17 January 2010

Guess who's coming to dinner?
In the process of planning for this event, I wanted to test out some ideas with a few friends: What would it look like to have an interactive and topic-focused dinner? If nothing else, I could find out what it might be like to eat, drink and write at the same time!

So last night, I got together with a web designer, a student/adventurer, a nurse, a writer and a retired finance and accounting director. The image above indicates how they would describe what they do (and was situated as an activity after the first sip of wine).

Over the course of the meal (which included a smattering of amazing food we all created to share: mushroom caps filled with crab and cheese, honey roasted root vegetables, deep fried prawns, guacamole, bruschetta and a rosemary potato radish salad), we talked a lot about economics and politics. In light of my ongoing interest in these ideas and how they impact design, I found the discussion helpful. Here's a few topics that surfaced from this diverse group:

1. Design is often perceived as exotic, expensive and exclusive.
2. China operates like many designers. In other words, "What will things look like in five years and how do we plan for that?"
3. To make an energy efficient car like the Prius, you need about 13 rare earth minerals. 93% of these minerals come from China.
4. Geopolitical events may have a significant influence on career and investment decisions. So never underestimate the value of due diligence.
5. Change happens one person at a time. Unless you live in a dictatorship.

Clearly, we covered a lot of ground. And while this was informal in its approach, I learned much from focusing my attention on a topic that can sometimes seem to big to tackle. I also appreciated how the experience offered me insight into a) creating spaces for conversation and b) a means to visualize that conversation. I am continually writing or sketching because this activity helps me internalize the ideas that are being exchanged. But I am reminded that not everyone operates this way! Because of this, I'm cued to consider how to create something accessible to allow others to share their ideas in alternative and creative ways.
Dinner with some politics and economics

1 comment:

shuffle pappa said...

As I have reflected minimally on the process of Dialogue Through Design using the Dinner Model of Discussion,I see two giant topics coming together - Dialogue and Design. As an art educator and an artist I reflect upon other huge "giants" coming together, such as Dialogue Through Art or Art Education. It seems to me that there needs to be more than the dinner - perhaps several Hors d'Ĺ“uvres Sessions which each deals with prep towards the "Main Course". Just some thoughts...