DEFINE Contacts

Susanna put me in touch with a friend of hers who works for the Garden Classroom – a charity ‘connecting urban children and families with nature.’

She very kindly agreed to meet with me in a north London park that is used by the charity for their workshops and events. We discussed my project and walked around the park. She told me they were looking for someone to design something for the park, to encourage more independent explorations of it.

This sounds like a really interesting project, but I’m a bit torn. I really don’t want to spend the next 5 months doing a child-focussed project because I work with kids and volunteer with them, and I could do with a part of my life that was child-free.

I had an initial idea which I presented in the Case Study Panel review in week 8. I thought it could be fun for children to pretend they were an animal and move around the park as such, encouraging them to use all of their senses.

However this doesn’t feel like a very exciting idea – a bit obvious. This was echoed in some of my feedback. I’m finding it really hard to know what to do next though. There are too many options and nothing is standing out.

Feedback from Crit

  • Design is often destructive to planetary resources either via print or energy consumption
  • What do we mean by nature? Leaves, animals, rivers, planets, galaxies, atoms,the Planck length, nuclear radiation? Do we submit to the cliché version of nature too often.
  • Is the human unnatural? It’s use of natural materials to make computers, machines and so… ok enough bullshit.
  • Richard Feynman ‘fun to imagine’ videos
  • Sensory – what is hot? How does a leaf work? Why?

Feels like Annie maybe knows what she wants to do, maybe just start to do whatever that is, and see where the path takes you

The fox is really great but seems a bit too obvious or prescriptive maybe? Is there a more descriptive way to approach this? Does it make a difference whether they are young or old users, could it be scalable?

I like the idea of engagement and ownership leading to understanding, protection and care of resources

Love this!

seeing the unseen – module 1

contemplative photography

baby Einstein methods

How can design create engagement with nature – quite a broad question, so you need to research issue further in order to create an original perspective

  • Taking care of nature
  • Use nature for wellbeing
  • Learning. Looking what’s on your doorstep +
  • What is the sense of urgency – this may dictate the route
  • Looking at it from another angle – getting people out to the country or bringing nature into the home is a theme explored through history by brand and public services e.g. – Transport posters from the last 150 years… so what would you do and what would be the most significant driver to engage with the natural world?


How can design help us engage with nature

Kids need to reimagine our relationship with ecology. Over the past 250 years art, science and design have given us this idea of a mastery of nature primarily through images which is a fiction.

How can your project help kids not just engage with what’s there – but help them begin to reassess that relationship?

You could look at worldbuilding and speculative strategies here to help ‘detach’ the subject from established narratives