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Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan


PhD in design history from CEPT University, Ahmedabad

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School of Design


Education & Research

Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and has a PhD in design history from CEPT University, Ahmedabad. Her doctoral work focussed on the global-local contexts of the genesis of modern design education in India after independence.

Suchitra’s professional design practice has centred on social communication design, exploring a variety of issues ranging from women’s health, child rights, primary education, minority rights, communalism and globalisation in rural and urban India.


Past Employment

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, CEPT University, Ahmedabad




  • Ahmedabad 1411-2011: Portraits of a City (Guest editor with Sharmila Sagara)

MARG Publications, 2011

  • Ahmedabad: From Royal City to Megacity (as Suchitra Sheth with Achyut Yagnik)

Penguin Books India, 2011

  • The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond (as Suchitra Sheth with Achyut Yagnik)

Penguin Books India, 2005, Shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in English Non-fiction category




  • Editor, Workshop Proceedings: LOOK Back – LOOK Forward: HfG Ulm and Design Education in India and HfG Ulm and Basic Design for India (2014)
  • Editor, The Encyclopaedia of Asian Design: South Asia, Volume on India, Section 2 – 19th century India, Berg Publications, London (2015)


  • Paper, Chopdas, Kites: Crafting Hindu Muslim Symbiosis

Chapter in Ahmedabad 600: Portraits of a City, (Suchitra Balasubrahmanyan and Sharmila Sagara eds.) MARG Publications, Mumbai, 2011

  • Sindhi Women’s Experience of Partition: Glimpses from Ahmedabad

Chapter in A Sense of the Past: Women’s Writings on Partition, Urvashi Butalia (ed.), Zubaan, New Delhi (Forthcoming)


  • The Search for Culturally Relevant Roots: Towards Writing a History of Design in India, Take On Art (Special Issue on Design), January 2012
    • Partition and Gujarat: The Tangled Web of Religious Caste, Community and Gender Identities

Chapter in Religion in the making of a Region: Perspectives from Gujarat, Special issue of South Asia, Nikita Sud and Harald Tambs-Lyche (eds.), Routledge (November 2011)

  • Sisters Under the Skin: Events of 2002 and Girls’ Education in Ahmedabad

Economic and Political Weekly, April 29, 2006

  • Gujarat’s Balance Sheet

Seminar, January, 2005

  • Whither Gujarat: Violence and After (with Achyut Yagnik)

Economic and Political Weekly, March 16, 2002

  • Dandi March as Communication Strategy

Economic and Political Weekly, April 8, 1995

  • In and Out of Jail

Mainstream, October 1, 1994



  • Designing Modern India: Gandhi as Design Activist

Presented at Design History Society annual conference Design Activism and Social Change, Barcelona, September 2011

  • Teaching the History of Design

Presented at Design: Ahmedabad-London, a collaborative design history conference between NID-RCA-V&A, Ahmedabad, March 2011

  • The Tangled Web of Religious Caste, Community and Gender Identities: Partition and Gujarat

Presented at Religion in the making of a Region: Perspectives from Gujarat, Conference at Wolfson College, Oxford, July 2010

  •  The Place of Drawing in Design Education

Presented at in 2010 at CEPHAD 2010 – The Borderland between Philosophy and Design Research organized by The Danish Design School, Copenhagen

  • Beyond Majority-Minority Dichotomy: Impact of the Events of 2002 on the Education of Girls in Ahmedabad

Presented in 2004 at Annual Women’s Studies Conference at Goa

  • Refocussing Praxis: The Problem for Design Research

Presented in 2000 at an international conference on Design (plus) Research at Milan, Italy organised by Politecnico di Milano.

  • Protecting Rights of Children in State Care

Presented in 1998 at a seminar on Child Rights organised by UNICEF and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S University, Baroda.



  • The Myth of the Hare and Hound: Making Sense of History

Public Lecture, Rethinking History Series, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi, January 2013

  • Drawing in Social Science Research

Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, June 2012

  • Designing Contemporary India: The Warp and Weft of Global Local Contexts

Ambedkar University, Delhi, April 2012

  • The Shaping of Modern Gujarat-Ahmedabad

IIT Gandhinagar, December 2011

  • The Shaping of Modern Ahmedabad

Faculty of Planning and Public Policy, CEPT University, December 2011



Professionl Activities/Awards

  • 2013 Leverhulme Trust Visiting Fellowship at Royal College of Art, London
  • 2011 Member of Core 77 Design Awards – Category: Design for Social Impact
  • 2006 Shortlisted for Crossword Book Award in English Non-Fiction category

The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond

(Co-authored as Suchitra Sheth with Achyut Yagnik, Penguin India, 2005)

  • 2000 Awarded Ashoka Fellowship (Ashoka Innovators for the Public, USA)

Membership in Professional and Public Organisations

  • Life member of Society of Industrial Designers of India
  • Life member of People's Union for Civil Liberties


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