The Experience of Making Friday, June 8th, 2018

Workshop + Forum: Situational Methods in (Graphic) Design

Denise Gonzales Crisp, Professor, North Carolina State University, College of Design
Nida Abdullah, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University

Nida Abdullah + Denise Gonzales Crisp + Others + You

Participants will practice and discuss two critique methods that introduce improvisation as a means of embracing uncertainty in the design process.

IConvene with design educators who believe that arranging post-it notes is not the only means of parsing out complexity; colleagues who conspire to expand upon codified, design-oriented skills in problem solving. This hands-on workshop stresses improvisation, ad hoc practices, creative use (and misuse) of theory, as ways of teaching flexibility and responsiveness to cultivate emergent and divergent thinking and making.

Why such practices? Acceptance of change and comfort with uncertainty are critical skills for future designers entering dynamic professional practices within their culture. Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown liken culture to the matter that scientists grow in petri dishes under controlled conditions (A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating Imagination for a World of Constant Change). Unlike the view of culture that seeks stability and adapts to change when forced, their perspective sees culture responding to its surroundings organically. Culture doesn’t adapt to change, it thrives on change. Change is “one of its environmental variables,” which creates further change. 

Preparing students of design to actively participate in constantly changing circumstances, and to positively contribute to them, calls for additions and shifts in pedagogical approaches. Let’s together investigate how educators and practitioners might integrate, if not emphasize, uncertainty and organic evolution into pedagogy.