Commemorating 15 years of Daily Dump - Prof James Fathers
The Genesis of Daily Dump
In July 2004 I embarked on an adventure that would change and shape my life to this day. I moved with my young family to work for a year at Srishti with Poonam. I had met her a couple of times before and was keen to work with her and Geetha Narayanan invited me to come for a longer stint to collaborate with them. My main purpose was to work on my PhD research while working with colleagues at Srishti on their projects. This was such a generous offer and I will always be grateful for the experiences and opportunities that this opened up for me, the freedom it allowed me and the connections I was able to make.
One of the first things I became involved with was a composting project which eventually developed into what we now know as Daily Dump. My research work focused on the role of design training with the local terra-cotta crafts people. So it was a natural extension to work with Poonam on her initiative to make the composting pots from terra-cotta. We spent many hours brainstorming and in workshops with crafts people, developing designs and prototypes. Poonam was so generous with her time and I learned so much from the way she interacted with the crafts people and from the many challenging questions she asked me with that wry smile on her face!
I have been so impressed with how Daily Dump has developed over the last 15 years, the product range, the team, the awards. It was clear back then that it was a great idea, but Poonam and the team have taken it way beyond anything that I could have imagined back then. When I left India to return to Wales, I left a part of me there, I have returned as many times as possible over the years and each time it feels a bit like coming home.
Thinking back over that time, it shaped me more than I knew. It laid a foundation for participatory grass roots holistic community based co-creation which I am still pursuing and which I am convinced is the only way forward for sustainable change in so many contexts.
Professor James W.R Fathers, Ph.D. FRSA
Iris Magidson Endowed Chair of Design Leadership
Syracuse University School of Design