The Radical Imaginary

This conversation is centred around the radical imaginary, an idea which positions design research as a field of critical and imaginative thinking. Two discussions will take place, one discussing the central concept of a radical imaginative turn in design research, the other exploring how embodiment may effect and alter approaches to design research. These conversations will take place in two different Limerick snug bars. You can tune into them individually, or interact with them simultaneously, creating a blended conversation-interference-assembly.

According to convention the snug bar of a pub is traditionally a safe space for women, a place for reflection and measured opinion, part of the general tumult of social life, but separate from it - somewhere where people can talk freely without fear of judgement or sanction, where we can assemble, matter, imagine, absorb and embody collectively.

The first conversation will involve a provocation suggesting the need for a more energetic and imaginative vigour in design research. It will open a debate on how can the radical imaginary open new spaces for struggle, contestation and creation of different politics. To do so design must avoid the pitfalls and morality that define thinking about the possible, the probable and the preferable and explore radical ways of thinking and doing in common. We fear that imagination has become an individual escapist / utopian project, still, we consider that design can be an interesting space where to ground imagination in real and possible practices. We need to explore strategies to commonize imagination, to think of it as a collective tool to build better presents.

We will be addressing the following questions:

How can we prevent imagination becoming an individual escapist / utopian project and ground it in real and possible practices?

How can we avoid imagination being moralising tale about alternative futures, and transform it into a collective instrument for building a better present?

The second; embodying and practicing, places human and non-human bodies at the centre of the conversation and suggests that design research should make room for more performative and symbiotic relationships between subjects and objects. This will lead to discussion about what kind of bodies are privileged by design research and what embodied experiences are we currently excluding. What are the cultural myths and metaphors that construct our lived and embodied experiences and how is that story perpetuated in design research. Opening up this debate involves going beyond dualities such as brain/body, thought/action, inside/outside of the body, we need to identify interfaces between bodies, systems, networks and corporeal processes, full hearted participation.

We will be thinking about the following questions:

What kinds of bodies are privileged by design research?

Which embodied experiences are we currently excluding?

What are the cultural myths and metaphors that construct our lived and embodied experiences and how is that story perpetuated in design research?

How does the plurality of lived experience manifest itself in design research?

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Tuesday 26 June
18:00 - 19:00

Tom Collins
34 Cecil St,

Jerry Flannery's
20 Catherine St,

Dr Eva Verhoeven
London College of Communication
Dr Jaron Rowan
Centro Universitario de Diseño de Barcelona
Dr John Fass
London College of Communication
Marta Camps Banque
Centro Universitario de Diseño de Barcelona
Paul Bailey
London College of Communication
Photo: Alfred Grupstra What Happened To Pacman? via photopin (license)

Conversation One

Conversation Two