in Winchester, Massachusetts. She has also co-founded Duct Tape Network which is a hands-on maker club that encourages children to use open creation and make meaningful design. Alisha has won awards and fellowships for her innovative approach to both design and education.

Lopa Shah is on the Board of Academic Council and heads the Dolphin International School in Kashmir. A designer of learning, facilitator, educator and artist, she is driven to designing educational experiences for a range of socio-economic communities. Lopa has also founded and runs a practice-based research initiative ‘Native’ which designs and executes educational programs.

MA in Art Practices : Specialisation : Public Pedagogy and Art Practice

Public Pedagogy and Art Practice brings together a rich set of public practices such as cultural activism, public art, experimental pedagogy, community based art, socially engaged art, public acts/performances and internet based public art. Creative practitioners will find a space to educate, inspire, and catalyse social action.

Pathways to other Srishti programs

Information Arts and Information Design Practices (B.Des and M.Des)

In today’s information-rich world, one is constantly grappling with a range of data from the artistic and informative to the technological and social domains. Information Arts and Information Design Practices is an exploration to curate experiences and support discovery across a range of socially relevant issues. Anyone who is willing to embrace diverse kinds of media, engage with communities, analyse, evaluate and deepen their design practice with relevance to individual contexts can become an IAIDP practitioner.


CERTAD contributes to various programs at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels in Srishti.

Environmental Exposure to understand island & coastal ecology / Book cover on our love-hate relationship with Microbes

A Slice of the City - map of dual perspectives

Making Sense of Nonsense : wit and whimsy in verse

Body as Place

Story of conflict: painting with found objects

Walks and Journeys : Understanding place through lens of food

Mapping and Brainstorming of ideas

A Bioscope capturing the sights of the city

Exhibition and presentation of final work


CERTAD TALKS is an ongoing initiative to bring together eminent thinkers and practitioners to talk with invited audiences about powerful questions, provocative ideas and interesting opportunities related to education, arts and design. We envision CERTAD TALKS will create a space to foster dialogue, inquiry and collaborative conversations in constructing both informal and formal learning experiences.

We have organised forums for discussions on the Arts in Education, Story as Pedagogy etc with eminent speakers such as art historian Padma Bhushan B.N Goswamy, Dr. Lois Hetland from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Dr. Jyoti Sahi who is an eminent artist/theologian and founder of the Art Ashram, Dr. Vivek Benegal, author and educator Renu Balakrishnan and Padma Shri Geetha Dharmarajan, founder of Katha Books and chairman of National Bal Bhavan.


Here is a glimpse into some of our in-house design interventions in education within Srishti:

Chronicles of the Coast

What are ways of seeing, being and experiencing a place, to investigate how a community has thrived across many centuries? How does one fashion approaches to study food, architecture, business and trade that is entirely distinct in the South Asian context? We developed a series of tools, processes and methodologies of engaging with material culture across the coastal town of Karaikudi in Tamil Nadu to investigate place, history, people and communities.

Folded Journals, Unfolded Journeys

This project was a spatial experience where the audience became a part of the inner narratives one wove as one experienced a new place. The insights came together in the form of a multi-layered interactive storytelling (at the Festival of Stories). The audience could see the pages of these curated chronicles coming alive through a mode of mixed media consisting of text, image and sounds.

Link between Body and Culture

Through a range of thinking tools and research strategies that are both embodied and cognitive, this workshop was a practice-based research in movement activities to extend boundaries of what the body can do. It was interspersed with reading and interrogating texts written from a cultural theory perspective which culminated in students producing a range of performative offerings through film, sound, movement and image.

Learning Encounters

This workshop takes the students through a journey of experiencing various steps of translation to knowledge by understanding its context, space and socio-cultural layers. They designed educational outcomes in the form of installations, interactive learning spaces, games and pop-up books being cognizant of the intended audience’s age and ability.

Project: STE(A)M by design

This current ongoing 8th semester project focuses on designing learning experiences to introduce ideas of STE(A)M (Science, Technology, Engineering, (Art), Math). Ideas from this project will be implemented at the Agasthya Foundation New Math Lab in Kuppam.


Srishti Summer Camps

CERTAD plays an integral role in conceptualising and conducting Summer Camps at Srishti for students from Grade 8-12. These camps are useful for those who are interested in the creative art and design careers of the future. It offers a glimpse into understanding Srishti’s wide palette of courses for high school, pre-university and college students. These workshops also contribute towards building a great portfolio.

From illustration to technology-based workshops, creative writing to designing apps, our range of summer camps in the past have included:

Biochromes : Living Colours – explores the confluence of art and science

Techcamp with IOT –looks at how everything is connected to the Internet using microcontrollers, Arduino, sensors etc

Erasure and Ekphrasis – a creative writing workshop which uses found texts and visual material for conceptual writing

Digital and Visual Imaging – understanding complexities of traditional image making as well as integration of digital tools through printmaking techniques

Learning Mela

This is a forum to expose Srishti students to the joy of working with young children from the neighbourhood and aimed at inculcating design thinking amongst them. Their ‘learning experiences’ include activities on various topics like symmetry, shapes, movement and sound.

Professional Development workshops

We conduct teacher training and professional development workshops in K-12 schools. These workshops are a way of engaging teachers in creative and design thinking which can be applied in their own classroom practice.


CERTAD supports the development of educational resource materials. Our recent projects have included creative content development and publication design for teacher manuals, textbooks and story books.

Treasured Islands

Responding to a request from two groups, ANET (Andaman and Nicobar Environmental Team) and the Dakshin Foundation who work in the Andaman Islands, CERTAD and Srishti undertook the redesign of “Treasured Island” – an out-of-print environmental education textbook for teachers of grade 6-8. Keeping island ecology in mind and current ecological concerns, this design studio created new illustrations, designed educational activities, and gave the book a fresh visual identity.

If I Were Sky, If I Were Story

In a recent collaboration with Katha and the Wildlife Trust of India, CERTAD supported the created of a lab space to produce educational materials and stories both “for and with” children between the ages of 3-16 for informal learning and enjoyment. These materials explored issues related to conservation, community histories, folklore and crafts.

Play based English content

As a content design partner with Arivu, an NGO that works with facilitators and children across government schools in Karnataka, CERTAD was invited to design a child-centred, out-of-the-box interactive English learning curriculum. Some of the distinct features of our play-based curriculum included a participatory bottoms-up approach, facilitator friendly interactions, an emphasis on spoken English through games while keeping the learners’ socio-cultural context in mind.

Collaborations within Srishti

(Art)Science Bengaluru

Art in Transit

The UNESCO Chair in Culture, Habitat, and Sustainable Development


Centre for Environment Education

Global Education Fund (ongoing)



Wildlife Trust of India


Dr. Geetha Narayanan - Founder Director of Srishti Institute of Art Design and Technology, Principal Investigator - Project Vision

  • Arzu Mistry
  • Dr. Farhat Ara
  • Junuka Deshpande
  • Lavanya Sahi
  • Dr. Manjari Singh
  • Padmini Nagaraja
  • Srivi Kalyanasundaram
  • Sudebi Thakurata