Laura Devendorf — Designing Not Knowing
From Tim Trent on March 15th, 2021
As a design researcher and educator working in human-computer interaction, I often find myself in the business of "empowering" students by teaching them design. As a professor, I write grant proposals that use the magic of design to bring forth preferable futures. Yet, within the present socio-environ-political context, I find myself increasingly conflicted by these claims and asking myself, what, really, can design do? I will not be able to answer any of these questions during this talk because I don't know, but I will argue that the position of not-knowing, humility, and non-expert is useful for critically reflecting on the relevance of our practices. I will present ways that myself, collaborators, and the students with whom I work have been using weaving (sometimes with circuits, some without) as a practice through which to to try to probe, question, and understand what counts as design and the kinds of narratives we must take on in order to be "designers." I aim for this talk to inspire reflection and offer a few tactics for unknowing in order to think otherwise.