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This course is a story about culture(s) in motion. It is told over ten parts, and explores ten cultural dimensions. It is for anyone that wants to evolve their culture-design-management skills
This is a learning experience that illustrates abstract terms - like complexity, systems, experiences, styles and connection - with practical examples. It is a story that, in the words of Marvin Gaye, attempts to think through 'what’s going on'.
The first cohort of collaborators will be the first to experience a syllabus that has been incubating in organisations, universities and global scenes for five years. It is directed by Olive: an educator, ethnographer and designer with a background in literary theory and cultural strategy.
The experience revolves around a weekly 'Insight Salon' and features special guest appearances by friends from the InsightOS collective. It is expected that collaborators will read the weekly pre-read extracts and, for those with more time, a mixed media 'reading' list is available for each of the modules below.
One: Culturising Power
We open the course by attempting to detangle the messy relationship between power and culture. We tune in to their different rhythms, examine some major models, decode different forms of 'soft' power, and think through the core tension between competitive and cooperative mindsets.
- Learning outcome: An ability to describe systems of cultural logic
- Resource: The InsightOS ‘Four Forces’ model
- Theorist: Stuart Hall
- Filmmaker: Adam Curtis
Two: Aestheticising Movement
In this section we ask: what does it mean to think about progressive movements, such as Pride, XR, BLM and Occupy, as a 'brand'? How might this trajectory help us think through brand elements such as style, purpose, and media strategy? We also ask: what are the dangers of this approach? And how might we decode 'monsters' and 'mutants' to protect us from the 'shadow' of branding?
- Learning outcome: An ability to map, analysis, and decode the ‘zeitgeist’
- Resource: The InsightOS: ‘Cultural Canvas’
- Theorists: Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello
- Writer: Tom McCarthy
Three: Poetic Systematising
We are all becoming system thinkers. With this mindset, we can imagine poetry as a storehouse of cognitive frames and keywords that are inextricably linked to cultural and spiritual life. In this section we ask: how might we use poetry as an interactive and imaginative tool that helps us hear the ‘voice’ of deep history?
- Learning Outcome: The growth of a ‘poetic thinking’ mindset
- Resource: The InsightOS 'Salon Resources'
- Theorist: Don Paterson
- Poets: Jay Bernard and Jorie Graham
Four: (dis)Connecting Identity
The great reset is here, and we are invited to rethink our cyborg relationship with technology. We introduce the tool of phenomenology, and ask: how might it help us understand how technology shapes our emotional infrastructure? This builds on the four-year ‘(dis)Connected Lives’ collaboration between InsightOS and the London College of Communication.
- Learning Outcome: Develop principles for ethical digital design
- Resource: The InsightOS '(dis)Connected Lives' archive
- Theorist: Byung-Chul Han
- Platform: Rhizome Digital Art
Five: Collective Designing
Collective action is based on the art of collaboration. A true collaboration amongst equals can fuel movements, generate insight, build networks and provoke change. We ask, what happens when we combine social psychology with collectivist motivations?
- Learning Outcome: Understanding how to design a sense of collectivism
- Resource: The InsightOS ‘Collective Design’ playbook
- Theorist: Audre Lorde
- Writer: Svetlana Alexievich
Six: Transforming Experience
From discordant and noisy, to harmonious and minimal - this section explores various experiential spectrums such as: immersive, atmospheric, participatory, tactile and multisensory. We ask, what are the states-of-mind created by non-ordinary experiences?
- Learning Outcome: An understanding of the rudiments of experience design
- Resource: The InsightOS ‘Dimensions of Experience’ canvas
- Theorist: Julian Henriques
- Musician/Poet: The Bug and Roger Robinson
Seven: Queering Finance
The relationship between gender and money runs deep; and the patriarchy remains firmly in charge. In this section we highlight the widespread support of the Pride movement by financial institutions and we ask: how might queerness be articulated as a critical tool that can change the fabric of finance?
- Learning Outcome: An ability to deploy methods of queer critique
- Resource: The InsightOS 'Refashioning Finance' report
- Theorist: Sarah Ahmed
- Artist: Ru Paul
Eight: World Building
Video games, mythology, digital media, the metaverse, science-fiction, fantasy… all expand our consciousness into new zones and dimensions. In this section we ask: how might tools such as genre theory, game design and curation empower the next generation of world builders?
- Learning outcome: An ability to create dynamic, inclusive and imaginative spaces for ideation
- Resources: The InsightOS 'Principles of Game Design'
- Theorist: Johan Huizinga
- Platform: NTS
Nine: Apocalyptic Raving
Prepare for the party at the end of the world! We think through the role of hedonism; the social function of the carnivalesque; and the spread of festivalization. We ask: what might rave culture teach us about living in a world in flux?
- Learning outcome: An ability to articulate the dystopian sensibility
- Resource: The InsightOS 'Glossary of Social Forms'
- Theorist: Mark Fisher
- Artist: Joni Belaruski
Ten: New Tourism
As we move into the next stage of global culture, we ask: how might we redirect the nomadic tourist to help make the world a better place? In this conclusion, we rethink the archetype of the flaneur, sharpen our ethnographic tools, and coordinate ourselves via the next-gen of collectively ran platforms.
- Learning outcome: An understanding of ethnographic research methods
- Resource: The InsightOS 'Glossary of Creative Insight Methods'
- Theorist: Walter Benjamin
- Artist: Pope L