Posts from the ‘Design Conference’ Category
March 15, 2015
I am writing this one day post-Assignment 2 submission thus will freely admit what follows has been born from mostly half-formed ideas created while running, while drinking, and in pre-dawn hours while trying to go back to sleep. Please forgive the ramblings, unformed ideas, etc.
Due to the magic that is the Timehop app, I realized that one year ago this week I was at the AIGA Design Educator Connecting Dots Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Timehop informed me that apparently I was a Tweet-writing machine as I was encountering so many new ideas, meeting so many new people, and in many ways coming out as not only a design educator of the online tribe (which is rare in design education) but the dean of a fully online graphic design program (which in the graphic design education world is pretty much the equivalent of being a unicorn.) As it was only a year ago, re-reading what I’ve tweeted has brought back the memories and the overall context of the experience which has been the catalyst for a good nostalgia session as I compare where I was a year ago with where I am now.
The main theme that seemed to stick out to me last year was the need for designers to be engaged in Research (yep….cap R for “Research” because designers love a good capital whenever possible!) This checks out with my own memory as it seems a lot of the keynotes rotated around the fact that design pedagogy kind of has its own “cold start problem” going on because it wants so desperately to be a legit academic field but because graphic design is ubiquitous, young, and practice/apprentice based and designers are very much an “other”…it’s just an academic hard sell.
In addition, I think what really might contribute to these notions is that designers and even design educators don’t interface with more mainstream academia because they have so effectively established their own communities of practice. Don’t get me wrong, these communities are amazing and I love designers almost as much as I love people from Canada. But…this year has convinced me that designers have done a fabulous job establishing their own niche at the expense of becoming part of the larger education conversation, and especially educational technology/digital literacy conversation that is going on.
This lack of voice is curious to me as graphic design in general and design educators in particular seem to have so much to bring to the table when discussing how to navigate the very murky spaces of technology, learning, and human empathy. Perhaps it is because I’m ignorant to the conversations (as I have legit spent more time lately in the edu sphere as opposed to the design sphere). I hope this is the case as I think this bleed area matters in some pretty profound ways.
For the next couple days I’m going to both get back on the writing wagon and engage a bit more with these ideas. What is design pedagogy? Why are designers not integrating with the larger narratives of digital literacy and network learning that are going on? Or are they and it’s me that’s just missing it because my own vision and network is too narrow?
March 19, 2014
Today’s 500 words of written brilliance (ha) are around an article I read this morning while working out. (Yes…I’m on Day 3 of a workout-and-read-academic-articles kick and it’s pretty amazing. Sitting and reading feels almost like torture unless it’s accompanied by whiskey and it’s in the evening but manically moving with the aid of a machine and reading…best thing ever. Go figure.)
The article is by co-authored one of my new friends, Karel van der Waarde, and is called Communication design education: could nine reflections be sufficient?
March 18, 2014
The first day of the conference left me equal parts exhausted and excited. When I climbed into the shuttle van back to the hotel (coincidentally seated next to keynote speaker, Karel van der Waarde…we talked about Ikea furniture and I tried to be chill even though on the inside it was very very out-of-body) it was with the distinct feeling that I was a bit different than I’d been that morning…like my mind had been stretched just a bit wider than before in a sort of mental yoga exercise.
Day two came way too early but away I went for another round of inquiry, challenge, and spontaneous meeting of awesome educators. The second day was a bit heavier on people presenting papers of their research. I attended several interesting sessions including one by Daniel McCafferty challenging the dead metaphor of designer as problem solver and instead re-framing it to be designer as gardener. (And yes…he is Canadian and I’ll be very shallow and admit the reason I originally chose to attend was because I totally miss my cohort and just listening to his accent was a bit like coming home in an academic manner.) Perhaps the most provocative paper session I attended (though didn’t realize it at the time) was by Dori Griffin whose presentation was titled Design + the Doctorate: A Call for Participation in the Disciplinary Discussion Surrounding Doctoral Education in Design.
March 17, 2014
So…today’s been my first full day back post-conference thus it seems only fitting that I should make Donald Schon proud and be a reflective practitioner about the whole experience…well at least a little bit. And, since I need to get back into the writing habit sooner than later, what better place to do it than here with the sacred 500-ish words.
First off, let me say that the conference was totally beyond all of my expectations. I don’t know what exactly I was thinking it would be (because honestly I was so fried by the week preceding it) but I can say I had no idea every speaker and almost every session would be an somewhat of an “aha” moment for me. Perhaps it’s because I lead and work on an entirely location neutral team or perhaps it’s because my own educational journey is one that is so obscure, but whatever the case may be at the conference I discovered others who not only were tracking with me but actually understood a bit what I get amped up about and, oddly enough, get excited about it too. There is indeed deep life-giving power in hearing the two simple words, “Me too”.