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James Rudolph, IDSA & Sarah Edmands Martin

James Rudolph, IDSA & Sarah Edmands Martin

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.

Sarah Edmands Martin is an Assistant Professor of Visual Communication Design at the University of Notre Dame who reimagines the ways social and civic systems distribute and exercise power within contemporary, mediated spaces. She is a 2024 Fulbright Scholar, a 2023 Design Fellow at Chicago's Writing Space, a 2021 Research Fellow at Indiana University’s Institute for Digital Arts + Humanities, and a 2020 Design Incubation Fellow in New York City.

The Design Apparatus in Action

Education Symposium

August 25, 2023

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Breakout - Majestic

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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