Nonfiction Design studio

I have just completed a rollercoaster studio ride with the Nonfiction Design studio, a collaboration between Communication Design and Media students. After this experience I am (well and truly) hooked into the integration of design methodologies and methods into professional media production as part of working out how documentary practices can be applied to different contexts. In this studio there was a lot of reference to Human-Centred Design (HCD) (or design thinking more broadly). I plan to explore some of the crossovers that documentary design has with HCD at a later date.

RMIT publicity article “Design and media students making a difference with Lentara”.

The studio was a roaring success with plans by Lentara to implement all of the students’ projects.

The studio, which named itself the ‘Idea Collective’ and part of the book cover shown here brings the collective cross-discipline collaboration together.

Screenshot 2016-06-09 12.35.12

Overview text about from the book produced on the studio:

In semester 1 of 2016, the Communication Design and Media Programs in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University were presented with the opportunity to collaborate with the not-for-profit ‘Lentara United Care’, known as ‘Lentara’ a community services organisation affiliated to the United Church, Australia. Lentara was looking for new ways to communicate the social service work they do to their volunteers, supporters and the public.

The industry partnership with Lentara was established from a studio model of teaching and learning, which aims to foster interdisciplinary and real-world engagement with industry practices. In this studio titled ‘Nonfiction Design’ there was an opportunity to explore how the two disciplines of Communication Design and Media could work together. The envisioned outcomes from this interdisciplinary collaboration was some prototype ideas that mixed together graphic design, advertising, branding, film, television, radio and new media practices.

The collaboration with Lentara went through three distinct phases over a 12 week period, which was set around the establishment of six project groups working on: Asylum Seeker Housing, United Women, Men’s Shed, a Shower Bus initiative, Recycled Clothing and the Lentara Winter Appeal. The first phase involved project groups liaising with the client to clarify a creative brief and carrying out global research. In the second phase, studio participants worked towards presenting several concepts to Lentara. Feedback from these presentations was then used in the final phase to develop ideas into working prototypes.

Design of World Machines

Going to this workshop ‘The Design of World Machines: Sharing, Caring and Global Technologies’ tomorrow here at RMIT. I like the concept it will be interesting to see what it is all about in the flesh. Text from the RMIT callout.

A previous article “World Machines”: Discourse, Design and Global Technologies for Greater-than-self Issues” with readings.

The overview:

The “sharing economy” deals with spare capacity that can be rented out. File sharing makes replicable digital content illicitly available. Both developments exist in a culture of owned personal or corporate resources (Light and Miskelly 2014). What if we turn our focus to shared world resources?
World Machines are a new archetype for the design of systems that draw together computational powers to connect, sense and infer with a social agenda of cross-world collaboration. A world machine equips global citizens with access to the means to sample, test and report on their circumstances and what they see (or can sense with tools), as well as to find each other, analyze the meaning of the data and link up for action upon what is found.

New tools give us a new ability to trace actions and manage attribution. Connected data points to cause, effect and correlations more powerfully, showing the impact of activity taking place in one situation in terms of social, environmental or economic change elsewhere. Systems that articulate these relations, as well as engender them, can be seen as a class of political action related to maker/making movements, with a particular ecological vision that resists current notions of progress and economic rationalism. The workshop will be focusing on how such socio-technical systems can be put to use and ways of thinking about the potential of networks that contribute to a new global relations, without damaging local cultures.

Anne Light

This workshop is facilitated by Ann Light who has conducted World Machines workshops so far in Denmark and the UK. She is a Professor of Design and Creative Technology at the University of Sussex and was principal investigator on the UK Digital Economy’s Design for Sharing research project and research director on Fair Tracing – global research into providing producer-generated provenance information to support ethical buying decisions – as well as several Connected Communities projects looking at how we dwell together in the highly mediated and mediatized world of the 21st century. She is particularly concerned by patterns of inclusion and the politics of design.