Fragments and trajectories: cultures, design and collaboration

Fragments and trajectories: cultures, design and collaboration

‘Cultures’ is a complex word.

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Amidst lockdown havoc and future-shock, freethinking conversations have been sparking across the world. Racism, discrimination and inequality are coming under new critique on a systemic level. Is this the start of a collective change? A new post-Covid global world order? A shift in power to grassroots communities?

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This is a liminal event. We are entering into new cycles and pathways. We must decide: who will we work for? Who will we allow into our life? We must prepare for the next stage, our transmogrification.

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A collaboration should involve another persons contribution becoming inextricable.

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There are two dimensions to a collaboration: a shared agenda, and emotional support. We might think of these as similar to the narrative distinction between 'story' and 'plot'. The 'story' provides forward momentum, the shared curiosity, where one thing happens after another. 'Plot' provides the depth, the sense of meaning, the intelligence and perhaps the beauty. It brings past memories and experiences into the collaboration.  We might then draw these along two axis, the 'x' is the story/agenda propelling the collaboration forward, and the 'y' is the emotional support/plot that provides the artful arrangement.

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Design is a guiding metanarrative for our times. Through it we can rethink: capitalism, education, luxury, play, fashion, cosmopolitanism, celebrity, value, work, management, success, and economic growth.

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Design, as William Morris explained, is about making things beautiful/useful

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Is design the ultimate form of soft power?

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We make choices about what words to use, and how to position them, to create different effects. For example, the same glass of water can be described as either half empty, or half full.

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A monstrous psychopath can be represented in a way that provokes empathy in the reader.  

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Empathy is a feeling of being with, stepping into another

Sympathy = feeling for, moving parallel with another

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Poetic writing is intensely subjective, and emerges from a weird and deep relationship between a person and language

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Writing can be thought of as a collaboration between the writer and the reader. We might even say that, when we activate our memory, we are collaborating with former versions of ourselves.

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Writing requires a companion. Someone to encourage and guide creative effort. To provide stability and support.

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A collective group can be defined against an enemy. This enemy is imagined and assembled. A stance is taken towards this enemy, supported by ways of speaking that exclude them.

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