AGENT MAKERS – Exploring speculative design concepts as the interface for change within the city

STIRLING, Eve, HANSON, Maria, BATEMAN, Roger and LEVICK-PARKIN, Melanie (2017). AGENT MAKERS – Exploring speculative design concepts as the interface for change within the city. In: International Visual Methods Conference, Singapore, 16th - 18th August 2017. (Unpublished)

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In this period of accelerating human agency in the world, in the Anthropocene, with ever increasing signs of the relationship between design(ers) and nature turning into disasters. One could argue that designers hold a great deal of power in contemporary society, how many young designers feel like they have any of this power or are aware that their training has equipped them with agency beyond the artifactual context? This research explores whether and how speculative, future oriented design briefs can make design students aware of their agency to be socially responsible. And how using visual methods to create and document these concepts supports this? The project ‘Design Futuring the City’, an international cohort of MA Students from a cross-disciplinary design programme were asked to imagine futures for their home cities, developed from a wide range of futurologist predictions. Part of the students exploration was to give consideration whether their ‘visions’ of this future were utopian or dystopian and how these visions where communicated. Our visual analysis reviews 48 student project outcomes, survey responses and interviews with students. Preliminary finding suggest that the project has affected a shift in students perception of their role as designers in relation to the environment and nature, offering scope to imagine scenarios whereby otherwise marginalised voices are heard. Design students will potentially find themselves in privileged societal positions in terms of prefiguration and need to be able to consider the role of their interface with the broader value system in which to enact their agency.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Science, Technology and Arts > Department of Art and Design
Depositing User: Eve Stirling
Date Deposited: 09 May 2018 13:42
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:47

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