Sustainable Futures

Reading week was spent in the (lonely lonesome) studio design studios learning about designing education for sustainable futures (well, it was not so lonely: we were a comfortable 14 participants, and it was an interesting course).

We learned theory and ideas surrounding design activism and agency. There were various spectrum to get our heads around. Here is me wasting (recycled?) paper, starting to get my head around the spectrum.

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I was a little confused by the teaching style of the course, which tended to sit in the left-hand side of these spectrum, despite advocating for more of an informal, transformative, capability building education.

I had great fun reading a paper on Ontological Designing by Anne-Marie Willis. Ontological design had (and still largely is) a mysterious kind of designing that has been dangled about by tutors several times on this course, and by reading the essay I have a little more of an understanding to what this mysterious style of designing means. Willis writes:

“Ontological designing is a way of characterising the relation between human beings and life worlds. As a theory it’s claims are:

• that design is something far more pervasive and profound than is generally recognised by designers, cultural theorists, philosophers or lay persons;

• that designing is fundamental to being human -we design, that is to say, we deliberate, plan and scheme in ways which prefigure our actions and makings -in turn we are designed by our designing and by that which we have designed (i.e. through our interactions with the structural and materiel specificties of our environments);

• that this adds up to a double movement -we design our worlds, while our world acts back and designs us”

(Willis, A.-M. (2006). Ontological design – laying the ground. Design Philosophy Papers, Collection 3, p.70)

On the last day we had lunch together and, in true hippy designerly fashion, held hands and thanked each-other for the inspiring week.