A Constellation Tale (PDP)

Ah yes

it is that time of the year where a reflection of constellation must be had.

A look at what has been taught and what has actually stuck with me throughout this year.

Whilst deciding what group to choose for this year I found myself drawn to the title of ‘Cognitive Futures’…perhaps this is due to my obsession with the future and especially that of design. The summary of what would be taught really sold it for me.

‘A critical Practices Study Group that investigates the cognitive life of the objects we design and make. Design Futuring (Fry, 2008) is method through which we question the present world, what values, purposes and behaviours it may afford, and re-direct the future to the kinds of worlds we would like to have. As all of our practices shape, in some way, our cognitive and perceptual life, we are responsible for the kinds of perceptual worlds that our practices allow, promote and bring into existence.

We will learn to read artefacts in terms of their impact upon our cognitive and perceptual development in order to ask:

Q. How do our practices shape human perception?

Q. How should our practices shape human perception?

Q. What kinds of ‘cognitive future’ can our objects design?’


Now looking back to these three questioned poised and all I see now is what I am going to be asking within the thesis I shall begin to write very soon. For me, I like to distance myself from what is called boring design…well I try to, I didnt say that I was successful at it.

I thought that the second week of the study group session was really the turning point for me, I began to understand that there was not just one or two forms of sustainability, It was mentioned that one of the key forms that was often overlooked, that being the social relationship, it was interesting to me coming from the field of Product Design because I dont really hear much about how a product can be bad for a persons social relationship with other people, an example of this being the fact that there was only a single one week project was spent looking at Human Centred Design or User Centred Design within the first term of the first year. I also thought that it was interesting that the other forms of sustainability were being talked about but not this form, this began to make me question that if we were to speak about this and we were taught more about thinking about this, would products become better for the consumers? could they, the products, become more advanced, more thought about.

This is also around the time that I began to question my field…

For me, this years constellation study group has opened my eyes to both what design is now and what design should be. When discussing critical design in the third session it was incredible to have a sense of what was actually going on, the section of Speculative Everything made perfect sense to me, my mind began to explore what could be discussed, the issues uncovered, the reactions of the consumers if those products were everywhere.


That was it.

My essay question and following that, the basis for my thesis.

Now I wont bore you with how much this years constellation has shaped me as a student of design but I shall say that it has given me the ability to take a back seat when looking at what is in front of me. I stop. Take a step back and analyse what is happening, what should be happening, why it is happening and what will happen in the future because of this.




I have taken a silent vow that what I design in the future will not conform to what is already existing, if handed a strict brief I shall find holes and push the boundaries to create something of interesting and worthy of conversation. Whilst trying to stick with this mentality I have been met with some difficulty with product briefs and questions from those around me.

I believe that I could make this second year the most successful for myself by linking all of the projects that I have been a part of. I have started to link my field with the dissertation proposal submitted and will continue in more detail within the thesis I write. I have also attempted to link what was taught within my field project within the second term, the idea of there not being a box to look outside of, unlearning what has been shouted at us from our first few steps as a tiny human thing.


Do Not Question


I have found from my newest activity of reading that knowledge really is power. I have found myself quoting what I have read within conversations surrounding design, arguing key points from both sides to form a rounded answer and this is what I hope to achieve within the thesis I shall write. I do not plan on discussing one side of the story as that would essentially become a propaganda piece.

I do not believe that I am becoming the designer that I originally applied to university to become, that idea of working for a large company, designing products that become available for the masses..I look now and think how on earth did I end up here. Product design as a course essentially makes you employable to follow a brief and get things from idea to product, this does not really interesting me and I believe that is where I struggle with whether I am within the right course or not.

How on earth should I sum this up? A Few Words? Lets Try….

Enjoyable as all hell.

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