Make in India was launched along with Digital India in 2015 as a new IndoGenius-delivered programme. Both new programmes took inspiration from Indian government initiatives and were conceptualised to engage students and young professionals with essential features of re-emerging India. The programmes were meticulously planned to maximise participants’ experiences of varied perspectives regarding culture, education, development and more in India while also fostering relationship building and developing participants’ knowledge of Indian markets and work culture as applicable to their studies, professions or businesses. Make in India programme was delivered for the first time from 1 to 15 July 2015 under the British Council’s Generation UK-India cultural immersion placements.
Our Make in India two-week cultural immersion took 40 UK students to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Delhi/Gurgaon to showcase India’s immense manufacturing talent and potential in areas ranging from rural textiles and handicrafts to high-end technology.
Dialogue with factory workers; artisans; designers, entrepreneurs and business leaders as well as students and faculty at Indian design, engineering and other institutions gave context to visits and contributed to the identification of opportunities for mutual collaboration with the UK—both in terms of making in India and making for India. These activities were woven together with cultural site visits, events and performances; reflection sessions, culturally immersive challenges and activities and classes in Hindi, Yoga and Bollywood Dance.
Two dozen factory, office, workshop and other site visits including talks with founders or corporate staff took place, the highlights of which included: the design studio and workshop of Tarun Tahiliani, one of India’s most successful couturiers in Delhi; the Triumph Motorcycles assembly plant at Manesar; Ford Motors and Tata Motors’ production plants at Sanand; Arvind Limited textile mills and denim production factory, Ahmedabad, Shahabuddin brothers’ workshop for natural textile dyeing and printing at Pali village, Rajasthan and Imaginarium, India’s largest 3D printing company, in Mumbai.
Institutional visits with student and faculty interaction sessions included the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay; Bombay Stock Exchange Institute; Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar; National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Gandhinagar; National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, MICA, Ahmedabad and Nirma University Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive, with the Make in India Programme receiving an approval rating of 92%. According to participant Eleanor McKee of Edinburgh College of Art, “It was an amazing experience and I learned every second!”
Post-programme, some of those studying business and engineering have continued conversations started on the programme with Zone Startups and Imaginarium to investigate internship and business opportunities. Meanwhile, fashion and design students have established networks for sourcing different materials in India and have made contact with Indian clothing businesses expressing a desire to work with UK designers.
One of the other early outcomes from the programme is participant contribution of photography, article content and layout for upcoming publication of special e-magazine #MakeInIndia edited by Ms. Sathya Saran, Professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Mumbai and former editor of women’s magazines Me and Femina.
Another wonderful result of the programme was a fashion show by programme participants featuring unique Indigo sarees created using participants’ newly gained block printing and natural dyeing knowledge.