I’ve always found myself to be a bit of a cynic. Questioning too deeply, double guessing, not really trusting facts and figures and ultimately ending up on Wikipedia or other sources of knowledge. Having to completely understand something before understanding it at all is usually the norm, I get to a point where my knowledge starts to form into something more rapid, something that excites me and indulges my brain in twisting complexities of otherwise uncovered simplicities. Starting this course Design as Advocacy I was definitely in the prior state, ‘what is this’, ‘as if that actually happens in the real world’… I wouldn’t say I’ve lived a sheltered life regarding what the course intended and eventually uncovered, but never had I felt so unaware of what actually happens out there. I loved discussing ideas surrounding change and advocacy in class, and designing concepts for different situations, even thinking about situations I’d never considered to exist. I found Soumitri’s teaching style to be stimulating and my thoughts were never isolated to a singular topic. Every thought spurred into consideration of others, and Design as Advocacy proved to be a valuable lesson in introducing me to what it may mean to become and Industrial Designer.
What I took from twitter was not so much knowledge about content, more about activism and advocacy. Sometimes when you’re screaming for attention, nobody hears you. I didn’t receive one comment on anything I posted (from an outsider), and I thought there were some good ones amongst them. I wasn’t upset, but neither was I surprised. I wasn’t really being an advocate for anything yet, I had hardly got my mind around the course content or what I was actually doing at this stage. Little did I know, I was changing. Being an activist or advocate for something may not involve direct access to the public stage you would like to see yourself on, and it takes a passionate, enthusiastic, and determined activist to even be heard. Twitter as a tool, maybe I didn’t enjoy it so much.
We produced and infographic document as a group, focusing on global citizenship, something that stays in my thoughts every time I consume. The group struggled to get off the ground, but with the help of leadership from Isaac, we were on track. Some of the team members may not have contributed as much as I would have felt fair, but I’ve become accustomed to this and my patience prevailed, I was happy with the overall outcome and the efforts from the group as a collective.
After a task of the initial, with the groups mixed up again, I felt everyone had a clearer understanding of the task at hand. The poster was on a much larger scale and it was going to a lot more effort to collaborate on a bigger format. I played a role designing my individual scenario, and the final presentation document for print, which was by far the largest I have ever constructed. This task really helped build on the ideas and concepts the class had been discussing, and at over five metres long I was impressed with our efforts, even though the majority of this had come in the days leading up to presentation.
14 weeks on, and a whole heap of education surrounding my main topics of global citizenship and consumption later, I’m no longer confused as to what the course set out to achieve. I find myself looking at products with much bigger scope, looking at the variables and factors that go into it behind the scenes, from a stand point I haven’t really found myself in before. The layers of products and their intent on society, as money makers or catalysts for consumption, or even the opposite. I learned convincing arguments in a design sense may not be as irrational as previous studies, and that the presentation of them needs to be concise, organised and logical. I learned about change and the steps towards it, the outlining of problems regarding different aspects of society, and the way design can influence the people on a global scale. The thoughts this course has instilled on me will form a strong foundation to construct further knowledge surrounding the design process and what it means to truly be an advocate for change.