On 28 March, MA Design: Expanded Practice students held an Open Studios evening to exhibit their work this term on four Transfocality projects. The briefs were as follows:
Things We Don’t Need to Know
This brief asked students to engage with the potential value of not knowing things. They were required to make things with, around or for hidden elements within society and culture, without exposing the secrets themselves. The aim was not to deny the negative or harmful effects of secrecy, but to look for areas where secret or hidden knowledge can generate positive or playful engagements.
DIY Digital Devices
This project was about imagining technological futures that are open, transparent and empowering. It built on ideas about ‘open source’ design, in which allowing people to make and modify their own technologies is touted as a means to revive democracy with citizens who are informed and actively engaged in creating their technological futures. The brief was run by the Interaction Research Studio and asked students to work in teams of four to design DIY digital devices or services that people can make and modify themselves.
This brief asked students to define their own concept of interlude and developing this into a making process. It explored poetic ways of making through an attention to duration (as a temporal dimension) and position (as a spatial dimension) of the interlude. This is where gaps, diversions, rhythms, imperfections, atmospheres come into focus to investigate our understandings of interlude and how this may be designed into making processes.
Care has recently become a focus of increased public concern, political debate and research in the UK, Europe and the US, and there seems to to be a crisis of care in areas such as healthcare, in social care, migration and the environment. This brief asked students to work through what care might mean in relation to design. Can we unpick, rethink, rebuild, redefine what is meant by understandings and practices of care through our work as designers? Can we imagine new ways of practicing design by examining the role of repair, maintenance, tinkering, growing and mending? Can we craft affective engagement, and attend to the ethics that arise?