I was born in Ahmednagar, India

My mom was a professor and dad was an engineer in the Indian navy so we kept moving around the country

I learned how to swim at the age of 4

Map of india, showing the location of cities

We moved to Goa, India and that is where I started my training to swim the English Chanel

We moved to Tamil Nadu, where I learned Tamil which instilled in me a very different culture 

We moved to Pune, India - which is where I grew up and now my hometown

We moved to the US when I was 12. and lived there for about 3 years. These were probably my most loneliest years. Although this is where I met my creative side and found my love for it. I also learned spanish while I was  there.

Moved back to India, because my parents hated what living there did to me. Nor were my parents very happy about the education system in the US which is a very contrasting opinion then the Indian community they interacted with. 

My parents made sure I joined a school which focused on sports and the arts along with academics. I learned to play every sport that there is - tennis, swimming, basketball etc along with a passion for art and design

I graduated 10th grade with 91.1%

I decided to study Psychology, Economics, Political science, french, logic and French at my junior college - a decision that my parents supported happily!


Change by Design

My mom wanted me experience life outside my comfort zone, so she made me travel to my junior college by the local public buses which are extremely crowded and inaccessible. I hated it, especially when all my friends had their vehicles. At the same time, it expanded my world view. I automatically changed my lens to see the troubles people went through- the crowds, lack of space, the sweat, the exhaustion but mostly the fact that they had to do all again, every day. Soon, I started having conversations with people, mostly women, out of sheer curiosity. They would tell me stories about ambitions, abusive fathers, dowry- one of the girls even told me that she failed her course to avoid getting married. 

Soon, it was time to choose a university course. I decided to go to design school and study communication design. One of the reasons I decided to do design back then was because of IDEO and Change by design by tim Brown. 


I enjoyed uni at the beginning but I didn't feel satisfied. I wanted to get out of my studio on to the field and talk to people and work with them. I knew one thing for sure - I wasn't going to settle with graphic design for the rest of my life, so I continued exploring. 

Creative confidence

I soon realised that I wasn't gaining any knowledge. I was learning practical tools and process necessary to practice but I wasn't learning about people, societies, cultures and different schools of thoughts. I was lost for a while and tried to educate myself, I also considered dropping out. 


some book on storytelling and communication strategies 

But like a ray of sunshine in a very dark tunnel, I had a course on communication studies taught by Dr. Madhusudan Mukerjee. I was introduced to the works of Saussure, Roland Barthes, Foucault, Lacan, Sontag, McLuhan, Chomsky, Herman. 

Studying these topics is what really ignited me and that is when I continued studying humanities and social sciences along with college

I realised the importance of knowledge and practice

This course led me to the right direction (or wave analogy) but talk about

In my second year, worked with  SWaCH on the red dot campaign. Sanitary waste is a silent and a mounting problem in India. Every day, SWaCH workers collect 6.5 lakh kilograms of waste from over five lakh houses of Pune, which they hand-segregate into dry and wet waste. Out of that, 3 per cent is sanitary waste, meaning they handle nearly 20 thousand kilograms of dirty diapers and sanitary pads every day. The kind of waste they get exposed to is not just harmful for them but also against their dignity of labour. To talk about this, SWaCH started the arduous process of inculcating sanitary waste management techniques in more than 5 lakh households of Pune.


The city-wide project was launched in two parts, one to raise awareness on ways to dispose sanitary waste and the other, to make sanitary napkin manufacturers more accountable.

Residents of Pune were asked to wrap up their sanitary pads and diapers in paper that was marked with a red dot. This would help SWaCH workers identify sanitary waste and treat it accordingly. 


Medium is the message


Archeology of knowledge foucault 

Manufacturing consent

While I was working with SWaCH, I started studying behavioural sciences and social psychology to understand how people think and behave which led me to design better campaign strategies. What are some campaign strategies you came up with?

This had another outcome that I didn't anticipate: It made me understand my own biases, prejudices, perspectives - It made me challenge my thinking - this led me to understand how powerful thinking and reflection is. critical thinking? 

Not just being critical of your own thoughts but also not listening to what everyone else says to you. Taking it all in but performing your own little surgery of those saying in you head - thinking

Time of India conducts workshops in schools. I was selected to facilitate sessions on fact-checking, prejudice & discrimination to 4-6th grade students. My role includes conducting research, curating teaching plans & activities.

I then had an opportunity to lead the Ladies, Wine & Design chapter in my city. More on this about creating spaces... for designers to... 


Thinking fast and slow

Papers rutu said 

Around the same time, a one year old was raped and murdered 500m away from my university gates. It was an extremely shocking incident. 

  1. When you work towards an intervention, you shouldn’t have answers, you should have more questions


Seeing like a feminist

While studying behavioural psychology i realised I needed to understand contexts, cultural, caste, identities and histories that make us the way we are. Ethnographic field research on gender based violence, power made me want to study sociology. To understand society. Mention very specifically about caste

Research for this, talking to people, organisations, subject matter experts and 

While researching for this, I realised how we accept the methods that the west follows and wondered if there were our ways of doing research.  

Lost 15 kgs? - stayed that way


Intro to decolonial thinking and research methods

Everyone around me was always creating and making new products and apps or website. I could never do that. I offcourse soon realised that i loved communication via storytelling. I drifted away from graphic design into the world of theory, humanities and research and used my knowlede as a communication designer to make compelling reports etc etc

The Knowledge I was consuming made me realise with every step how unending and infinite the ladder is. 

climbing one mountain made visible another mountain and so on and on..

