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The first week of Bigger Picture was organise around a series of lectures and events to encourage students to meet they colleagues from different CSM’s courses.
All scheduled activities focused around different ways to approach the subject of collaborative work as well as presented differed set of tools, methods to help us to better understand the purpose of multidisciplinary collaborations, the dynamic of a group environment , provoke as to think more critically about the issue and become more conscious about the ways we operate within the group organism.The introduction event to the unit contained an interesting workshop playfully named “Forced Connections” during which we were randomly assigned to the grope of 4/5 people and ask to brain storm under three given categories “people, purpose, place”, then design a proposal by introducing an random element in decision making, the roll of a dice, to push students to develop they concept around the decision they otherwise would not ever made. The situation far from comfortable, especially if almost all the faces were completely new. Even though I felt a bit overwhelmed at the begging the feeling had fade after introducing this short exercise and very quickly helped to leave behind any forms of hesitance or shyness and focus on the work itself.
The exercise even though not completely clear at first very interestingly introduced an accidental element within the design process and forced students to take the obvious out of the context, simultaneously helping to create a bond within the group by shifting the focus from personal feelings to the given task.The second part of the event we was focused around the general significance, purpose of the unit supported by presentation during which we were introduce to diffident points of view, ideas, concepts of collaborative work based on current examples. The transition form conceptualisation to real life definitely helped me to recognise the advantages as well as difficulties of the process. The condense representation of the unit was introduced as a short formula : collaborative practice + crossing borders +exploring values = Bigger Picture . The lecture strongly empathised the importance of adaptation, evolution of current design education to changing world and its contemporary problems supported by the example of the Victoria museum and very important for my discipline still looked as extremely innovative the concept of Bauhaus.From my personal experience the interesting addition to the presentation was work done by Assemble, the design collective working across art, architecture and design. During the lecture we were presented with they design for Granby Workshops in Liverpool. The project was a part of the community led initiative to save Granby, the centre of extremely diverse community and once lively neighbourhood.
What was interesting about this particular case was the way the design process was carried. The project was based on constant dialogue, communication with residents to create the space witch answer their needs at the same time highlighting the cultural and architectural heritage. The main idea was to encourage people to participate in the regeneration of they neighbourhood by offering different training and employment opportunities. As well as applauding any form of resourcefulness or DIY attempts to make the area better place . The workshops space designed by Assemble meant to facilitate the work done by community but also reflect the uniqueness, creativity and care invested in this project, allowing to produce a variety of high quality of designs.
Looking at current tendencies in architecture we can find some similarities to that concept. While early 20 century design focused mainly on representing its on significance, uniqueness and therefor becoming more art then architecture, now the importance has been shifted to the context and how the proposal responds to its needs. V. Quirk voice an interesting opinion in one of her articles for archdaily.com stating that “Art is a form of self-expression with absolutely no responsibility to anyone or anything. Architecture can be a piece of art, but it must be responsible to people and its context.
“(2013). By looking at the change of the perception in what architecture is or isn’t I would like to apply that way of thinking to the design in general. So if architects and designers would try to immerse themselves in a wildly understood context, as a result their design could become a physical representation of all the require values and needs. The both qualities have to come together to create something meaningful. Then collaboration with future users can become a bridge in a sense, helping both sides to communicate they values, needs and existing issues allowing (help) more efficiently work on the solutions. This symbiosis created by involving future users in design process could not only give them a sense of empowerment but most importantly help to create a strong connection between the project and people. Any environment works better if its designed to fit the needs people affected by the chances and by involving them in the process the centre point is moved form the design itself to people and their lives.
The participation element reinforce the understanding and acceptance of the changes as well as create a long term positive association, relation with the project (Spielberger, 2004,p.799)