Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week 442

Since it's been almost six weeks since my last weeknote, I feel as though I'm giving confession!

The most significant thing that's happened in this time is the start of classes. I ended up choosing to focus on a set of cultural domains that shape and are shaped by design, and I think that my Design Anthropology course is off to a good start. I also decided to assign one major project in three parts, so the students will be designing and creating (but not deploying) their own cultural probes. The goal here is to gain broad theoretical exposure, and deep practical exposure, to culturally-based design research. This trimester I'm also a tutor for our third year design research paper, and I'm really looking forward to getting into studio-based learning and teaching.

In other university-related news, I've taken up my position as Convenor of the School of Design's Research Committee, which promises to be very interesting. The question of what constitutes the process and product of design research is complex, and given that our first-year curriculum and Design Innovation programme combine industrial design, media design and culture+context, it's easy to see how our faculty's research activities are quite varied. Finding ways to value a range of material, empirical, theoretical, creative and performative processes and products should provide no small challenge - especially with New Zealand's next Performance-Based Research Fund round quickly approaching.

I'm also enjoying the overlap between teaching and research that occurs with post-graduate supervision and examination. I'm impressed by the quality of student work here, and can't wait to see how this develops in the next few years. Given my own research interests, I'm also fascinated by my colleague Ross Stevens' explorations and teaching in Design Led Futures and we're trying to figure out ways of collaborating - including, I hope, a paper for the speculative design track at EASST 2010.

In other news, I'm starting work on a small research project on the ontological and social status of "outdoor" cats in urban areas. Domesticated but definitely not livestock, "outdoor" cats exist somewhere between pets like "indoor" cats and "urban wildlife" like possums. I'm most interested in the relations here between humans and non-humans, and how material culture - everything from katkabins to tweeting rfid cat doors - is designed and used to mediate these relations.

Otherwise, I've got several papers in various stages of review and publication that I need to get off my plate as quickly as possible. I'll be heading to Europe for two weeks in early June for Media in Action: International Conference of the Media Upheavals Research Centre at the University of Siegen - and I've got a bunch of UK and Norway university visits that need to be finalised sooner rather than later. If anyone wants to get together during that trip, please let me know.

Now, as Kang would have it, "We must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom..."

CC Copyright 2001-2009 by Anne Galloway. Some rights reserved. Powered by Blogger and hosted by Dreamhost.