Phd research week 13-14


The last couple of weeks I have emerged in the first confusion crisis of this research degree.  As I try to better shape my research proposal for approval of the research committee, there are many points that I need to clarify.  I have been taking the time to re-read some of my literature, as well as searching for new articles that might help me through.Also attended an event at the Royal Society of the Arts (my first ever as I never manage to get a ticket on time!).

Event: "Redesigning the Future" at RSA Nat Hunter, co-head of RSA Design and the Great Recovery Project Jonathan Chapman, professor of sustainable design, Brighton University Rich Gilbert, co-founder, The Agency of Design Mark Shayler, eco-innovator and founding partner of the Do Lectures

"The societal and environmental issues that surround design and its impacts are complex and more than often hidden away. Take our current linear manufacturing model of 'take-make-dispose'. We dig up and process raw materials, combine to make new objects (that we buy to replace our newish but now obsolete stuff) which usually go straight in the rubbish and on to landfill.  Studies now show that of the materials churning through the consumer economy, only a miniscule 1% are still in use six months after being sold.  This business as usual model simply cannot continue. Risk to supply chains is increasing, resources are dwindling, planet and people are being exploited beyond endurance and the cost of materials is rising sharply. We need to shift towards more circular systems and good design is pivotal to this transition.  But how do we make this change a reality? Consumers obviously play a huge role – we can demand more transparent supply chains and make more ethical purchasing decisions. Politicians can play their part through legislation, and the media and advertising industries can behave more responsibly in response to these shifts. But what of designers?  Good design makes things aesthetically desirable. Are designers part of the problem as well as the solution, and how much power do they really have to re-write the design brief?" Some key-points I took from this lecture:

- Circular economy is also about taking the designer from their design environment and mix them with other people to come up with solutions.

- "the sustainability crisis  is a crisis of perception, of the human condition." J.C

- There is a communication problem within some companies that wish to achieve a more sustainable practice, when they don't brief the designer correctly, or the designer that takes on the sustainable project does not have those skills.

- How do we reduce consumption? Jonathan Chapman gave the example of convenience - a ready made meal vs. a home cooked meal.  We have been exposed to the first option and it has been clearly communicated its convenience.  We now need to explain the better value of the second option.  "it is convenient, but it is not living."