Laksmi Murthy also led me to the world of local knowledge and ....

Bal gandharva, where i started studying about decolonisation and local knowledge systems, positive deviances and research on innovations that people come up with when the government fails

This led me to explore the question of the kind of impact colonialism and western influence has on social design practices in India 

Besides? - research and data dashboards

Kidzee, organisations design, no single solution, multiple solutions that need to work together. create a space in the schoo that....

Systems design and systems thinking 

Creating a report of strategies and processes and everything

organisational design preschool india - report - and how the current processes and structures are hampering learning

illustrating the gaps and needs in the training support of the teacher...

importance of involving families in a childs education. Since parents in my view had the most power to shape the future for their education. but the schools weren't set up for thr kind of family engagement i had in my mind

families and schools are 2 main social institutions in the world

After college ended - course, Designing at scale, systems, macro, mesa - dan hill UX example . Trying to find my place and what is it I really want to do?

The article on education and HOD thing


Designing at scale, systems, complexity

Decolonising our bookshelves - building the platform, product strategy, research on designing accessible digital products and designing sustainable digital products, branding, research about cataloging 

Document how and where we began and where we are - learnings

The getting started with designing accessible digital products for designers and developers

This also led me to understanding accessibility - aaji 

Sajhe sapne - 

Theory of change - create a foundation for evaluation, program development, organisational change or strategic planning 

defining intended outcomes and the connections between them

UN Women equality challenge, learning from that and mention the report here. Took the initiative to suggest to UN another approach for the 2nd phase of this challenge


Cultures Ansari 

Research led me to UNDP's work along with Sitra, HDL, KIC-climate and i had goosebumps. This is the work I want to do

Dan Hill's book (change and gave direction to a lot of my thoughts)  on strategic design made me want ton understand urban sociology and cities and strategic design. The research made me realise that I want ti understand urban sociology better, urban design, 

Kidzee pandemic strategy


Dan Hill strategic design 

Took the communication studies course again to better debate and now look at all the theories with a new lens

Domestic Violence One future collective. Designed campaigns and put together resources -

Tell a story here, a few women were reaching out to me and my mom during covid for help with regards to lawyers and money or filing a police complaint. So I put together resources that could be forwarded on whatsapp. These women had no idea where to go for help. trickle down effect/domino effect - when one women knows exactly what to do, someone else gets inspired by it

Sajhe sapne - designing and coordinating, facilitating, looking for partners and communities, research on scaling, research about other initiatives working in the rural sector 

developmental evaluation 

Backward and forward linkages to a journey of a rural woman in india

Learned a lot from facilitation - how can we help them develop an intrinsic motivation to keep learning, promoting life long learning 

how much there is a lack on content for rural women in India, shame associated with wrong english

Tried to shape the whole ecosystem of volunteers, helpers, team members and facilitated a way of thinking and doing things at Sajhe 

Branding and strategy 

Facilitated workshops for the people at sajhe sapne to improve their fundamental brand message and vision - embedding systems thinking techniques enable new ways of collaboration and insight. This project allows for ways to improve the decision-making process, the allocation of resources for future opportunities, and the formation of a more consistent stream of value creation.

  • Advise best practices and methods in brand development, implementation of brand vision into products, and marketing strategy

  • Review, edit, & copywrite brand content

  • Establish connections with relating teams: back end, data management, mobile app

  • Facilitate ideation workshops with stakeholders to generate out-of-the-box ideas

  • Make strategic choices on product features based on user-centered approaches

How can we support these women after they finish their course and through the course.

What is happening right now?

How do we make them financially literate?

Learnings about what I learned from facilitation

Notes on representation of imagery and visuals while creating content for systems module for rural women - The limits of visibility and the need for relevant contextual imagery. And visual representation of rural women India/ or rural areas

KHS - Research and designing workshops to promote gender equality.

- reflecting on the societal messages, concepts and stereotypes of masculinity

- Students will identify and share examples of the different sources and ways those concepts and stereotypes are perpetuated in society.

Students will share or listen to personal reflections about growing up male.  Students will create a male story character with stereotypical and non-stereotypical male behavior.

Participatory research

Strategies around activities and initiatives that could take place during the year to promote gender equality and challenge toxic masculinity 

Exploration on mygate and how aaji says "you came at 8am only, why are you late here?" - https://medium.com/gigs-service-systems-platforms-and-design/a-title-be26275ce48

Jhatkaa - strategies to conduct better workshops?

but were interested in just working on campaigns after a lot of convinving and all, but they didn't want to. I felt I was wasting my enerft so I left

on ground mobilising strategies. Understanding what people have already done before. convincing them that a digital campaign is not going to work. Designing a start to finish journey from educating to reporting to consequences

Twisha systems project on women and space

With madhusudan as mentor, I continued studying..... I reached out a friend studying critical studies of to share her curriculum for me to study. Padmini and Naveen

Trojan horses strategic design

Yashraj project. Worked on a project in designing a KaiOS version of an app to access...

_% of people in India who use public transport don't use a smart phone. There was no point of creating an app if.. 

Kosambi reading circle


urban sociology course 

CDSA - urban sociology

Anthropology and design and urban sociology

in 2021 -

1. warm data course by nora bateson

Feel free to reach out for a collaboration or a conversation!

© Aishwarya Jare