The Design Collective: An Approach to Practice
The rise of social networking and open-source technology, the return of community-focussed activities (e.g. gardens, knitting groups, food cooperatives) and creative collectives across the fields of design and the visual arts have reawakened the discourse around human capital, flat structures and collectives as a means for ‘making’ the things of everyday life. As the essays presented in this collection illustrate, there is an emerging field of discourse about the potential of the collective as an organising and generative community structure that links creativity, social change and politics. Furthermore it is clear that in this developing context there are a number of issues central to design practice, such as authorship, agency and aesthetics that are in the process of re-evaluation and critique. Bringing together views of practitioners, historians and theorists, this volume examines the etymology, boundaries and practices that the idea of the collective affords. It is broadly organised into sections on architecture, digital technologies and counter-cultural practices and includes historical and contemporary accounts of design collectives from a range of disciplinary viewpoints.
Harriet Edquist is Professor of Architectural History in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT University. She has published extensively on Australian architecture, art and design with a particular focus on the twentieth century, and has pioneered studies in the Arts and Crafts movement. Her most recent books are Pioneers of Modernism: The Arts and Crafts Movement in Australia (2008), George Baldessin: Paradox and Persuasion (2009) and Michael O’Connell: The Lost Modernist (2011). Harriet is Foundation Director of the RMIT Design Archives which is a repository of, and supports scholarship on, the heritage of design practices in Melbourne and its region from the twentieth century to the present.
Laurene Vaughan is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University and Research Leader within the RMIT Design Research Institute. Between 2005-2010, she was Project Leader and Researcher within ACID (the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design). In 2012, Laurene was invited to the position of Nierenberg Distinguished Visiting Professor, School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University. Originally coming from an art and design education background with a major in sculpture, Laurene has melded a career of practicing artist, designer and educator in Australia and internationally. Within her practice, Laurene endeavours to explore and present comment on the interactive and situated nature of human experience, particularly the ways that we create and articulate the experience of place.
“The early twenty-first century has seen the death of the ego-centric ‘designer-hero’ and the birth of a new approach to design practice that is rooted in collective values. This book is the first to unpack that exciting form of practice and to evaluate its successes. Focusing on its historical roots, and its links with activism, craft, and curating, among many other things, it will open your eyes to the breadth of possibilities that flow from the idea of the ‘design collective’ and its multiple benefits.”
– Professor Penny Sparke, Kingston University, UK
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