Where we meet the public matters. A public lecture delivered by a visiting academic in a university lecture theatre is very different to that same lecture being delivered in a genuine public space, be that virtual or actual.
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In 2004, after working for more than ten years as a cook, I visited a favela for the first time. I saw in cooking a way to train people, and so I offered a vocational training program in a local institution.
You might have heard that this week Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan announced that they’re going to give away 99% of their Facebook stock in hopes of making the world a much better place for their newborn daughter and her generation. Now, I just want to be right up front with you. I have no inside information about this fascinating development. But what I do have is inside information, the inside story, on a gift that this couple made five years ago in their first act as philanthropists.
What does it mean to be antidisciplinary? To me, it means struggle. Sometimes, working in interdisciplinary fields, I felt like I’ve maybe tried really hard working and working and working on a project, and I wasn’t seeing any difference. Sometimes people would look at me and be like, “What are you even doing?” So, to me antidisciplinarity means not only not working in one specific field, but rather instead drawing from elsewhere to imagine something new.
Instead of having our children become consumers of robotics technology, consumers of products, we’d have to train them to be producers, to realize that they can use robotic technologies to build something with their intuition, their creativity, and their sense of purpose, that has meaning to them. Then we’d have a technologically fluent society.
Education has remained largely unchanged for millennia. In any classroom, you see a set of students gathered around a teacher who’s writing on the board, or maybe now we’ve added a PowerPoint deck. But, as in many other fields that have been slow to change, the data revolution is coming for education.
If you are given the task to lecture on design somewhere in the Middle East, do you think you’ll need to tailor your approach? Maybe think about your references, the language, the vastly different background? The answer most probably is “yes.” But the reality of design education in the Middle East, and more specifically the Gulf Region, prove otherwise.