Day 4: The larger and the specific context

Today a rich mix of contents was shared with the students, including Q&A’s and actual audience participation. Marjorie Naidoo of the Sustainability Institute provided a larger context for any challenge the students can be expected to face: the larger economic context but also the role of the designer. Yes, It all looks very complicated (or complex, but we’ll get to that tomorrow), but we are not powerless. And in particular designers, be they of products or of communication, are FAR from powerless. We learned how a lot of what is going on can be framed, steered, guided, influenced by how it is communicated. For better or for worse. This may have been an eye-opener that not all had realised so far: communication is a means, so what its results are very much depends on the one who is doing – or designing – the communication….
The second part of the lectures then zoomed in, on the main challenge for this project: Communication for Deaf People. Admittedly not a topic that many people in the room know a lot about. Therefore it was all the better that the presenters Prang, Bill and Jabaar were there. Prang with her PhD research and previous experience, Bill with extensive experience on creating and developing support tools for assisting interaction between non-hearing and hearing people, and Jabaar who brought a life long experience (being born without hearing) to the table. With humor, eye openers, interaction and easily understandable examples of how anyone can do their small bit in letting non-hearing people not feel isolated.
Of course, the volume of intriguing information has not been reduced by today, so from now on it is a matter of absorb, discuss, digest and take forward.
Exciting days ahead!
Wouter Kersten (TU Delft, Netherlands,)

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