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Monthly Archives: December 2009

I recently got invited to Thinkpublic for a design clinic which I applied to attend. Thinkpublic are a really interesting design studio…as case of does what the tin says! We had to do a pecha-kucha presentation to the group. I did my presentation on why I want to be a designer. The long and short of it was I think design can change the world and I want to see social change and ethical change in the way we live our lives. The picture above is from a slide about one of my motivations a verse from the bible “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  To see the rest of the slides go to flickr.

Another recent adventure was my attempt with my friend Sam to walk to Brighton from London…Clapham North to be exact. The day for our adventure was the friday it snowed. Everyone said we were stupid to even try but this didn’t bother us at all…as someone said to Sam ‘people have done harder things’. The first 10 or so miles was all London and suprisingly drepressing but once we got out to the country it was so beautiful. We found walking in the snow hard work so 18 hours, 2 pub stops, some other stops, lots of chocolate and 45miles later we had to stop. Stopping only 12miles short was hard but in those 12miles were the South Downs whih after 45miles of walking in the snow we weren’t going to be able to physically get over. So anyone who fancies a walk to Brighton go for it…and of course you can do it (but aovid the snow it will be your downfall), it’s amazing, an epic adventure! I’d love to see a uprising of the attitude of I can NOT…I can’t! Do stuff!

I’ve been getting pretty annoyed at Littlewood’s Christmas ad which advertises ‘Christmas in manageable pieces’. By this they mean buying what you can’t afford and not having to pay for it till next Christmas…which is the same thing as just don’t think about it and spend what you don’t have. Debt is crippling people, ruining lives and breaking up families. My mam works with CAP, Christians Against Poverty, who amoung many things provide debt counciling to help people really struggling. Payment schemes like this and stores like Brighthouse are creating a glimmer of hope that people can have all these things that can’t afford but instead the reality is they pay more for the items than the straight up price. One CAP client bought a washing machine from Brighthouse it should have cost £400 but she will end up paying £1200.

So this is my small frustrated response, not the prettest thing but says what I think…lies easiest swallowed in small pieces.

‘Design is dead long live design’ nicely leads onto something else I kinda involved with, Design debates design. It came about through some interest in what was done at New Designers on the Goldmsiths stand.

So…’the concept behind ‘design debates…’ is to encourage both the public and the design community to engage in discourse around the topic of design. ‘Design debates…’ will fulfill the twin function of 1) designing and re-designing teh context and structure of ‘debate’, and 2) creating a lively atmosphere which allows designers and non-designers alike to explore, through debate, ‘what design is’.’

In thinking about this I came up with simple little almost flashcards that are turned over and reveal an informal point of disscussion around design.

I’ve also read Why I write the essay by George Orwell this week which has left me with some things to think about and also some possible debate topics.

Matt Ward let me tag along to ‘Design is dead, long live design’ debate. The participants were from 2nd and 3rd year of the Ba design course and also for the first time also included master’s students. It was a good day at the debate and in the pub.  It was found that… 

“That design should not be made for an art gallery market, it is not context driven and it should not serve Industry. We also found that design should be playful and a problem solving activity whilst not being a survival instinct. We decided that design should be for the future and should aid social mobility whilst not being activism. Finally we worked out that design is blue collar and is ultimately pollution.” Read more about the debate and what’s happening in the Goldsmiths world of design at Goldsmiths Design blog.

It reminded me that one of the things that gets me excited about design is knowing how I feel about it and the strength of those feelings. I personnally think can effect the world and change it for the better…which in it’s self is pretty exciting. What’s disappointing is that I don’t think that many designers really know passionately what design is and why they believe in it.