Professor Ashoke Chatterjee received his education at Woodstock School (Mussoorie), St Stephen’s College and Miami University (Ohio). He has a background in the engineering industry, international civil service, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), and 25 years in the service of the National Institute of Design (NID, Ahmedabad) where he was Executive Director, Senior Faculty, Distinguished Fellow and Professor of communication and management. He has served a range of development institutions in India and overseas, particularly in the sectors of drinking water, sanitation, disability, livelihoods and education as well as working with artisans in many parts of the country. He was Hon President of the Crafts Council of India for over twenty years and continues to serve CCI. He has been on the board of Aid to Artisans (ATA) in the USA. An author and writer, his books include “Dances of the Golden Hall” on the art of Shanta Rao and “Rising” on empowerment efforts among deprived communities in rural Gujarat. Professor Chatterjee continues to assist design education in India and overseas.
Professor Chatterjee’s association with artisans and the craft sector began during his career with the ITDC, where he helped integrate craft into India’s tourism strategies. During his years at NID, he participated with design teams working throughout India to assist artisans in the transition between traditional and contemporary markets, as well as in efforts at sustainable livelihoods through hand production. With colleagues from NID and the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), Ashoke Chatterjee contributed to the pioneering Artisans Alliance of Jawaja (AAJ), an association which has continued for almost four decades in a path-breaking experiment toward self-reliance and dignity for communities challenged by discrimination and competition. With CCI and its network throughout India, he has helped pilot a major effort with the Government of India on the understanding of the economics of India’s craft sector, the nation’s second largest source of livelihood after agriculture and yet seriously neglected as an engine of growth. Advocacy for artisans and the critical importance of their sector to national wellbeing now engages much of Professor Chatterjee’s time and attention.