Northampton’s shoemaking heritage is helping to inspire an innovative redesign of traditional Indian footwear.


University of Northampton students have collaborated with their counterparts from the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandingar (IITG), for a project that aims to make a social innovation in the city of Ahmedabad, western India.


The partnership has seen six engineering students from IITG develop ideas to reverse the decline in sales of traditional modjadi shoes in their home country.


As part of the project, they visited Northampton Museum and Art Galleries’ footwear archives to gain better understanding of the town’s shoemaking heritage, and the knowledge they picked up will help them to design a better modjadi shoe.


It’s hoped the newly designed modjadi will appeal to manufacturers in India and help reverse the shoe’s decline in popularity.


"The discussion and debate created by combining students and staff from the arts and engineering across the two countries to explore innovation has been fascinating," said Vicki Dean, principal lecturer at the University of Northampton’s School of The Arts. "We are now discussing the potential for student internships and these sorts of projects are essential to enable our curriculum to be truly international."


The British Council-funded initiative is one of the University of Northampton’s ‘Changemaker’ projects that the School of The Arts is involved in.


The Changemaker Certificate is a programme designed to significantly enhance employability by focusing on problem-solving skills, developing awareness of social impact and developing entrepreneurial thinking to tackle social problems.