Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sustainability DCC Way: Fun Picture Break

Images from the sustainability presentations across Roti, Kapada, Makaan, Bijlee, Rojgaar. More to come.

Prof. M P Rajan

Prof. M P Rajan

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Scenario Visualisation: Indian Village as a visual panorama in DCC2009

Scenario images as a visual recall and reflection on a real experience.

Download the full set of scenario images from the class as an A4 size pdf file 11.9 MB size from this link here (DCC2009_EP Scenarios.pdf) and as a quicktime movie of 24.2 MB size at this link here (DCC2009_EP Village name is used as a prefix followed by the student name and then the image number in both the pdf file as well as the quicktime movie.

M P Ranjan

Image 01: Thumbnail images of six selected student representations from the Bhoira Village group.

Each student is named in the caption and the prefix B stands for Bhoira followed by the student name and the image number. In the images that follow G stands for Gundla village and H for Hingolgadh village respectively.

Image 02: Another six images from the Bhoira group.

Image 03: Thumbnails from the Gundala village.

Image 04: Further six scenarios from the Gundala village.

Image 05: Six scenarios from the Hingolgadh village.

Image: 06: Next batch of six scenarios from Hingolgadh.

Download the full set of scenario images from the class as an A4 size pdf file 11.9 MB size from this link here (DCC2009_EP Scenarios.pdf) and as a quicktime movie of 24.2 MB size at this link here (DCC2009_EP Village name is used as a prefix followed by the student name and then the image number in both the pdf file as well as the quicktime movie.
B – Bhoira village
G – Gundala village
H – Hingolgadh village
N – Ahmedabad city based villages (for those students who missed the village experience)

M P Ranjan

Monday, March 16, 2009

Scenario Presentation: Learning about composite images in DCC

Sharing the visualization of ones experience: Preparing for team work through articulation of ones deep insights and experiences.

Prof. M P Ranjan

Image 01: Scenario presentation to the whole class on Saturday morning in the NID Foyer area. Forty six of the students had completed their work and come forward to share their experiences during their Environmental Perception course at Gundala, Hingolgadh and Bhoira villages in Rajkot District of Gujarat.

Scenario visualization was introduced to the class as a way forward in the early stage of design expression first to articulate an individual designers undestanding of a given situation or experience and in this case all our students had a recent exposure to a village having lived there for a week and interacted with local people in a rich context of sharing and learning. The effort to make a composite image of their week long interaction is an effort to reflect on their experience and to use the skill sets that have been acquired during the foundation programme in order to show their colleagues an exact image of what relationships and priorities each of them had perceived while they carried out their observations in the village.

Image 02: Two examples of scenario visualization from the Gundala group taken at random from the display softboard.

Each scenario was a rich representation of many elements and actions that the students had gleaned from their village exposure, some for the first time in their lives, and learning new things from the environment would be a lifelong task for a designer since in most cases we would be working at the cutting edge of change and in areas that are new and unexplored from which the designers are expected to make sense and bring some clarity to the fuzzy contexts through a variety of processes of sense making. Scenario visualization is one such sensemaking tool that we use as part of our work in the field with rich patterns of people and life actions that are filled with both traditions and change.

Image 03: Students from all three groups volunteered to make presentations and after the first round some were invited by faculty to come forward and share their scenarios with a rich discourse of their insights as well as intangible experiences and feelings. It is this rich discourse that makes design discussions so compelling and insightful to team members. This is also an opportunity for the individual to reflect on ones experience with an external model as an aide memoir and in the process discover deeper patterns that may not have been apparent when the scenario was being created in the first place.

Each student came forward with rich descriptions and some used the image to build another layer of description that added value to the story and showed their insights from the experiences in such a way that shared perspectives could be built with the whole group. What was striking was the different angles from which each student approached the same event or activity and in this discussion they could share their personal perspective with the other colleagues for the first time and the outcome is a multiple view of a situation and not a unitary view from a position of authority of any one individual. This is a useful bit of learning about a typical design situation with multiple approaches and outcomes possible and not just a single outcome as is expected in math and some science results.

Image 04: Hingolgadh village study team in front of their display softboard before commencement of the presentations. Those not present missed the interesting session.

The Hingolgadh team mapped out the contours of their village experience as well as several particular aspects that were highlighted as individual experiences. This is typical of design when many team members are able to provide a variety of insights that contribute to a new synthesis of the whole village while working as a team.

Image 05: Bhoira village study team in front of their display softboard. Those not present missed the discussions in the class.

Bhoira team too mapped out their individual scenarios and many elements and attributes overlapped with those identified by the other teams. However each village had some unique features and these were identified and kept as pointers for future reference as the course went forward with the major assignments that would follow.

Image 06: Gundala village study team was the biggest group but even here some students missed the presentation. Those who missed the event have been asked to submit the work on Monday for a final submission and we hope that they comply with the requirements of this assignment.

