Discovering new Islands: preparations for Workshop 05

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This reflective blogpost is written by one of TED’s Trash-2-Cash Post-Doctorial Researcher’s Dr. Rosie Hornbuckle about the process of getting ready for next week’s workshop session in Copenhagen.

 

Each Trash-2-Cash (T2C) project workshop brings new challenges for the methodology team.  The process of planning the activities which form the basis of the design-science interactions is in itself an experimental collaborative design process.  We begin by sharing ideas around some key objectives for the workshop, we identify current challenges that we need to address and try to come up with appropriate ways to do this in the workshop using methods and tools from our collective experience.  Sometimes this means devising experimental workshop sessions, other times all that is needed is a conventional PowerPoint presentation or an open discussion.  And then occasionally – to our great relief – a situation arises where we can repeat activities that we know have worked in previous T2C workshops (WS).

 

WS05 in Copenhagen is based on one of these ‘tried and tested’ activities. Julie Hornix from design agency VanBerlo, recalled a session that Material Connection had prepared for WS01 in Stockholm, way back in September 2015 (timely that it is reappearing exactly one year on).  In its first appearance the session was described as a ‘marketplace’ with scientists each having a ‘stall’ to share the different fibre technologies they would be developing in the project.  Our methodology team recalled that it had been a particularly effective and engaging way to share knowledge, introducing designers to the materials they would be helping to develop, using samples, videos and diagrams instead of scientific datasheets or dense papers.

 

Right now, we are at a Milestone in the project where Fibre Prototype 1 has been produced and so, once again our materials scientists have significant new knowledge to share with all of the partners.  Differently, this time, designers also have work to present: new design briefs and Concept Areas have been developed from all of our scenario work, and in Copenhagen our design and manufacturing partners will be choosing which Concept Areas they want to work on in more depth.

 

This time instead of a marketplace we have decided that Islands are an appropriate place for interdisciplinary discovery: groups will visit each island in turn to unearth the newly formed gems of scientific endeavor and design ideas.

 

On our Science Islands visitors will be able to see the first scientific results demonstrated through fibre samples with the best scientists in their field on hand to answer probing questions.

 

On our Design Islands visitors with discover material and product samples showing cutting edge design in three different types of application. Leading textile and industrial designers will provoke, translate and ideate to develop Concept Areas through discussion. They will be on hand to respond to questions from the scientists and manufacturers about how these design visions align with technical material challenges.

 

WS05 promises to be an exciting moment for all of the T2C partners: the methodology team get to use a repeatable workshop design; the scientists get to present their first results and glimpse the types of products their fibres could become; manufacturers can start to realise the types of textile structures and finishes that they will be able to test; designers will finally get something tangible and meaningful to work with: real materials and actual product concepts.