Workshop planning is an adaptive learning process, both in the period between workshops where the methodology team can apply lessons learnt from the previous workshop, and within the workshop itself; the design must be flexible and able to respond to the situation as it unfolds.
The previous workshop in Prato, Florence (WS02, Nov 2015) launched several key work packages, so the intervening three months have been an intense period of research activity across the design, science, manufacturing and marketing disciplines. Partners have been working hard both independently and in smaller groups to discuss specific tasks.
All of that work will come together in Helsinki with key presentations and interactive knowledge sharing from design, science and marketing partners. This injection of new knowledge will help the consortium in their next important task of defining ‘primary scenarios’ for the new cellulose and polyester fibres, new fibre concepts, from which the design team can create design briefs and the materials scientists can focus their fibre research.
The methodology team comprising Material ConneXion, University of the Arts London (UAL), Aalto Arts and SP, have been working hard on the plans for this workshop to ensure that all of the knowledge presented can feed into the definition of fibre scenarios, and that all partners’ perspectives are well represented throughout the workshop… and of course it must be an engaging and inspirational experience where partners can strengthen their connections within the collaboration and share ideas. In short these workshops are crucial for the success of the collaboration.
The methodological approach is to design workshop tools (for example in Helsinki a communal sample case and workshop pack will be introduced with the beginnings of a project glossary) and tailored activities (such as a postcard Q&A, and a materials science tabletop session in this instance) and then observe and analyse the effectiveness and success of those interventions.
What is becoming really interesting, is how each partner is bringing new methods and approaches to presenting and creating new knowledge, from which others are also able to learn. The methodology team’s role then becomes that of a conductor, creating the framework within which each brilliant solo performance can contribute to the ensemble; the meta-project.