MDES 17 – Paragraphparty, Gaité Lyrique and Creativity Knows No Borders

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Creative Unions Workshop

This week starts off with a lunch with Hugo, who is visiting us from Portugal. Hugo, a designer and teacher originally from Brazil is currently doing his PhD in Lisboa and a case study on the Design for Social Impact program at PCA — so basically on us. This was followed by our MA thesis class where we learned about plagiarism with Lilian Davies (urgently needed apparently, according to Vaila’s and my own failure in citing originals successfully…)

Tuesday is an amazing free day and fits very well with my new weakness for co-working cafés. Labelling them back in Berlin as the spawn of gentrification, I have to take it back a node and admit that I quite like the mokka, free muesli, and little cacti in the windows. So after starting my productive work day there I continued in the Gaité Lyrique; a wonderful place for studying with an excellent library containing a specific section for Speculative Design. It is dangerous though to get lost in these bookshelves… But how on earth would I ever get started with this thesis. This scary white paper, that just does not want to be filled. When you find yourself in research anxiety, it is time for Vaila’s Paragraphparty! Just write a random paragraph per day, assemble it on the page and patchwork a first chapter. The day ends with some spicy Chinese noodles at Trois Fois Plus de Piment with my friend Ailin and a little night ballad with Laura along the flooded Seine.

My broken computer takes up so much precious time spent in support hotlines, that Wednesday seemed to just pass by. The afternoon was occupied with thesis research and writing. When learning a new language, a soirée can become excellent in French training. So, I actually felt very productive with my ginger cocktail talking French all night, oui oui.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

With this Einstein quote our first class of Intellectual Property Rights begins. Vaila and I were brave enough to choose this elective, acknowledging its importance and that we would probably never engage with it otherwise…

Our Thursday lunch break is enriched by Catherine joining us. She and Chloe invited the MDES crew to curate an exhibition for the foundation students exploring the topic of water. In the afternoon we had the chance to join a workshop in the PCA Espace F15 Gallery, hosted by Chris Roberts, head of the foundation department at Central St. Martins in London. The project #creativeunions crosses borders between disciplines, places, and people to show that creativity knows no boundaries. With four simple steps the project provides a powerful — and beautiful — toolkit:

1) think of a thing
2) write it on a poster
3) do the thing
4) share it with the word #creativeunions.

European Lab Winter Forum 2018

Thursdays are going to be long, but an exciting ending each week with Professional Practices series, where artists and practitioners show their work and we can ask all our burning questions. This time we have the pleasure to talk to Cyrille Weiner, a photographer with a very unique style, approach, and background. His work resonated a lot with me and I’m happy to expand my design bubble a bit further in other creative disciplines. Not that this day wasn’t exciting enough I am heading straight to the European Lab Winter Forum.

Friday morning Amy is guiding us through a morning Yoga session. Inhale. Exhale. Ah, this is how to start a Friday! In the afternoon we have our first session of Social and Urban Governance with Thomas Watkins from Nîmes. With his experiences in the field and his multicultural perspective between the U.S., Mexico, and France this class seems to hold exciting topics for us to explore! Soaked with new inspiring information Vaila, Smarti, Rica and I need to compensate our stomachs for this brain load at H.O.P.E — Home of the Plant Eaters. Mjamjam!

Yoga Session with the Design for Social Impact Yogis