Saturday, May 03, 2008

Design Connexity (event)

The Eighth International Conference of the European Academy of Design will take place at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, 1st, 2nd & 3rd April 2009.

Conference themes are:

Design Connexity
As the trend towards globalisation continues there is a growing connectedness between all our actions and a growing interdependence between the social, economic and the environmental. This increasing connectedness raises new moral and ethical issues and challenges. This concept has been termed ‘connexity’ (Mulgan, 1998) and provides the title for the conference and the backdrop for the themes of the EAD 08 Conference, which seeks to explore the implications of these trends for design research and practice.

Design Interconnections, Intersections and Convergence
This theme is concerned with the growing inter-connectedness of design, the interaction between design and other disciplines and the convergence between disciplines. Are design schools becoming the new business schools? Are new design professionals emerging that challenge the existing notions of what designers do? This theme invites papers that consider the impact of inter-connections between disciplines, the professions, and the implications for design education and professional practice.

Design Empathy
Products and environments need to satisfy functional as well as supra-functional needs (including the social, cultural, emotional, aspirational and spiritual). The data that can shape and guide decision-making can be visceral and ephemeral. More compassionate design approaches are necessary to ensure empathy and shared understandings are developed, and are particularly sensitive to how individuals communicate. We live in a verbo-centric culture, yet we experience the world visually. This theme invites papers that address issues, strategies and theories that consider empathic design.

Design Thinking
Design thinking is concerned with bringing about improvements in the human condition. This contrasts with critical thinking, which is concerned with the analysis and the breaking down of existing ideas. Design thinking is a creative process based around the building up of ideas. Design thinking does not seek to evaluate, as there can be no simply right or wrong answers. All ideas are welcome, since these have the potential to provide creative solutions. Design thinking offers strategies which can be applied to everyday situations. This theme invites papers that provide insights into the ways in which design thinking can be applied to address the critical issues facing contemporary society.

Service Design
Service design is concerned with both the tangible and intangible. It may be concerned with human interactions within systems, environments, communication and social interactions between people and organizations. It requires designers to question existing assumptions, undertake close observation of environments, provide diagnostic assessments and envisage new solutions. It has been applied in areas such as information services, health and education. This theme invites papers that provide insights into the application of service design that offer new solutions to tangible problems.

Design Boundaries
In a post-modern digital age we can witness attempts to combine art and technology crossing the boundaries in what was originally described by C.P. Snow (1959) as the ‘two cultures’. Snow’s fundamentally convergent position sought to expose the cultural divisions between art/humanities and science/technology. New design courses are being developed that embrace the concept of transdisciplinarity, moving beyond traditional subject boundaries. This theme invites papers that explore the boundaries between disciplines and professional practices, for example between design and architecture, design and craft or design and fine art.

Responsible Design
Designers are often cited as being major contributors to the ever-growing problem of waste as landfill sites fill up with discarded products that were designed without any consideration for recycling or reuse. Responsible designing makes it imperative that new products are designed with ‘cradle to cradle’ vision. This theme invites papers that explore the issue of responsible design, developing new strategies and insights into how this may be achieved.

The Ad Busters web site states that: “We are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century”. Is this the beginning of anti-design, a reaction against our material culture? This theme invites papers that challenge our notion of the role of design in the 21st century.

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I am exploring a hybrid form of art and design practice through the use of computer-based design and fabrication tools. I am interested in experimental objects and spaces that are dynamic and responsive and seek to challenge perceptions, expectations and established behavior.

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