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Show RCA 2019

Janaki / Nik Ranpura

Show RCA work

Major project:


The thesis work presented here is Touchies, the product of 6 months of research in  “charismatic design” for the blind — instead of thinking about accessibility as necessity, how can we create things to help grow pleasure and pride? To this end, Touchies is a blueprint for a Polaroid system that outputs tactile photographs of faces, so people with vision loss can participate in family events with a camera designed for their use and an output they can both read and share like any sighted person would.

Further work presented is from the months in the joint MA / MSc of the IDE program: a tangible object that helps transition to digital voting; research into home-farming protein, from crickets to bacteria; and, inspired by the efficiencies of urban living as well as the Shaker lifestyle, a functional plywood chair that disassembles into a wall sculpture when not in use.


  • Janaki / Nik makes systems and things to support creative citizenship, which she defines as new ways for us to make a shared future that belongs to us and in which we belong.
  • Previous degrees

  • Diploma in Digital Fabrication, MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms; BA Architectural History, Yale University
  • Experiences

  • Mettle hackathons, 2018-9; FabKids constructionist curriculum development, Fab Lab Barcelona, 2016-17
  • Exhibitions

  • Distributed Design Market Platform, Tala Lighting Headquarters, London, 2018; Superform, Gulbenkian Gallery RCA, London, 2017; Rueda de la Fortuna, Maker Fair, Barcelona, 2017; Smallest Portable Workstation, Fira de Barcelona, 2016; Karagiozis Project, TAF Metamatic, Athens, 2015; It's Not That Hard To Write a Book, Nobel Laureate Lounge of American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, 2015
  • Publications

  • "Art, Science, Participation, and Passion: a presentation from the Wild Margins," Public Art St Paul, 2016; "Does Social Practice Belong in Museums?" Walker Art Center News, 2014; "If You're Thinking About Writing a Puppet Play," Playwrights' Center, 2014
  • Awards

  • Most Valuable Distributed Design for Frag Lamp, 2018; Jerome Foundation Research Fellowship into mechanics of democracy, 2015; Playwrights' Center fellowship for object dramas, 2013-2015; Burberry Trench re-design distinction, 2019
Royal College of Art