RELATIONAL WAYS OF KNOWING – Week 3 – Emplacement and Sustainable Practice

This week included a group task – As a group of three (two product designers and one artist designer maker) we decided it best that we split to carry out our own research into the White Painted Trees of Kefalonia  o begin with and then re-join to share our findings and discuss the direction in which the research may take us. I enjoyed the sporadic approach to this task and the fact that there was no right or wrong – any meshwork could be relevant if you made it. I found it particularly interesting to see the different dynamics within the study group and how that different subject practices seemed to take different view points and have better understandings within some views than others. For example, as a product designer, I feel that the naturalistic and/or ecological approaches are certainly easier relatable and understandable however, I could see that the animistic approach was grasped far easier by some of the more art based subjects such as fine art and artist designer maker. I really enjoyed listening to the different groups presentations and trying to understand how everyone had got to such different points for their presentations, it really intrigued me.

I think the third week was the turning point for me in really understanding and getting to grips with the study groups’ focus – particularly after reading the extract from ‘Sustainable by Design’ by Stuart Walker, everything seemed to click and piece together. I was able to appreciate and understand the text from no longer only my previous perspective, from an undergrad Product Designers point of view, but, now from all three animistic, naturalistic and ecological perspectives too. It was as if I was reading the text with a whole new light and from that, able to begin deciding where my personal perspective and views sat between the three. Although maybe at the beginning, I couldn’t get my head around perhaps some of the animistic views and theories for example, although it’s still likely that I won’t ever believe in this way, I can now understand and appreciate this way of thinking and am able to embed this within my thought process when analysing a text or an object. I think this will definitely show in my future subject work too as it’ll be something I’ll consider when designing in comparison to before, when it was quite self-centred in terms of my thought process’.

After finally beginning to get my head around things in the third week, I began considering topics to concentrate my critical writing on.  I was able to generate ideas and map out what they might include and where they may lie in terms of the theories they use – however, still lied slightly confused about where to begin and what direction to head in despite finding the critical writing workshop useful. Even if my first attempt at this critical piece of writing hasn’t been the simplest or easiest to go about or, the most successful, I feel as if I have been successful in moulding my way of understanding and thinking over the course of this study group – something very valuable in itself I believe.

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