When we have a large group looking at one village we can clearly see the variety of perspectives that each of us can bring to a particular situation. This is a very valuable aspect of design learning and action, one which we had seen in the Calico Museum visit when 40 students had created such diverse expressions after one single shared visit to the Museum over one morning in the field in 1999 as shown in the previous post. This Calico Museum visit has been documented and a quicktime movie file with all the individual expressions of scenario as visualized by the group is available for download from this link below:
Calico Museum visit scenarios from DCC1999 class as a downloadable QuickTime movie file of 14.6 mb size.

Prof. M P Ranjan

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scenario Visualisation: Assignment on Composite Images and Mental Maps

Visualising the Rural Experience from the Environmental Perception visit to Hingolgadh, Bhoira and Gundala in one single half-imperial size sheet.

M P Ranjan

Image 01: DCC teachers reviewing the course strategy together and looking at books on sustainability before the class session starts on Monday.

We did not expect to see the full class on Monday since the long weekend was followed by two holidays on Tuesday and Wednesday due to Id and Holi. We therefore decided to have a lecture for those who would be present on Monday and introduce them to the idea of scenario visualization as part of the process of design and we introduced the Systems Model of the NID Way as an approach to design exploration and action. To see the model discussed in class the 4 page 1.1 mb pdf file of “Understanding Design Models” can be downloaded from here along with a paper as a 691 kb pdf file on “Drawing and Visualising Scenarios in Design” also from here. These resources will help in understanding how we use mental images to draw insights and the role that these rich external images help in forming a deep understanding of the context as well as particular items within, all in a organized pattern of relationships that eventually help produce meaning and make sense of the whole system.

Image 02: Environmental Perception course had all the Foundation students travel to the villages for a full week in the field. On their return the course teachers reviewed all the work done in the form of drawings and evaluated the student through a visible process. Each student showed their work in a compact display in the NID foyer over a three day period.

The Environmental Perception course has been part of the NID Foundation since 1976 and it has evolved over the years to help students understand the dynamics of learning from the field a number of complex attributes and relationships in a typical Indian rural setting. We have over the years used this experience to bring the fresh and intense exposure that the students have had into the Design Concepts and Concerns course as a real example to explore and examine in some detail. This scenario visualization assignment was tried out with special field visits to Calico Museum or to the city bazaar based on which the student was required to capture their full experience in a composite image that would show all the significant components of the experience as well as a scenario that was a whole image which could be appreciated at a glance. This year the students are asked to reflect on their field experience to try and fathom the visible as well as the intangible insights about design possibilities and use this reflection to build a scenario of their personal experience that can be shared with the whole class on Saturday morning.

Image 03: The DCC Black Board that shows the concepts that were explored in the class leading up to the setting of the scenario visualization assignment. The context is the DCC course areas of Roti, Kapada, Makkan, Bijlee and Rozgaar – Food, Clothing, Housing, Energy and Employment – all political issues as well as design opportunity areas for all of us.

The larger context of climate change and globalization trends brings us to the theme of this course which is to understand sustainability in the larger context as well as learn to think in terms of sustainable processes and strategies while we design for each of the pressing problems that challenge all of us in India today.

Image 04: An example of the Calico Museum visit scenario visualization (as a 14.6 mb movie) that was prepared in 1999 by Debashree as part of the DCC course. Each student had made their own version of the visit scenario and each was as different as the person who made the drawing. Debashree is seen in her picture wearing a white kurta and a polka-dot pant. This was one of the amazing expressions from that class.

Scenario visualization is a very individual form of expression and any style of drawing can be used and a wide awareness of Indian painting and drawing tradition is a useful asset in carrying out this task successfully. At the end of the Foundation programme at NID all students are usually quite fluent in drawing and visual expression and in this assignment the attempt is to be able to organize ones memories into coherent contexts and to arrange these into a composite image that can be used to tell a rich story about that particular experience. The scenario in its parts ahs rich detail and texture some of it in vivid colour and expression.

Image 05: The students who stayed back at NID sat through the three hour long discussion about scenario visualization and about the nature of design as we know it today. They shared with the teachers and the class many of their insights from the recent visit to the village.

We hope that the other students who have rushed back to meet their families will return refreshed and join the task of preparing the scenario visualization which is required to be done on half-imperial size paper set in the landscape format. Each student can make a rough sketch of the various parts of the scenario and much like a painter who makes quick sketches to shape the contours and details of a new painting, each student may need to explore both style and content on a series of doodles and then prepare the final layout of their scenario visualization on the cartridge paper for presentation to the class. The final presentation will be held in the NID foyer on Saturday 14th March 2009 at 10.00 am and some refreshments will be served. The class will meet for a lecture on scenario visualization on Thursday 12th March 2009 at 9.30 am and the following Friday can be used fully for the exploration and completion of the scenario of the village visit to Hingolgadh, Bhoira and Gundala during the Environmental Preception course last week.

M P Ranjan
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