I’m a Maven


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I’m a Maven

  1. 1. I’m a MavenPresentationUniversity of Lincoln18.1.2011
  2. 2. Final version (version 2011.1.15)[•] 18.1.2011[•] © Stephan Saaltink[•] Thank you for your invitation.[•] Once more I am very pleased to meet you all, and prepared a fifteen presentation.[•] PREFACE[•] ‘To describe the problem is part of the solution’, Karl Gerstner states in DesigningProgrammes. (Please be aware of the subtitle: instead of solutions for problemsprogrammes for solutions.)Alas rather late, [•] at the start of the new millennium in 2001, I discovered thecompact but influential title, at [•] TOTAL DESIGN the famous identity agency inAmsterdam. [•] The book, first publicated in 1964, had not lost its impact.[• ] ‘Ordening. Structuring. Programming. Simplifying complexity’ is my motto alreadyfor quite sometime. [•] You might spot some evidence in the next three examples.[•] First: a series of covers wrapping up [•] Louis Couperus (1863-1923), a quitefamous Dutch novelist of the late 19th and early 20th century.[•] The design, [•] from 1981, [•] is infact not much more [•] then a color scheme. [•][•] Second: a magazine production – for number ten of 2007 – on the publicappearances and the body language of George Bush. [•] First my notes, [•] then someselected studies [•] concerning sequence, [•] format and rythm.[•] Third (last): a commission by Royal Dutch Post. [•] This is a very special stamp,which is distributed [•] only in the beginning of december, just before X-mas.
  3. 3. [•] These early digital sketches, [•] are made with Degas, [•] the popular, muchcheaper rival of Mac Draw, [•] because I could not afford a Mac as a starter at thattime.[•] So we mainly used Atari those first years . . . [•] Besides the (German) machinewas quite good, [•] especially because the ST was ‘open’ & all ports were easy toprogram.[•] The final sketches, however, are again just plain framed papercuts: [•] accurate andeffective.[•] ANALYSIS[•] Precision matters.I am used to de-compoze and atomize, because Design is driven by [•] vertical, as wellas [•] horizontal thinking and practised by [•] deducting and combining.I’m sorry. I do not want to offend you. Please accept next analysis as my personalUSP . . . By the way, already some time ago, on the streets, and in the fields, allmy beloved friends wore hats . . , high boots . . , and a gun on every hip . . .[•] Of course, at the time, I was not aware of my very first USP . . .[•] As a matter of fact, by now, I should admit, Sharon Keetons’ email, whichconfirmed my pré-selection for the post of Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design andcontained a special request, did puzzle me for quite some time . . .At this very moment, I am quite sure, nor me, nor any other external candidate, will beable to answer your complicated question, and – this is important: [•] because it is aBolean equation – deliver some substantial arguments.[•] Mainly because two of the three items in ‘What effective and continious contributionwill I make to the Schools Teaching & Research Agenda?’ are ‘unknown’ to me.Regrettably, consequently, [•] I am unfamiliar to ‘the School’ and its ‘Agenda’,
  4. 4. [•] as it will be presumeably to most other candidates.[•] Besides, is n’t the key subject missing? [•] Why did you leave ‘the Student’ out?[•] Did n’t we all formulate competences as part of the Bologna-proces, [•] to defineour goals and a curriculum which is not depending on, but makes use of the specificquality of staff?[•] And finally: is it possible to introduce ‘effectiveness’ as a core value before theactual launch of a contribution yet to be specified? [•] Is n’t the sequence somethinglike: Analyze-Develop-Programme-Implement-Check-Act? [•] And is n’t ‘effectiveness’measured by objective tools?[•] AGENDAI assume the general agenda concerning design education will be the same in most partsof Western Europe. When I left [•] Willem de Kooning Academy those issues were:[•] Globalisation and internationalisation[•] Students teamwork and multi-di-sci-pli-na-ri-ty[•] Crossovers: beyond up-to-date technology driven education[•] How to connect design theory and practise?[•] Talent development and excellence[•] And finally, as always: the link with the industry, and the link with the professionIt would be a privilige to contribute my expertise concerning, [•][•] internationalisation,[•][•][•] or Cross Cultural Design, [•][•] or Multi-di-sci-pli-na-ri-ty, or [•][•] DesignTheory, at the University of Lincoln if required and wanted.But apart from those generic issues I would like to add another much less known . . .Although recently, now and then, a feature on ‘the brain’ [•] might appear in one of theScience sections . . . (The translation of the heading is ‘Digital reality breedsindifference’.)
