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Victor Margolin: 

The Future of Design

Design is undergoing a multitude of changes at present. Both the public and designers are considering new forms of activity and new situations that can be designed. These range from government institutions to hurricane disaster relief programs. There are also new proposals for more open design processes, both in terms of making design plans for new products available as open source material as well as involving more people in the design process, particularly when the object of design is a social system or activity. The panel will discuss these and other conditions of the new design situation.

Arifin Graham:

Design and the Survival of Our Species

Many scientists – and others – believe that we are heading toward a precipice of dangerous and fundamental changes to Earth's climate and ecosystems, and that those changes will endanger all of humankind. What role can design play for a species facing such a prospect? If our behaviour is at least partly responsible for this predicted future, design and the messages it carries has the hope of effecting change to those behaviours. Through concepts of empathy, wonder, our need to "just go home and watch TV" (Ignatieff, 1989) – and the urgency of reconciling our love of stuff with the survival of our species – Arifin Graham of and will explore the possibilities for design to communicate, educate and ultimately inspire us to leave our descendants a world worth living in


Muftiah McCartin:

Designing legislation in a democratic legislative body is the art of compromise.  It is created out the tension among competing ideas, politics, and interests that spring from competing forces seeking such fundamentals as safety and protection, civil and other rights, well-being, prosperity, power, and knowledge.  The design of legislation is often painful and frustrating, and can distort one’s usual sense of design, but it is a process that can work.  Muftiah McCartin, who worked in U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years before becoming a lobbyist in a major Washington, D.C. law firm, will touch on the various components of the political/legislative process AND a window into the painful, frustrating, and sometimes quite crazy design of legislation under the American legislative system and spark an interesting discussion on why, for example, the United States is unable to pass immigration reform when a majority of the Americans, and a majority of Members of the U.S. Congress, support it. 


Garrett Thompson:

The philosophy of design usually characterises design as a way to solve problems. In its most advanced form, this idea consists in the claim that design is the solution of wicked problems. I would like to propose an alternative: namely that design is the creation of new opportunities. These opportunities consist in the reinterpretation of human desires in physical and social forms. This view of design tells us something important, interesting and new about the nature of human desire. 


Susannah Rosenthal:

What's Fun Got To Do With It?

From the start Susannah was enjoined by her

mother to "entertain the kids". This was a 

brilliant reframing of the job of taking care of her 5 younger siblings. The one qualification she added to the job desccription was to " never bore yourself." Later as Vice President of the world's largest toy company she assembled a stellar group of "kids" and they entertained themselves while making millions of dollars for the company. Play is the beginning of all culture ...and innovation and

important in the reframing of world problems into opportunities.



Paul Nelson:

The Future of Storytelling

In an age of unprecedented instability, with the climate system and capitalism showing signs of breakdown, how to we navigate the challenges inherent in life today? What is the story of our age? 

The poet/prophet William Blake knew that luminous details are at the core of all true storytelling and the internet and its capacity for spreading the news virally around the planet make our time potent for narratives that ring true with our massive economic disparity, issues of violence, race, gender and orientation and ecological uncertainty.


Myrna Jelman:

A Few Thoughts

To understand the future potential of anything, it is useful to understand its current state.


Fiction storytelling? Someone used to do that well…

On the film side, world culture is dominated by the Hollywood model with a lower appetite for risk since the recession as seen by the current reliance on tried and tested stories or concepts. Within the top 25 films for 2013:

  • Number of superhero Films: 5

  • Films that were either sequels/reboots/prequel/remakes: 16

  • Films Based on Original Ideas: 6


The smaller budgets if TV mean that it is currently regaining power from the film industry in terms of originality and attractiveness for successful actors.

Read full statement here



Honora Foah:

myth, weaving of the spirit

Here is one of the reasons contemporary people don’t like to understand myth – myth is about the world, not exclusively humans. As the brilliant Robert Bringhurst, mythographer extraordinaire, says about Native American mythology,

…Native American literature—by which I mean the genuine goods: oral works in Native American languages—is never about a human-centered world. It’s about a larger world, a wild world, where humans are minor players. 

Even in mythologies in which humans have pretty big roles, myth is about forces, enormous forces, forces of nature and gods that are not under human control. It is one of the central functions of myth to remind us of just that fact. Even within what we think of as human, the stories say over and over, you have no idea, Mr Man, you have no idea what you are doing. We activate forces with no understanding of what we have invoked, what comes to life, what dies in the multi-dimensional universe of consequences.     Read full statement here









Reynold Ruslan Feldman:

The Future of Education

This term can be predictive or prescriptive —a stab at what might happen or at what someone feels ought to. I’ll speak a little to both. Based on present trends, education in the next 20 years is likely to be (1) more mediated, (2) more lifelong, (3) more di-verse in terms of who’s doing what, where, when, and how, (4) more job focused, (5) paradoxically more about personal devel-opment, (6) more international, (7) less expensive, and (8) more regulated than at present. In general, these trends strike me as positive, pushed by a combination of ever-more-powerful electronic media, entrepreneurial competition, and a coming together of economic, environmental, and spiritual crises in the West as China gains economic ascendancy and the United States imperium declines into former-number-one-nation status comparable to that of Great Britain today. As for what the future of education should be, my view is it should be reframed as training for human development.

Read full statement here



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