Temp Expert, Wk 2: Readings on Design/Thoughts on Diversity

So, I just joined the class and catching up on all the readings. I was thrilled to see we had design related reading this week because I’ve wanted to get a solid foundation in design principles. I also couldn’t be happier that the readings came from (what I assume to be) more alternative approach vs. traditional design practices.

In particular, I LOVED the “Challenge of Responsible Design” reading. The piece touched on a lot of reasons why I decided to come to ITP, particularly with regards to who gets to be involved in design processes. I have a background in community organizing and facilitating group projects, so I’m very interested in learning more about how we can bring more voices in when we design projects, objects, and systems and intentionally collaborate with end-users so their visions are supported. This is part of a deeper set of thoughts related to the lack of diversity in tech, the siloing of the tech world from its user base and the lack of access to tech education for many marginalized communities.

Speaking of diversity, I was really excited to get biodiversity as my topic because I immediately knew I could relate it to interests of mine regarding access, power structures and alternative forms of organizing. I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that Reply All recently did a podcast about diversity in tech and related it to fecal transplant studies. Let’s just say that diversity is always, in the long-run, the most beneficial situation for everyone. When it comes to problem-solving (which design is all about), more differences in background and experiences lead to more associations and more paths to finding solutions.

As I was researching biodiversity, I thought about my friend who is getting her PhD in marine biology at Northeastern, studying coral reefs in Panama. Turns out, coral reefs are considered to be one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. A couple ideas stood out to me in relation to reefs. One was that biodiverse areas are more resilient to changing conditions and can better withstand significant disturbances. Another was that coral reefs are cradles for new-life forms at various points in our planet’s history.

Still more to look at, for sure. I especially want to dig deeper into the symbiotic relationships present in biodiverse ecosystems and methods of inter-species communication (if that’s a thing?) and find ways of relating that to our own human patterns of organization.

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09. February 2016 by zoe.bachman.itp
Categories: Temporary Expert | Tags: , , | 1 comment

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