As a practitioner in design Shalini Sahoo has been conversing for over a decade between two worlds: as a barefoot designer with craftspersons in the Indian subcontinent and as a colour and material designer for the German automobile industry. This colossal span in practice has made her reflect on the potential and impact, design as a profession has on society at various levels. Shalini’s portfolio is enriched with international work experiences.
Her career in the automobile industry started with Automotive Experience, Johnson Controls GmbH, Berlin, Germany. She moved from her position as a lead colour & trim designer at Johnson Controls to work as a senior product designer with the fashion house Casamoda GmbH Oldenburg, Germany. This was followed by starting her own design consultancy in 2013, here she worked to develop advanced design concepts for colour and material domain in the automobile industry. During this she worked largely with and for Volkswagen GmbH, Wolfsburg and Munich, Germany.
Her work with the craft sector involves, trainings in ethical dyeing processes and product development for the local markets. She worked with Tamalpur Anchalik Gramdan Sangh Assam, India, Anumukti, Gandhi Ashram, Wedchi, India, Thardeep Rural Development Programme, Karachi, Pakistan and Women’s Weaving Cooperative, Mawlong, India.
Shalini has also been actively involved in academia, being invited regularly for talks at the Carl von Ossietzky Universität, Oldenburg, Germany, and at the University of Moratuwa, Colombo, Sri Lanka. She has been a visiting faculty at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi, Pakistan. She has also taught at the University of the Arts, Bremen, Germany and at the Department of Mass Communication, Tezpur University, Assam, India.
Shalini Sahoo has been the recipient of the Ford Foundation scholarship at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India. Since 2016 she has been researching at the PhD level about harmonising Human-Material-Interaction within transit spaces at the Royal College of Art in London. Her PhD in Design is being funded by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Scholarship, Berlin, Germany. For her PhD work she has also been awarded the London Doctoral Design Consortium award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, United Kingdom.
Shalini Sahoo was born in Orissa, east India to a traditional Hindu family. The ancestral house is situated near the confluence of three rivers Sankh, Koel and Saraswati, giving eventually rise to the perennial Brahmani. Her growing up years on the banks of the Brahmani – overlooking the cremation ground, the guava trees (in her father’s rather wild garden) have played an important role in morphing the way she perceives the living world.