Wrapping up 2015: Year in Review

Team Quicksand

With the holiday season and the time for resolutions just round the corner, we felt this was the perfect time to look back over the challenges and the triumphs that made 2015 a year-to-remember for the Quicksand crew. This was the year we:

Celebrated our Ten-Year Anniversary

We have been 10 years in the making and it has been an incredible journey. This year kicked off with reflection and planning for our collective future followed by a bacchanalian 10th anniversary party in our Delhi studio in February.

Worked on a Plethora of Exciting New Projects

Excitingly, this year marked our first foray into a humanitarian crisis setting: a design thinking and research workshop on Malnutrition in Mali for the IRC (International Rescue Committee). Outputs from this engagement will direct the efforts of a nutrition program spanning the African continent.

In partnership with Fondazione ACRA we began work on a SWITCH-Asia EU funded project to apply human-centred design principles towards reducing plastic bag waste across three major Cambodian cities. We also worked with Evidence Action to re-think the multilevel training program for one of the largest public health initiatives by Government of India – deworming 140 million kids on a single day.

Other sectors that we continue to work in include sanitation, education, livelihoods and internet technologies.

Made Progress on our Incubated Projects

2015 saw Quicksand working with Leeds-based, interactive arts organization Invisible Flock on Kites: a project about identity, intimacy and expression in our daily lives, connecting people in India and the UK. We also built the first working prototype of Off-Grid – a mobile based, search and discovery platform that attempts to unlock social networks that are far more ubiquitous and active in emerging market contexts than traditional internet based networks. Look out for an invitation to participate in our beta test soon! With the Trick or Treat Project, funded by Wellcome Trust, UK, we attempted to research and communicate the tangible and intangible heritage around the plurality of alternative healthcare services in India. The GamesLab crew continued putting the finishing touches on a demo for Antariksha Sanchar, our very first video game (debuting at the 2016 EyeMyth Festival).

Made New Connections with UnBox

Continuing it’s transition from a festival format to a sustained platform for delving deeper into multiple perspectives, UnBox co-hosted a pop-up event this summer supported by the AHRC with our partners and friends in the UK and was also at Mozfest 2015 in London with a Banyan Tree installation as part of the Global Village stream. UnBox will host a design thinking workshop with the REACH Network in December in Bangalore. Stay tuned to our channels for the return of the Festival in late 2016!

Brought New Focus to our Communications Efforts

Building off of the re-launch of the Quicksand website in 2014, we created Alt-Q: an online repository where we share musings about who we are, what we care about, and how our individual talents and interests feed into the ever-evolving nature of our space and practice. Our monthly newsletter, launched in early 2015, has also steadily grown in popularity and resonated with like-minded practitioners.

Tested our Limits as a Team

In July, we braved dizzying icy passes, rain-whipped scree, and frigid rivers to visit a series of spectacular ice-blue lakes across a section of the Roof of the World – the Great Himalayas. Having tested our limits as individuals, and as a team, we decided that blistered feet, well-marinated socks, and daily 12-hour mountain marches are well worth the pain. Hence our new annual pledge – to mount one team expedition to the mountains each year.

*Photo Credits: Avani Tanya (Kashmir Trek Photos); Praveen Nahar and Paul Clarke (Banyan Tree Installation @ Mozfest)

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