First of all, sorry I haven’t blogged in a long long while. I’ve been deep into my thesis work, so I’ve been sparse with my writing. Apologies! However, I did come across a great article in the New York Times that I’d like to share with everyone. It is called The New Untouchables by Thomas L. Friedman. It’s an article about creating new opportunities for oneself during this time of recession. I think one of the major lines that can describe this article is, “those who have the ability to imagine new services, new opportunities and new ways to recruit work were being retained. They are the new untouchables.”
This also brings to light what our Chairperson Anne Burdick has to say about designers in her article, “Graduate Education: Preparing Designers for Jobs that Don’t Exist (yet)“.
I see the opportunity right now to design a job that doesn’t exist quite yet. As a designer, it is not only up to me to try my best to do well at what I do, but it is also up to me to carve out spaces, or rather, “design” out spaces in the working world that have the potential to do things that existing job positions just don’t do right now. What can my explorations do to enhance my own practice as a design researcher? What am I doing as a designer to advocate for the induction of new creative practices within our culture?
Just a quick quick update:
I will be running 2 workshops at 826LA. One will be the Future Creature Project and the other will be the Future Neighborhood Project (names subject to change!). 826LA is a tutoring program located in Echo Park that focuses on creative writing. I am currently refining the workshop details with them.
Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation (LTSC-CDC):
I will be running 1-2 workshops with UCLA’s Casa Heiwa and Angeling Mentorship Program, or CHAMPs. This is a Saturday morning mentorship program supported by a non-profit low-income housing development corporation called LTSC-CDC.
I had the privilege of observing the Summer Institute for Teachers here at Art Center at the beginning of this month. I had the chance to observe how to apply design-based learning tactics into teaching curriculums, and have been utilizing my experience to apply to my own thesis work. Sitting in with teachers was great because I was able to understand the constraints they face, as well as learn what they know about how to work with young students. One of my goals coming into the Media Design Program was to prepare myself to be a design-based educator upon graduation, so it was refreshing and encouraging to be around enthusiastic teachers. There were many tools and methodologies presented that I know will greatly help my own work as a media designer next term. I think one of the bigger challenges for me is really being able to articulate the importance of me as a media designer in the world of design-based learning and thinking. This is something I plan to solidify over the break, and I know it is imperative in helping steer where I take myself over the course of my final term here at Art Center.
Here are photos of some of the teachers working on building communities, using existing craft materials:
I presented my Future Creature concept to the Illuminations: Lighting class last week. The class is comprised mainly of Product Designers and Environmental Designers. I was able to get a lot of feedback about my project, and I also recruited a few people that offered to help with my thesis! Because this was a lighting class, we focused a lot on how the object could serve other purposes. We also discussed other observations about the behaviors of the object.
Here’s some of the feedback:
– It’s really entertaining and considerations should be made to turn it into a product.
– Color and math games can easily be attached to this object.
– The object seems alive. The smaller light balls seem to have a personality when they roll around together.
– A good starting point to evoke imagination and storytelling (YES! This is what I wanted to hear!)
– Consider other materials – i.e. what if it was softer, what if the outer capsule was made of silicon, what other colors could be used, etc.
– What would it be like if the balls were different sizes too?
– People liked the sound of the clicking tilt switches – it sounded like a very low level of communication between the balls
After the presentations were over, I went home and took some photos of the object in the dark. Enjoy!
In preparation for my upcoming thesis review, I’ve been mapping out my process, writing down questions, pulling quotes, drawing little diagrams all in the effort to articulate this terms explorations. Where was I and where am I now and what am I aiming to do? What is my own process teaching/informing me?
Here are some photos of the Future Creature Probe Kit in it’s most finished form! The plan is to make multiples of these for each participant. This will be the jumping off point for the workshops I will be running with youth and, hopefully, with some teachers/educators later on! The kit provides a simple way to get an LED functioning, and is meant to work in conjunction with other activities – i.e. creative writing, sketching, scripting, illustration, etc.