Design + Ethnography + Futures proposes a new meeting of design and ethnography through a focus on futures. It is characterized by four concepts of disrupting, sharing, making and moving. We explore how the future orientation of combining design + ethnography approaches invites new forms of change-making, where uncertainty and the ‘not-yet-made’ is at the centre of inquiry. It brings the improvisory, playful, imaginative, sensorial and somewhat contested edges of both fields to create an opening to experiment with what might emerge out of an assembly of ideas, people, feelings, things and processes. In doing so, Design + Ethnography + Futures deliberately steps out of established disciplinary methodologies and move into the future with people and challenge what we habitually do and think about. It questions the taken-for-granted, trigger genuine surprise, play with the edges of boundaries and reconfigure ways knowledge is produced.
The program of research offered by Design + Ethnography + Futures is oriented around doing and some activities are deliberately provocative to ‘shake’ people out of their comfort zones and move away from just ‘talking’ or ‘writing’ as a research activity. A series of five / six “moves”, as workshops, have been put together, each led by a guest researcher who brings their own take on what can be co-created and explored together, whilst still contributing to the overall aims of Design + Ethnography + Futures. These ‘moves’ will be documented processually, culminating into an end of year symposium in early December 2014, to draw out key insights and collectively reflect on what has emerged. They will also inform the development of project work.
Design + Ethnography + Futures is a program initiated by staff in the School of Media and Communication and Design Research Institute through the Design Futures Lab and the Digital Ethnography Research Centre, and supported by the Design Research Institute.
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