Jess Bird (VEIL) and guests

The Ford Assembly Plant has been part of the Broadmeadows landscape for 55 years, manufacturing cars and providing local jobs. In October 2016, the plant will close and Ford will cease manufacturing in Australia. So when the last car is rolled off the assembly line, what happens to all this potential? Without a large-scale manufacturing sector, traditional industrial design is left scrambling to redefine itself. What is the future of Industrial Design? The relationship between design and manufacturing in this transition is open to reinvention. The Ford factory closure in Broadmeadows provides an opportunity to explore this relationship, and more broadly the future of design. In this studio you will use a range of design research methods to investigate:
The skills and potential of the workers at Ford. What can they do? What new industries and business can they start? How can they provide local jobs and support the local economy?
The future of manufacturing in Australia. What is worth doing and what should we be making? How can the workers and plant support new industries and employees?
The future of design in Australia. What should we be designing? How will design graduates get jobs? What will those jobs be?

You will approach this studio through the lens of three key VEIL considerations: The rapid, disruptive change required for societal transformation in the face of climate change and the end of the fossil fuel era; the importance of new, distributed systems of living and local economies; and how you work with this on the ground, in a real context, with real communities. You will explore and propose new opportunities for local jobs and enterprises. This could be new product-service systems, micro industries, innovation test labs, seed-beds for co-designing alternative futures, or education and training opportunities. You will investigate the role of design in a traditional manufacturing context, and speculate on the future of industrial design in urban Australia. You will create visions of alternative futures, and pathways to achieve them.