The morning session started with the first speaker Chris Lefteri. He demonstrated the benefits that can be generated from switching a project’s approach from a traditional one, where material is chosen in a later stage, to a material centered approach, where the project starts with the material. In fact this approach; starting from an understanding of materials’ properties and qualities, can lead to unusual and unexplored project solutions and applications, re-contextualising materials into new and different sectors.Tweet Read More
“In the great creative periods of science the artists and the scientists worked very closely together and were in many cases the same people (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci). The result of this separation [i.e. science and art] has been the most incredible mutual ignorance.“ – J.D. Bernal
I have been working the last while on a small research project for the UK Higher Education Academy and Heather Luna looking at interdisciplinarity and design education for sustainability (in collaboration with Jane Davison from Newport school of Art and Design). Interdisciplinarity is a collaborative process that attempts to go beyond the traditional boundaries of disciplines in order to come up with solutions to complex and socially-relevant challenges.
The reason why i started this project was I always assumed that sustainability presents us with complex challenges and numerous ‘wicked problems’ and our current ways of thinking, doing and learning are not working very well. I also assumed that creating collaborations between different disciplines (e.g. design, business, social science, anthropologists, activists etc.) would lead to better solutions.
I also wanted to know how design education can remain relevant in a rapidly changing and dynamic world that is presenting us with complex challenges to which few appear to have solutions (or at least the ability to implement the solutions at an appropriate scale). In that question there is another assumption i.e. that we need to shift from teaching about sustainability, to teaching for sustainability which through a, yet to be defined, process of transformation will lead us to sustainable education.
On reflection, it all sounds very naive….Tweet Read More
Recently I did a presentation titled ‘joined up thinking and ecodesign require empathy’ at an event organized by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Cylch, the Wales Community Recycling Network. The title was inspired by a TEDx video. As suggested in a previous post, in today’s environment I feel that improving our ability to empathise is even more significant as we try to move towards a societal culture of trust, openness, interdependence and co-creation. In ecodesign this shift requires designing for and with people and the environment. Where there is no waste only resource.
I attended the 5th Nordes Design Research conference last week at Aalto university in Helsinki . The theme for this years conference was “Making Design Matter!”. This was a very interesting conference and provided me with some insight into the quality and direction of design research across Nordic countries.
I gave a presentation titled “Integrating sustainability in a regional design sector” based on a short exploratory paper I wrote a number of months ago. The paper provided some analysis and insight on experiences of setting up E:DN. The audience for the paper was predominantly policy makers and was informed by my wider PhD research.Tweet Read More
Following my talk on ‘Joined up thinking and ecodesign requires empathy’ (at the ‘joined up thinking‘ event, organized by the Chartered Institution of Waste Management (CIWM) and Cylch, the Wales Community Recycling Network) I also ran a workshop titled ‘Ecodesign: Where do you start?’
11 participants attended the workshop, which was spread over two slots. I had hoped for more but may have scared them off with my impassioned plea for greater understanding between people, and people and planet! The premise of the earlier talk was there is a disconnect between people and people and planet and we need more societal empathy. The slides will be here eventually.
The workshop was to get participants thinking of how they could get involved in the ecodesign agenda. They were made up of representatives from community/social enterprises, environmental consultants, industry associations, recyclers and academics. We had 25 minutes per session which meant some serious time constraints keeping in mind our recent lunch-time experience with Lawrence Hallett on skills. I had devised the following flexible, evolving format to test out some ideas.Tweet Read More
Xskool is an idea by John Thackara that I believe is a good idea.
In March I went to London for a get-together with a mix of designers, artists, social entrepreneurs, educators, academics and more, arranged by John at the Hub Islington where we sat around the table, eating, drinking and chatting for two hours to answer the question ‘is there really a need for such a thing, i.e. an xskool?’ John had sent through an invite a few weeks earlier with the question and his initial thoughts. The round-table gave everyone the opportunity to meet and contribute. While the time was short the feeling was the conversation should continue; there was a need for an ‘xskool’, whatever that would mean. This initial discussion of the xskool idea is outlined here by John. I mentioned the concept briefly in a previous post on skills.
In May I went to West Lexham for a weekend, arranged by John at Edmund Colville’s farm. It is a hub of social enterprises ran with co-director Lucy White and others. John’s aim was to answer two questions: If xskool was to exist 1) what is needed, and for who, that is not already on offer? 2) what should we do next, and who will do it? At West Lexham a predominantly new mix of people (from the first evening) again sat around the table eating, drinking and chatting, this time for 2 days, as well combining it with other stuff like building a pathway (led by Ed), facilitated discussions (led by John and others), playing games (led by Liane Fredericks who also took lots of photos which can be found here), cooking (under Tony the chef’s guidance) and cleaning. It was really enjoyable. I particularly liked working together on the pathway using local flints and cobble stones and reclaimed mosaic tiles. It was great to see so many people getting involved and doing different stuff, with a result at the end, albeit an unfinished path!
Today I attended to the Creative Exchange, a 1day event organised to promote the exchange of knowledge, skills and experience between the creative sectors.
Of all the presentations, I found the first one particularly interesting and inspiring – “Developing Sustainable Urban Creative Clusters”- which explored the role of cities in creating, supporting and promoting the creative industries to generate a “creative cluster”.
Discussing the relationship between cities and creative industries, the speaker, citing J. Jacobs’s ideology, highlighted the importance of “diversity” as a powerful vehicle for promoting the growth of creative industries. In fact preserving and ensuring this flow of diversity, the city can boost the exchange of knowledge and so flourish. Instead, “generic cities” afraid of diversity, are less oriented to change and don’t allow the growth of a creative cluster, tending to create a “siloization” and closure of creative industries.Tweet Read More