Every week, a student from the Masters in Design for Social Impact (MDES) program brings you happenings. This is MDES 05 by Vaila Cameron.
The week started with our research and methodology class, where we were taught how to construct the most effective research survey for our thesis’ . We also met Sabine, our course leader from MakeSense, who we will be working with as of next week.
Tuesday was jam-packed. We began with our social entrepreneurship class, led by Malaury and Manon from MakeSense. We were asked to identify a social or environmental problem and dig deep into its causes, the impact, and various initiatives and organisations which are currently attempting to tackle the issue. Afterwards, at our weekly reading group I was introduced, by Hanna, to the concept of speculative design. ‘Speculative Everything’ is a book by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby which poses the idea that ‘design is a means of speculating about how things could be – to imagine possible futures.’ For me, this felt like a lightbulb moment. Design can be a difficult thing to describe, especially if you don’t have that ‘physical object’ to present, but the speculation is such a huge part of the process; wanting to imagine how things can change for the better, through design.
We then had a session with Linda about conflict behaviour for our personal leadership class. We had all completed the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), a test which measures an individuals behaviour in conflict situations through 5 different modes of responding. These modes consist of: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding (deferring), and accommodating. Of course, our results were varied, we are all different people, but it was very insightful to analyse our results. This will hopefully allow us, as individuals, to look at how we might balance out or improve on certain areas, in order to become more well-rounded ‘leaders’.
That evening, a group of us went to the Open Design for Social Change event at ESS’pace. ODSC is a collective which brings together designers and professionals to generate social innovation. Through this, we met a number of interesting people, including Jeanne Granger, one of the founders of La Réserve des Arts, an exciting zero-waste institution which we visited previously, and discussed in week 2’s blog. November is already being planned, and at this event we hope to introduce our programme on a wider scale. It feels extremely hopeful to be part of a collective with the same ideals as our masters, and is yet another eye-opener in to what this amazing city has to offer.
On Wednesday, we had our second visit to the Draft Ateliers workshop, where we proposed our individual projects for our design studio class. The projects were extremely interesting, ranging from large-scale furniture design to Amy’s simple but effective bracelets; an identifier that the wearer is a ‘safe space’ and source of help for refugees in unfamiliar surroundings. Later in the day, Rica and I met up with Adriana, a social activist and creator of Honesty; a free-speech platform and self-coaching programme which aims to give people the tools to be their best selves. The end goal: peace. We are definitely hooked, and already planning our next meeting with Adriana at the Honesty ‘Heartquarters’.
Towards the end of the week, we start discussions and brainstorming for our Design for Social Impact Festival, set to take place in June 2018. I can already tell that, personally, this is going to be a huge motivator, and is giving me a real sense of purpose as to what we, as a team, are trying to achieve . The pace is definitely starting to pick up, and the workload is starting to build. However, I am continually thankful to have my MDES family to keep me cool and calm.