One of the most appreciated elements of the system of quality care of Design Academy Eindhoven are the so-called yearly Potlucks of Thoughts.
One Potluck of Thoughts is meant for all our teachers, staff and Board offers a yearly broad reflection on the state of our education in relation to actual developments in society and design.
During the other Potluck of Thoughts all students of the Bachelor and the Master gather together to bring in fresh thoughts and ideas related to the content of our education and the way we educate. Valuable meetings where the Board presents their vision on current developments next to her answers on the National Student Survey in terms of policies and improvement. Afterwards students discuss their ideas for improving the current educational system.
Hereby Orlando Lovell reporting the outcomes of the last Potluck of Thoughts concerning The Real World. Orlando chairs the Student Council, whose members are especially trained in moderating the group discussions during their Potluck of Thoughts.
The Real World - Potluck of Thoughts 2017
By Orlando Lovell, chair of the Student Council
This year’s Potluck of Thoughts event at Design Academy Eindhoven took place on the 11th of January and was all about the “Real World”.
The Potluck of Thoughts is an event organized by students, for students. DAE’s Student Council set up a whole day in which Bachelor and Master students were invited to join and discuss what they need to succeed after their education. Taking into consideration what changes should be made in the current educational system at DAE to support them even further.
The Design Academy is an isolated space, and is referred to by many students as “the bubble”. With 2016 barely over, students felt confronted with societal, political and cultural problems to come. With DAE’s incredibly international student base, they would like to be well equipped to let their combined knowledge come forward and continue to be innovative and critical. To do this, they need the full support and security from their school, searching for a home base and common ground to work together.
The event was introduced last year to give the students more say in educational reforms and to provide the administration of the school with direct feedback on current changes and shortcomings throughout every level of DAE. Last year’s Potluck event paved the way for further steps to be taken. Going beyond superficial complaints, on to debating more substantial issues in the unique structure of our school.
This year the Student Council invited ten DAE alumni to join conversations on specified topics such as: How can we improve BA, MA and other collaborations? Or: How will we research in the future and what school facilities can help? By inviting alumni to join these topic talks, the discussions were able to move beyond student’s current perspective and incorporate a combination of current knowledge and previous experiences, thereby coming up with new ideas. The invited alumni included Lonny van Ryswyck (Atelier NL), Jaap Knevel (Pixel Camo), Nienke Bongers (Alissa&Nienke), Stefania Vulpi, Alice Wong, Eugenie de Lariviere, Gabriel Ann Maher, Naresh Ramdjas, Juhee Hahm and Wout Stroucken.
The morning started off early with coffee and croissants, and included talks by Jurrienne Ossewold, DAE’s Executive Board, on the current situation of design education at DAE and how we can look forward in times of political unrest. She presented the students with information on future changes and ambitions for the school, preparing the students for the upcoming conversations. Jurrienne’s talk was followed by Ruben Pater, a frequent lecturer at DAE and author of Politics of Design, giving an insightful and inspiring presentation on the crossroads of current design and the world around us.
These thoughts and notions were carried over into the group discussions, joined and led by the students’ initiative. It was in these talks that the alumni helped to shine a light on the issues talked about - many of which had been problems from earlier generations in the school. Students learned about previous attempts to improve the school, different perspectives on careers after graduation, and gleaned wisdom from those who had graduated before them. In the second half of the day, students focused on the Departments.
Topics discussed and issues raised were whether future alumni should strive to be generalists or specialists, how teaching changes in international and interconnected times of co-learning and the effect of this on prescribed assessment criteria, and how the current student generation can find space to relax in times when productivity and efficiency are such key qualities in our time. These and more topics discussed covered many aspects of a broader conversation on where design education is heading in the 21st century and how students, educators and administrators can come together to find new paths forward.