We have all experienced the annoyance of failing products. We are pretty much guaranteed that everything we own will break at some point in the future. Some large things we will keep repairing for as long as possible (houses, cars etc.) mainly due to the expense of buying new ones. However, a lot of products that break on us are quickly thrown away. Whether this is due to lack of time, knowledge or skills to repair them or just because it’s easier or cheaper to replace it with a new product. But what if we started to repair?Tweet Read More
image source: http://sugru.com/
I recently attended the INSPIRING MATTER innovative encounters between science, art and design hosted by the RCA‘s Materials for Living Hub and the Materials and Design Exchange of the MATERIALS KTN. The event brought scientists, artists, designers, anthropologists and material enthusiasts in general together to ‘facilitate dialogue’ across material related disciplines.
Materials are products. I’m not a material scientist, I am a design-researcher and I understand the difference between a good product and a bad one. This idea of a material being a product is not a new one, but there is a new level of material control or design intent that is available to us now that has not been previously. We can design materials to behave in unique and innovative ways that suit our visions and whims. We can create responsive materials, e-paper, and even, materials that appear to be invisible. It is clear that material science is undergoing some evolution. I see this from a number of perspectives . . .Tweet Read More
This is an interview I did with the newly formed design and sustainability group 342collective . . . 342collective are a group of second year graphic design students at UWE. It’s reassuring and impressive to see such initiative from a group of undergraduates – Well done 342!
1. How have you changed your practice over time to become more sustainable?
This is a difficult question to answer as EDC do not actually design any products as such. We are a primarily a research centre that generate knowledge and best practice approaches for businesses, government and education. Because sustainability is so complex we need to work with businesses to help them to do ecodesign, with government to inform the right type of policies to then support the businesses, and with education to educate future designers in the right way!
The most directly design related approach is with businesses, to support them in adopting environmental practices. This includes for instance, helping them to understand the impacts of the materials they are using, implement environmental assessment methods for products and implement ecodesign techniques from early in the design stage.Tweet Read More
On the 8th and 9th of September I attended the EPDE conference in London and presented a paper on strategic questions for design education for sustainability. The buzzwords that came up quite often during the conference were; change, empathy, cross-disciplinarity and transnational collaborations.
‘We are in a world of rapid change’ was the opening statement of the keynote by David Hughes and he argued that in this world, design helps customers in getting their jobs done by being functional and emotional. Design and innovation can be seen as strategies to change the techno-system. But to my understanding of Peter Childs’s keynote, if creativity and empathy feed into design, we can innovate the socio-cultural system. Peter Childs presented his own figure, but this is what I doodled. Would you agree with this model explaining two meanings of the outcomes of design and how empathy and creativity are key in changing the socio-cultural system?
On the 8th and 9th of September I attended the EPDE conference in London and presented a paper on strategic questions for design education for sustainability. The paper was a follow up from the SVID research we did in Sweden last year. You can find the paper attached and the presentation below.Tweet Read More
Last weekend I went camping at the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire with 300 other interesting people. We were all there for the Uncivilisation festival which despite its name is a cheerful and extremely friendly festival of ideas and doing. What is different about this festival is that, while there is music and ale, people mostly came for the talking, story telling, listening and sharing. The overriding topic of the festival was our collective future and the potential scenarios we face with combined collapses (e.g. global financial crisis, changing middle east, climate change, peak oil etc.). Despite my initial reservations that it would be another rehash of dated deep green thinking (which was partly true) there were lots of interesting and inspiring sessions.
On reflection it was really a conference held outdoors but the vibrant mix of people and setting made for an enjoyable experience. It seemed perfectly comfortable moving from a panel debate on “collapsonomics” with people well versed in economic collapse into a workshop on homebrew held in a yurt. There was a pleasant randomness to the sessions and it was easy to pick and choose what sessions you went to. It was an open space format in the true sense.Tweet Read More
I came across this the other day and thought you should check it out!Take a break maybe treat yourself to a cup of tea and watch this.
This is a funny watch with a lot of truth. I wonder what sort of behaviour change might happen if more people where asking themselves, what if i’m wrong?What If more businesses started asking themselves this question?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