RELATIONAL WAYS OF KNOWING – Week 2 – Ecological Thought and Personhood

Having attended the first weeks study group, it is fair to say that despite having some understanding on the topics discussed, my confusion remained in terms of how I could relate some of these new ways of thinking back to my subject practice of product design. I developed an understanding for both Naturalistic and Animistic views and found the Eleanor Hawkins case study particularly interesting especially now having a better understanding of analysing the case from both perspectives. I could now appreciate and understand the case study from both sides of the story. The case study and first study session of this module definitely opened my eyes to a broader approach of the world – to think deeper beyond what obviously lies in front of the eye or what you’ve personally been brought up to perceive within your own culture. Things don’t always appear just as they are and, equally, what appears as something to one person, may not appear as the same thing to another – this is something to be remembered and respected when taking viewpoints particularly as an outsider. It is not as simple and straight forward as it may initially seem as there are many factors that play a role in this understanding and interpretation of the world for example, cultural, environmental and historical. This got me thinking about how the products I design and how that if they are not considered carefully in their design, could be interpreted wrongly by the users depending on their cultural backgrounds and beliefs – what looks like a product with a certain function to one person, may look like a product with a completely different meaning or function to another. I should carry this understanding over into my practice and take consideration of it into my work whether it be subtly or purposefully done. Despite still being a little confused, I trusted Martyn when he suggested things may not initially make sense but to stick at it. So, I was looking forward to developing and unfolding my understandings and ideas.

The second week introduced a theory that I could definitely gel with better, an ecological theory of nature that merged elements of the technological age/naturalistic approach and the animistic theories to suggest that actually, everything is interconnected in a mesh to develop an ecological awareness that lies in the middle. I feel as if this is the theory that describes my own perspective best.

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