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Feb 03, 2023

Design Educators Conference Presentations by Sheeraz Waria, Ali Qadeer & Richard Hunt

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Show and Tell: Student Engagement and Virtual Design Studio, presented by Sheeraz Waria
One of the core aspects of UDL is to create opportunities for students to be better engaged and to feel more involved in their learning, and to maintain that what they are learning is relevant and important. All students have ideas and something to share, they all have goals and a reason for being a part of a programme, but not all of them share those ideas directly. The ‘Show & Tell’ approach encourages them to share their passions, aspirations, influences and/or motivations for being in this field. This presentation reviews the effect of this initiative and how it impacted individual student participation and the student body as a whole, as a part of an online community. It takes into consideration student feed-back and personal observation, to further the idea in making it a tool for constructive discourse and reasoned conversation. The key idea here being able to help students to connect better with the course content and with each other, by sharing ideas, get inspired and be excited about the field they are in.

Making Real: or Why We Don’t Teach Speculative Design, presented by Ali S. Qadeer & Richard Hunt, Graphic Designers & Faculty at OCAD University
In the past 20 years, design departments in higher education the term “speculation” has become a shortcut for critical engagement, creativity, and political commitment. However, speculative practice has itself developed a dogma with tools and methods which are rarely challenged. Ali and Richard propose a return to the function of professional practice as a means for “making real”: real publications, real artworks and artefacts, objects, systems and spaces that operate against prototype logics and in favour of performing their function beyond artifice. Making real things is an opportunity for students to develop a rich, critical and nuanced understanding of their own processes as makers. Using examples, they propose a mode of teaching design rooted in the development of independent, self-driven designers who use their practices to analyze and engage with the world, rather than in the construction of extrapolated utopias or dystopias. Asking students to engage with the world in the creation of design allows them to create meaning and artefact simultaneously.