  5. 5. [•] After visiting the Shanghai International Fashion Culture Festival in 2010 andlistening to a stunning lecture titled: What guides the designer’ hand? Inside theultimate design studio: the brain by Art Historian John Onians [•], I am prudentlyconcluding every design programme might need some tuning, re-introducing the manualexperiment to equalize subjects like ‘concepting’, ‘design thinking’ and ‘strategy’.[• ] Recent neuroscientific insights seem to confirm not only the eye and the hand needtraining, also the designers brain needs manual feed to keep in optimum condition.[• ] The key concept to grasp is that of neural plasticity.I quote: [• ] ‘Another is that the laying down of those memories is associated withstructural changes in the brain. [• ] We have always known that previous experience isimportant for artistic success, but we never knew exactly why. [•] Now we know that itis because each experience we have actually changes our brain’s structure, leaving uswith better resources for dealing with that particular experience if we have it again.’And: [•] ‘Each trained artist or designer acquires over time a brain whose structure helpshim or her to perform the particular tasks he or she is engaged in. [•] The process bywhich this happens is one that only recently has been understood. [. . .][•] By concentrating on a particular activity we re-design the area of the brain that weuse for it. [. . .] [•] Of course those neurally based motor skills will then influence hisown work, [•] and they will do so without him being conscious of it.[•] This is one of the most important insights yielded by neuroscience.[•] In a field like art or design you can have lots of bright ideas, [•] but if you don’thave the required motor skills with pencil or mouse your work will not be a success.’[•] EDUCATION[•][•] Although actualizing assignments, [•][•] and keeping all information up to date,[•][•] is always required in education . . . Helping students to connect, linking themwith the actual ánd the past – [•] be aware: this is Bolean once more – seems to beanother main task . . . I’d like stick to [•] Put importance to the history and tradition.
  6. 6. [•] In The Tipping Point – an excellent study, and wonderful guide, which should be readby every design-student – Malcolm Gladwell is introducing three kind of people whomatter in a social epidemic.[•] Connectors: ‘people with a special gift for bringing the world together’, and ‘whoknow everyone’. [•] Mavens – the word comes from the Yiddish, and it means one whoaccumulates knowledge – ‘information brokers, sharing and trading what they know’.Mavens are data banks. They provide the message.’ [•] ‘Connectors are social glue:they spread it. [•] But there is also a select group of people – Salesman – with theskills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing [. . .].’[•] Although it is not the task of a teacher to start, nor spread an epidemic, I am quitesure something of a Connector or/and a Maven is in us all. Or to put it in Gladwellswords: ‘To be a Maven is to be a teacher.’[•] ME[• ] Luckely, as you may spot, I am listed in ‘Dutch Graphic Design. A century ofinnovation’ [•] which was published in 2006.[•] An early example of my work, presented on page 378, is from 1991.[•] The same bookcover for ‘The Shock of the New’ by Robert Hughes is on the nextslide, [•] but now surrounded by some of my designs out of the same period, [•] whichseems to be exactly twenty years ago![•] My recent portfolio is available via www.slideshare.net/swsaaltink[•] My recent main task as vice can be listed . . .[•] My educational specialities also . . .[•] On special request I might even present The Very Best Of . . .[•] When possible, in spare time, I am studying LOGO – a LISP-dialect – producing
  7. 7. simple pen-up-pen-down Turtle Graphics . . . So, at the end of this presentation, I’d liketo quote Harold Abelson – [•] a mathematician and professor of Computer Science atMIT – who is stating in the Preface of ‘Turtle Geometry’:[•] ‘It is our hope that these powerfull but simple tools for creating and exploring richlyinteractive environments will dissolve the barriers to the production of knowledge as theprinting press dissolved barriers to its transmission.’[•] ‘This hope is more than our wish for students to experience the joy of discovery andthe give and take between investigator and investigation that typifies scientific research.[•] Like Piaget, Dewey, and Montessori, we are convinced that personal involvementand agency are essential to truly effective education.’Finally – time to stop – did I succeed in my intention to give you an impression of mypotentials regarding design education . . ?And – at least as important – did I deliver an inspiring presentation . . ?[•] Thank you![•] Any questions?