The research I conducted in the Advanced Master of Research in Art and Design is an attempt to break away from the graphic design principles I learnt over the past few years, with a desire to do things differently. This desire grew when I started teaching graphic design three years ago. I had never thought about education before, and more specifically how to transmit knowledge. It's funny that when I got my job as a teacher, there was never a question of assessing my pedagogical skills. To be hired as a teacher, I only had to provide my CV and a copy of my diploma. Does my expertise as a designer prepare me to be a good educator? How do I create knowledge transfer spaces where one can learn and contribute to the design process? From the research I've conducted so far, I can conclude that it is a matter of learning by doing …
I focus mainly on collaboration within design and more specifically on workshops as an active learning method where different voices are confronted using design. I experiment with co-creative, educational, and collective thinking workshops. These different workshops have the common objective of generating and creating structures and spaces where feminist, non-western, non-oppressive, non-binary and non-racist narratives can emerge. What constitutes a narrative, in this context, is the exchange and sharing of knowledge between different participants related to a particular topic specific to each workshop.
Particular attention is paid to the relational aspect of these workshops. This stems from a need for collaboration with my peers, to get out of the solitary and individualistic framework that I was confronted with for a long time and that western society has instilled in me. The collaborative approach has emerged as an essential part of my practice, especially when it comes to translating stories visually. However, from my point of view, collaboration alone does not create a safe space for creation. Several ingredients are necessary, such as trust and benevolence towards the people who are participating in these exchanges. In this sense, it is important to create conditions for exchanges that foster this climate of trust.
I have found that it is essential to establish ground rules for creating a sharing space and share them with the participants before the workshop begins. This has helped me to better prepare participants to authentically interact with each other in potentially difficult dialogues. The following rules do not protect the safety of participants, but rather preserve their comfort. In this way, they serve to create a space for sharing where everyone can express themselves freely. However, these rules will not remain unchanged, as the workshops depend on the people who participate. Initially, this will serve as a basis for improvement over time and thus allow for the evolution of specific workshop methods.
If you want to know more about this research, or simply discuss related topics, feel free to contact me: email@example.com
Christine Ivanov is a designer, educator and researcher based in Brussels. She is interested in alternative design practices and more specifically in collaborative methods of knowledge transmission in this field. Her practice focuses on the experimentation of co-creative, educational, and collective thinking workshops in the field of design.