Every week, we bring you Masters in Design for Social Impact (MDES) happenings. This is MDES 04 by Yara El-Turk.
This week started smoothly. A short walk to PCA but yet full of small adventures, if you just stop and look. Just by observing what’s around you, you start noticing the little things that make life great, from the small pigeons, to this old man holding his wife’s hand, to the 5 year old kid telling his mum how excited he is to see his friends and last but not least … to the amazing smell of bread when passing by this boulangerie every morning.
We embarked on our journey along with the MA/MFA Trandisciplinary New Media students, where we had a course with Linda Jarvin about qualitative, quantitative and mixed media methods where we learnt how to extract the right information and analyze it. We were divided in groups and each randomly picked one of many goals that the UN has set to be achieved at the end of year 2030. From zero hunger to sustainable cities and communities, each group reflected on a theme, extracted the quantitative and qualitative data, described the research method/ research design and provided a critical commentary.
On the next day, we decided to have our book club and go through three books: ‘Lean Enterprise’ presented by Amy, ‘Entrepreneuriat Social’ presented by myself, and Sara proposed that we do a workshop concerning “Service Design Thinking “ where each of us were handed 5 keywords and we were each supposed to explain what it means in a design process. It was quite an interesting and helpful technique to understand what design thinking is.
We continued on our route to pick up some yummy vegan burgers at Hanks, did a fast “this place is so awesome!” tour, met Louis XIII on our way (hold on big guy!) and headed out to Hannah’s place where we devoured the burgers and had a small workshop where each of us stated their research question, the problem they wants to solve along with ‘how might we…’ questions. From brainstorming ideas to really engaging conversations, it was a cooperative and well diverse workshop where we came with many solutions.
Another highlight for this week was the brown-bag lunch with our Dean Linda Jarvin and Patrick Keane: an American consultant on social innovation, graduate of the Social Design program at MICA, who was visiting from Washington DC that day. Patrick talked about how entrepreneurship is important nowadays and how we should engage other people in our work and he also mentioned the importance of art “critique “. We introduced ourselves, and he was fascinated of how different our backgrounds were and how we all ended up in this challenging program.
“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”
Time flew by, it was a short hour but yet enriching to the point where we wanted him to keep talking, “don’t stop… *yalla* tell us more!” It is always insightful to meet people who have had the experience and know how things work and just to be inspired by maybe – a simple word they say, which could trigger something in our mind that could lead us to develop multiple ideas and put them to practice.
The week quietly ended with an impressive, thought-provoking workshop with Aleksandra Smilek, a creative technologist as well as an entrepreneur and mentor for design teams, hackers and technology developers. We talked about the relation between art and the economical world and how blockchain technology can solve digital art market inefficiencies in many ways. The subject was so compelling that we, students, engaged in a non-ending conversations that kept leading to new topics and problematics.
*Yalla* off to week 5 can’t wait to know what this week is going to hold for us! Until then my friends, study hard and stay positive for whatever the future holds! *ILA AL LIQUAA’*