Lecturers: Liam Fennessy and Scott Mitchell

Wednesdays 9.30 until 12.30 and 1.30 until 4.30 ( please note there will be an intensive at Mid semester which will reduce the hours in the second half of the semester)

We live in a time of human induced climate change and seemingly insurmountable challenges to the future of our natural systems, particularly critically endangered species of animals. Industrial designers often feel powerless to effect on these problems, however, the design methods, technical capabilities and systems and service thinking that they excel at can be incredibly valuable to the aims of conservation science. For conservation organisations designers offer new strategies and novel approaches to intractable problems: to improve the welfare of animals in captivity and the captive breeding of critically endangered species; to communicate the complexity of biodiversity loss to the public; and to positively impact on the research and mitigation efforts needed in conserving endangered species and responding to environmental change.

These complex problems often defy traditional methodologies that rely on ‘master plans’ and top-down design development. Here an ‘agile’ design process based in multiple small scale design interventions is often better suited to deal with this complexity. Agile design does not wait to have all the answers, rather it seeks to begin the design process as soon as possible. In agile design the overarching design architecture is emergent, arising from the multiple design actions.

Building on research engagements with Zoo’s Victoria and other partners this studio uses a combination of designer as activist and hack style engagements to develop understandings of the agile design process. This agile way of working will yield prototypical outputs that may be tested in the field and used to engage conservation scientists, environmental organisations and policy makers toward considering new technologically mediated approaches that better support our fragile ecosystems and their taxa.

The studio will be delivered through a combination of workshops, group discussions, site visits and self-directed learning. A hackathon event (a three day intensive) will take place from Wednesday 31st August to Friday 2nd September.

On successful completion of the studio you will have a demonstrated ability to:

– apply agile design methodologies to complex real world problems

– develop technologically mediated systems through iterative design processes

– communicate effectively with experts from fields external to Industrial Design

– contribute to an open design environment including clear documentation of idea development and design processes and timely support of peers

– proactively seek out design opportunities and self-manage the skills development required to meet design challenges