The number of articles, excerpts, documentaries, films, discussions, feedback from both faculty and students, being in the learning space at a Masters Level brings to the fore a wealth of information that is shared, perceived, assessed and learnt from. It is a fairly large amount of information to absorb and relfect upon in each semester.
However, all this information, diaglogue, reading etc brings about a considerable change in the way one interacts, converses, discusses about aspects of art and design. It sets about changing one’s perception, viewpoint, approach, outlook. These are necessary changes in order to move ahead into the realm of leadership, or rather a place where one can possibly carve new areas to explore and learn from.
The reflections on the discussions, readings, reference materials enforces a need for viewpoints which in turn tunes one to think analytically where one is assessing, referencing, arguing, defending different points of view. All essential skills towards developing a voice of one’s own that will be part of a larger movement in design.
Sir Christopher Frayling’s ‘Research in Art & Design’ reflected some of my own thoughts on research. Especially when he mentions Picasso and how he said that he is a maker and not a researcher – he doesnt feel comfortable about verbalising about his work. This is what I would think too. When Sir Christopher Frayling however quotes E.M.Forster’s aunt saying ‘How can I tell that I think till I see what I day?’ and goes on to alter it to ‘How can I tell what I think till I see what I make and do?’ further modifying it to , ‘ How can I tell what I am till I see what I make and do?’ certainly puts the need to not be scared of research and instead delve into it by making and doing in order to discover who we are. The fact that we are what we do could not have been put across better than how Sir Chirstopher Frayling’s paper illustrates.
And this is essentially what expanding of our knowledge base does. It changes in time the way in which we perceive, approach, understand concepts thereby changing our approach and attitude to our design work. Leadership, afterall requires us to set new trends, standards, attitudes, new ways of looking, designing.
Bias is a factor that one must consider when dealing with areas of research. It is invariably inevitable that we bring into our research and its outcome, be it design, film, documentary etc, a biased view whether positive or negative. We, as creators of a by-product of a medium, through our biases tend to pre-determine the direction towards which we steer our readers and audience. When Michael Moore is presenting facts in his documentary ‘Sicko’ has he already pre-determined the expose of the insurance industry? therefore has he already pre-determined his audience’s bias? When we delve into areas of leadership, do we steer audiences towards pre-determined reactions? Or do we make statements, present facts and leave it to the audience to determine the direction of their bias? However, is it enough to merely make statements and present facts, especially if we are looking at establishing the elements of leadership in the design industry?