FRAMES FOR TOUGH TIMES
FRAMES FOR TOUGH TIMES
This unit aims to:
- help you acknowledge the different frames present in your design work
- Identify and articulate main questions from the perspective of each frame
- identify elements from the framework which help position words in design futures
This LEXICON aims to support the development and use of design futures words in design education and research. We return again and again in these Units and their Activities to a view and a practice that language is made, valued and circulated through its use.
However, as a part of the field of FUTURES DESIGN – that is design that tackles futures today and is a key actor in shaping futures – all the words we refer to need to be connected to their situations of use. This Is a use that can be imagined and located in the world. It can be in the making as much as building on givens. This unit sets about providing some of the broader frames within which to position your studies.
The attention to a ‘language of futures design’ needs to be understood as part of our emerging, changing and developing DESIGN FUTURES LITERACIES. These are literacies that are design based and are characterised by the activities and ways they are manifested in and through and as designs.
But all of these words and literacies can only be realised if we place them in the contexts of their making and shaping and how these in a design view respond to but also work to reach beyond current and inherited contexts.
Climate change. Unstable financial markets.Trade wars. Conflicts over resources. Social and political contests. Complex systems and competing interests. Collaborative decision making. Connections across time and space. Local organisation. Stakeholder participation. These are only some of the dynamics we encounter as citizens but also as design students and professionals.
2. WHAT ARE FRAMES 4 FUTURES?
The LEXICON has drawn up 4 key items to help frame and relate to such diversity, complexity, and change. We see these items as central to all design making and reflection. We have called them FRAMES 4 FUTURES (Frames filled). Before going into detail on these five, let’s briefly look at them.
3. DETAILS OF FRAMES 4 FUTURES
Now that you have considered these four key terms that help us frame the wider stage for Design Futures Literacies, we turn to a listing of some of their main components, not all negative. It is important that we acknowledge the challenges, limitations and difficulties of working for Futures Design in the light of our current world.
It’s also important that we look beyond, though and into them to shape our futures, creatively and with resilience that is supported through design and as design, but also from design. Design students and teachers will most likely continue to operate within these challenges and possibilities.
FRAMES 4 FUTURES (Frames filled) will hopefully provide a frame that you can continue to use in the years, decade and times ahead. Let’s now look at them in detail.
4. RELATING TO FRAMES 4 FUTURES
Let’s return to thinking about your project or specific activity in your work right now.
5. USING FRAMES IN YOUR WORK
Next we move on to a more detailed look at how your work can be informed by and positioned through the frames.
6. A DESIGN FUTURES LEXICON FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
This LEXICON has been developed to highlight the actual and potential uses of language in shaping design futures. Many aspects of the future cannot be predicted or planned. They emerge, change and evolve in and over time. What makes it even more difficult for design is that we constantly work to develop artifacts, processes and interactions with and for people’s use of designs, that is through design practice, education and research. This development reaches for what is fresh, whether as novelty or re-use.
Yet, all these activities take place within a 21st century global setting that is very clearly in flux and facing difficult challenges. Today and for tomorrow, designers need to work within the demands and challenges of climate change, we encounter increasingly complex systems of resource procurement and use. Pressures and practices concerning materials availability and recycling are uncertain, or in development. Dynamic economic conditions and models require a range of responses and alternate anticipation. Patterns of production and consumption are changing and opportunity spaces and pathways for new, alternate approaches and designs themselves may appear but also need to be generated.
The DESIGN FUTURES LEXICON, as with the FUEL4DESIGN project has been compiled in the face of such challenges, needs and potentials. It acknowledges that designers, design students and teachers and designer-researchers work in what we call tough times.
Download this UNIT in printable format:
Celi, Manuela and Chiara Colombi. 2019. “Design future literacy in the Anthropocene: A matter of awareness.” Paper presented at the 3rd International Conference on Anticipation, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, 9-12 October 2019.
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