What encouraged you to start Kolpokushol?
At different points in my life, I studied in Bengali and English medium schools as well a Madrasah. Since then, I have seen students are very segregated – they don't talk to each other. I have witnessed a social divide that has been fundamentally formed.
When I left for the United States for my undergraduate degree at Bard College, I noticed another kind of distinction: engineers don't talk to designers, artists don't talk to engineers, and they kind of have a clash. And that’s why we’re missing out a big collaboration opportunity.
When I went to MIT Media Lab, I saw that they put everyone together there – artists, scientists, mathematicians, architects – students from all kinds of backgrounds. The research being done is very innovative and that's where the research trend is heading – towards multidisciplinary thinking. I started Kolpokoushol to break these stereotypes and bridge this gap – that's why we bring all kinds of students together.
What do you aim to teach your participants?
In order to be a functioning citizen, you have to be an entrepreneur, a designer, an engineer – everything together. If your TV suddenly stops working, open it up and try and see for yourself what’s wrong. You think your wall is missing an artwork? Make something yourself.
It’s about having an idea of how everything works. Before trying to figure out how to help someone, we have to learn to identify the strength in each person and know to whom each activity should be delegated to. An artist will have strength in one area, an engineer in some other area – but I need to know a bit of both art and engineering to identify that.
You said there’s an age-old divide between artists and scientist. What do you identify as?
I don't confine myself in either of the definitions – I am a technologist. I am a musician as well - an artist. I consider myself a good citizen and that’s what I try to promote in our workshop – what do you need to be to be a good citizen?