Lecturers: Matthew Butler and Dr, Kevin Murray

Australia ranks as one of the worlds wealthiest countries but is placed at only #76 on the happy planet index in between Iran and Romania. Costa Rica is #1 and Vietnam is #2. The reasons for Australia’s relative social unhappiness is complex. This includes fear driven by political leaders and the media that rewards overspending, debt and cultural division. The rapid changes in technology and social media also challenge our personal navigation for who we are and how we fit in.

This studio investigates how Australian society may have lost it’s way compared to countries and cultures with a deeper and more ingrained sense of tradition, spirituality and cultural ritual. What can you design for a Social Repair Tool Kit to help repair this problem?

The aim of this studio is to create an artefact or project that will help heal social or individual trauma in our community. You will examine cultural rituals, spiritual ceremonies and artefacts used in non western traditional cultures and transfer this knowledge to support the healing of contemporary Australian problems that include, addiction to Social Media, isolation in old age, domestic violence, depression in blue collar and Fly In Fly Out workers, grief from loss of a loved one, youth suicide, trauma from immigration detention, homophobia, sexism and racism,

The particular skills you will learn from this studio include how design can have an embedded spiritual backstory to aid community strength and individual trauma, gain a perspective for your own self awareness to assist your life and career path, how to self initiate design activity and manage your project to address the research aims, how to write and compile a review of literature and design reflections in a research report, how to test and prove that your idea will work and gain an understanding of the ‘Design for Wellbeing’ field, how awareness for other cultures can assist western designers and how to ethically work with sensitivity and empathy.

For more information this Facebook group has case studies and will be used as the communication portal for the project.