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The Design+Ethnography+Futures programme of research explores the relationship between disciplines and approaches through events, workshops and projects. Our events include guest-led workshops of varying lengths and formats, public lectures, and an annual symposium designed around a theme.

In 2014, the Design+Ethnography+Futures programme ran a series of four workshops. We have been deliberative in strategising ‘disrupting’ as the first step into this inquiry, to interrogate what we know and question the assumptions and paradigms that are taken for granted in our respective disciplines as we move together into the future. One of the confronting questions was how to begin a conversation that was not about what we knew already, but about what we don’t yet know about. This required a form of ‘disruption’ on the part of the instigators (also co-facilitators of the workshops), to scaffold a workshop that fostered unintentionality as opposed to intentionality, and made spaces for uncertainty instead of achieving certainty. This was uncharted waters and an uncomfortable experience. This meant that activities were often left to serendipity, chaos and whimsical ideas, and activities were often randomly suggested on that basis. These ‘disruptions’ was also a provocation to us all (participants and facilitators) to ‘let go’ of our preconceptions, forego the need for resolution, and step out of our respective disciplinary certainties to consider alternative approaches and experiment with what might emerge out of an assembly of ideas, people and things. It was designed deliberatively to ask ways to not know; to awaken and become mindful towards the emergent. It often triggered genuine surprise and reconfigured ways of knowing collaboratively.

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RMIT University Design Research Institute Design Ethnography Research Centre Design Futures Lab Mediaccions Communities & Culture Network+

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