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James Rudolph, IDSA

Assistant Professor, Industrial Design, University of Notre Dame

James Rudolph, IDSA

James Rudolph is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Notre Dame. His work occurs at the intersection of advanced technological breakthroughs and pivotal healthcare challenges, utilizing research supported design principles and practices to bring impactful healthcare solutions to market. Prior to joining the faculty at Notre Dame, James led design and development programs for a wide array of healthcare and consumer electronics businesses, ranging from globally recognized Fortune 500 companies to nascent medical device start-ups.

Host & Presenter

The Design Apparatus in Action

Education Symposium

August 25, 2023

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Design thinking is the pervasive discourse of design culture: The principles, the language, and the tools of design thinking dominate design pedagogy, process, and academic dialog. Similarly, the discourse has penetrated academic disciplines ranging from business to engineering to the social sciences. A close analysis of the literature reveals a telling result: we are largely saying the same thing. While this converging philosophical trajectory may appear to some to be a positive transcendence towards creating a stable, accepted body of knowledge, the results provide reason for concern. Design culture has not only disenfranchised members of its own community (Bethune, 2022), but has led to static, clichéd aesthetic paradigms. We hypothesize there may be additional reasons for concern, not yet fully understood.

To further explore these challenges, we turn to philosophy and work of Paul-Michel Foucault. According to Foucault, we must step outside the prevalent discourse to evaluate the true nature of being – the way things are, the ‘apparatus’ in action. We propose an interactive visual analysis of design culture – the contextual eco-system surrounding the things we say – to develop a collective understanding of the experience, the environments, the things we design, and the underlying implications of our ‘way of being’ and ‘our way of knowing.’ Through interactive play with visual elements of design we aim to explore the nature of power structures and challenges in design culture today.

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