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Pushpi Bagchi

Pushpi Bagchi MA Graphic Design gives advice to our 2016 graduates and tells us about her recent exhibition Migration Stories that explores the stereotype of migrants.

Name Pushpi Bagchi
Degree Course MA Graphic Design
Year of Graduation 2013
Pushpi

Your time at the University

I chose ECA for it’s open curriculum for the Masters programme and excellent studio facilities. Staying at one of the University’s postgraduate accommodations was a wonderful experience as I got to meet students from different schools and colleges within the university and had a lot more exposure to the diverse student body and formed close friendships with people not only from places across the globe, but also studying vastly different things.

During Innovative Learning Week in 2013, I worked as a student photographer and covered several events around the various university campuses. Having been asked to cover events at the Kings Buildings forced me to explore parts of the city I would never had done on my own. That short week also lead to me being asked to assist a professional photographer to take pictures for student bursaries. Again, this lead to me exploring the Medical School, the Easter Bush Campus, and see the Vet school as well the GeoSciences Building. Being open to opportunities to work with people across the University and collaborate made my overall experience as a postgraduate student much richer than if I would have just stayed within the limits of Edinburgh College of Art.

My most notable experience during my time at ECA was curating and participating in an exhibition in collaboration with the Central Library of Edinburgh titled Central Inspiration. It gave me an opportunity to work in tandem with other MA, MFA Graphic Design, and Illustration students and in organisation and execution with members of the Edinburgh City council. For art and design students, Edinburgh offers limitless opportunities for collaborations outside of school and such opportunities were what lead me to make future career.

Be open to all the opportunities that the University has to offer, whether its facilities, societies, or events. It’s easy to get comfortable in our own niche groups, but the diversity at the university is something to be embraced and celebrated.

Pushpi Bagchi

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

Over the past two years I have been working as the Assistant Head of Programme for the BA (Hons)Graphic Design course at the Academy of Design, a design school in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which is a partner institute of Northumbria University, Newcastle. In addition to being a full time lecturer, I worked closely with the management and Programme Head to plan and teach the course. All taught courses at AOD while in accordance to Northumbria University module guidelines are adapted to suit a South Asian context both in order to engage with the diverse experiences of the student body and the regional requirements of Industry.

Personally, I’m interested in using visual communication design as a tool to initiate social and cultural dialogue; and thanks to working with the diverse groups of people while in Edinburgh, I had the confidence and understanding of varied cultural contexts to curate exhibitions in collaboration with diplomatic missions in Colombo and connect with a diverse audience.

In 2015 I curated an exhibition titled Fuse It in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Colombo that focused on the Dutch influence on Sinhala language that can be seen even today, 400 years after the Dutch colonised the island. The project was aimed to pay homage to Sri Lanka’s eclectic cultural heritage and also question the concept of a singular culture. In May this year I conceptualized and curated an exhibition exploring migration with the Italian Embassy in Colombo as part of Italian Week in Sri Lanka, 2016. The exhibition titled Migration Stories aimed to question the negative perception of the word “migrant” that has been established at the moment and break the perceived stereotype of migrants.

Alumni wisdom

Be open to all the opportunities that the University has to offer, whether its facilities, societies, or events. It’s easy to get comfortable in our own niche groups, but the diversity at the university is something to be embraced and celebrated.

Graduate advice

  1. By the time you start getting used to being a graduate student, your one year postgraduate programme will be over. So it's important to have an idea of what you want to do after graduating early on so you don't panic after you finish. Your plans will probably change but you don't want to start out as a clueless graduate. 
  2. When talking to people, whether it is professional collaborators or employees I've found that it's good to have a balance of confidence and humility. So if I don't know something, I always admit to not knowing but assure them of my ability to learn quickly on the job.   
  3. Finally, try to work on things you truly care about. Passion is palpable. 

Related links

www.pushpibagchi.com