The first series of tools were tested during a charrette in September 2021.The 3.5 day workshop, facilitated in both online and
in-person environments, was developed under the research question of "how might we form alternate experiences with and perceptions of our more than human environments and actors?" The charrette was designed as an experimental test-bed for engaging participants with these more than human perspectives.
The multidisciplinary team of seven IADT students were guided through a series of experimental exercises. We explored ways of reconnecting through a process of grounding, exploration, research, mapping, storytelling and discussion. Each exercise aims to further build upon a deeper understanding of the actors in our environments, challenge participants thinking and allowed them to creatively engage with and communicate the information they gathered. For the final outcome the team created a collective
place-based map to combine and communicate their research and stories.
Stories for a
Reconnecting with a More Than Human World
MA Design for Change
Sept 2021-Jan 2022
How might we form alternate experiences with and perceptions of our more than human environments and actors?
Confronted with an environmental crisis, both ecological and climatic, there is an urgent need to radically reevaluate our relationships with our more than human worlds. Developed as part of the MA Design for Change programme at IADT, this project set out to challenge our dominant human centric perspectives, explore ways of reconnecting us (humans) with the agencies that exist around us, and aid us in rediscovering our curiosity with our natural worlds.
The project set out to facilitate these perspectives through a series of designed experiments, that were tested through participant engagements alongside different identified more than human actors. The project is developed by engaging with ideas of interconnectedness, entanglement and agency and draws from theories (Bennet, Haraway, Ingold) to guide our thinking and open potential new ways of knowing. These thinking tools guide us towards designing our own tools for engagement.
Following the September workshop, a revised set of tools were created and developed in the form of a workbook. These tools were retested as individual engagements with five participants.
The process begins with a grounding in ideas and theories (Bennet, Haraway, Ingold) to challenge our thinking. We then set out to explore our more than human environments and we used wayfaring (Ingold) as a method for gathering new knowledge and refocusing our awareness. Mapping is used as a way of understanding the meshworked nature of our more than human worlds. Here we mapped out the relationships, connections and points of interaction that make up our complex interwoven environments. We looked then to challenge our western understanding of how things of this world are classified and drawing from folk taxonomies and indigenous ways of knowing, we set out to create new names for our more than human actors. The names we create aim to capture storied knowledges (Ingold) that can offer “real information about the ecological relations in the world” (Sinclair). Our final exercise is storytelling. We used storytelling as a tool for reconnection, and as a container and communicator of the knowledge we gathered.
Participants found enjoyment in the exercises, experienced moments of insight, curiosity, new understanding and connection. What remains evident is that we do struggle to move beyond our anthropocentric views. Without other ways of seeing and knowing, our attention and awareness remains within this confinement. And although it may be a great challenge to move beyond this completely, it is important that we continue to challenge it and attempt to bring an awareness beyond it. It has never been more important that we do.