My experience as Designer-in-Residence at ownpath - Arnab Chakravarty

An interdisciplinary designer and creative technologist (yes, he’s as incredible as he sounds), Arnab worked with ownpath as our first ever in-house Designer-in-Residence. With a wonderfully unique perspective and roots spread across a multitude of creative disciplines, Arnab worked with ownpath’s core team on course curriculum, pedagogy, and helped design a scalable structure for our programs.

We spoke to Arnab about his tenure as Designer-in-Residence at ownpath, and his phenomenal new career move ✨

Arnab, your design practice takes the term “interdisciplinary” to a whole new level. Can you tell us more about your journey?

“Like many other designers, I started out as an engineer, and eventually found my roots in design - primarily interaction design. Working as an interaction designer for around 7-8 years, I eventually explored and switched to programming.

These days, I not only design - but program, fabricate, make, and build different things. Over the past decade, my work has taken me from designing software apps, systems, and services to programming interactive installations, objects, and immersive theatrical productions.”

What drew you towards the Designer-in-Residence role at ownpath?

“Last year, I moved to New York to pursue a Master’s degree. Once that got over, I started looking for a part-time opportunity - one that would keep me engaged, and something I’d enjoy working on. Shortly after, I chanced upon ownpath and connected with Shreyas, the company’s founder. I really liked his vision for the company and the intent behind their flagship program, the Product Design Fellowship.

Additionally, this was during the pandemic - a time when access to a regular education was missing, and the need for an alternative learning space was important. These factors drew me to the company, and I hopped on board as ownpath’s in-house Designer-in-Residence shortly after.”

What are some outcomes you’re happy to have driven through your work?

“As Designer-in-Residence, I primarily helped design a modular and scalable structure for ownpath’s programs, and worked on course curriculum & pedagogy. Since ownpath started off by facilitating one small cohort every few months, we worked towards designing a structure that would allow us to run the program more repeatedly and make room for more designers to be part of the program.

I also worked with Shreyas to identify factors that made for effective classroom sessions, and incorporated our findings into our programs. Most of my teaching experience comes from running classes in universities, which involves a physical component and a dynamic of its own.

Since ownpath’s programs are primarily online, the shift from the physical to the digital establishes a different dynamic - this requires a different, tailor-made approach to learning. We worked on creating a program structure with a defined focus on what was important in every class. I really enjoyed working on these aspects - it’s a privilege to have been part of the early team, and to see ownpath’s programs evolve to where they are today.”

Our Fellows still hold on to their workshops with you - how did you enjoy being part of their journeys?

“Oh, I had a great time facilitating workshops for our Fellows and checking in on them regularly. It’s been wonderful and humbling to see them move on from the program to find incredible opportunities in design.

It was also wonderful to engage with them about topics that piqued my interest, such as discussions about exploring new physical and digital interfaces of the future. That’s something else I love about ownpath - the fact that our Fellows get to explore avenues in design outside of our curriculum.”

Would you like to share any pearls of wisdom with designers considering a residency?

“A couple of things: one, this is a great opportunity to hone your craft and reflect upon your design practice. Second, it gives you enough time to think about where you want to go next, and what you want for yourself.

I’m still grateful for these aspects. I thoroughly enjoyed my work as Designer-in-Residence, but it also gave me the time and space to try several experimental projects on the side - something I might not have been able to explore with a full-time job. I’d say that this is perfect for people who are looking to take a break from a regular 9-to-5, and are looking for an opportunity to refresh their practice.

I’d also encourage them to start making and creating things again—whether it be simple exploratory designs, or learning a new skill (like I did with programming). Explore new avenues that constantly challenge you, enable you to grow your craft, and put your work out there. I think a Design Residency is a perfect opportunity to do so.”

We can only envision your journey in design getting more interesting with every step. What’s next for you?

“I’m quite excited about my next move! I’ll be joining Fundamental Surgery, a VR medical education platform, as Principal Designer in January.

This career move was genuinely possible because my residency with ownpath gave me space to explore VR as an interface, and time to work on projects that enabled me to land this gig.”

We couldn’t have been happier to have had Arnab on-board, and we’re so excited to witness his multi-dimensional journey unfold! ✨

Explore Arnab’s phenomenal creations & work, or say hello to him here: https://chaky.works/

Your dream opportunity in design ⚡️

We’re beyond excited to be expanding our Design Residency externally!

Work on exciting projects with innovative startups, gain contracts with excellent pay, get personalized mentorship, and be part of a fun community 🤝

Find out more, or apply here: https://ownpath.com/design-residency/

For regular updates, please follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.