Eclectic Curiosity

Posted on July 13th, 2003, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Does design have to resist being disciplined? It’s an important question; one that is examined more in depth by Athens-based university design instructor Artemis Yagou in a short academic paper she wrote on design as network of identities. In the paper Yagou pieces together numerous researched quotes on “…how setting up a network of identities may contribute to fighting the prevailing departmentalization of actions and people…”.

In his call for this book project, Jonas presents himself in the paradoxical endeavour to design foundations for a groundless field, to discover the foundations for design. In my contribution to the project, I will begin by temporarily reversing the question and ask instead “What can be founded on design itself?” According to Simon, “everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” Given this definition, design may be considered as the original constructive human activity. Many researchers have applied this idea to specific contexts, such as the professional and the educational. In their study of professional attitudes, Boutin and Davis speak about designers as specialists of a creative generalist approach, which enables design to become a new and attractive professional model. Furthermore, design is considered to be appropriate as a model for education in general. Buchanan proposes design as a liberal art of contemporary culture, as it “provides a powerful connective link with many bodies of knowledge” as well as “integrates knowledge from many other disciplines and makes that knowledge effective in practical life”. Another supporter of the idea claims that “design is at an intellectual crossroads where anthropology meets communication studies, art meets marketing, and cognitive psychology meets business. It is in the position to become an integrative educational field, a liberal art for the next century.”

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