Almost: From presumptions of design to products of design

Allan Chochinov's ten steps for sustainable design, image courtesy of Treehugger

Tonight I attended a ‘Ravensbourne Late – ‘a new series of industry events exploring future digital media technology development and the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in all business sectors’ (Ravensbourne) – tonights talk was by Allan Chochinov.

‘Allan Chochinov from Core 77 will be speaking about the role of the designer, education and design paradoxes. He will also be discussing Autism Connects,¬†a competition run in partnership between Core 77 and Autism Speaks encouraging design students to produce innovative technology solutions for people with autism. From myriad near-misses in intent, execution, and promised value, to an examination of the new imperatives of the outputs of design, this talk will offer an alternative in how we view the practice and the pedagogy of design and artifacts’ (Ravensbourne).

This was a fascinating lecture about ‘Products of Design’ (coincidentally this is the name for ‘a new graduate design MFA program in Products of Design at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City, focusing on the purposeful, systemic role of artefacts and design offerings in multidisciplinary contexts’ Ravensbourne. The programme is due to launch in Autumn 2012.). However, as I look back through my notes I don’t appear to have written the word autism once (maybe his synopsis to Ravensbourne was an earlier draft), but that grumble aside, intellectually it was a challenging and perceptive navigation through the world of design pedagogy.

Chochinov’s thoughts on ‘what happens if we get it right’ (as opposed to how much designers are told we are getting it wrong (note Victor Papaneck’s Design For The Real World), reminded me of John Thackara’s In The Bubble ‘if we can design our way into difficulty, then we can design our way out’.

Chochinov is a tour de force in discussions of design strategy and innovation, (Ravensbourne are keen to have his input no doubt). With the spotlight on A C Grayling’s New College of the Humanities mission to usurp the coalition government’s funding dearth for the humanities, (Grayling wants to promote the importance of critical thinking and the value of training minds), the SVA has pulled a master stroke in becoming the provider for Chochinov’s new programme.

Chochinov’s ten steps for sustainable design can be found on Treehugger.


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