Track 6.a Introduction: Materiality in the Digital Age
The initiative to this track was taken by the Norwegian research group Materiality, Technology, Sustainability (MaTecSus), and professor Ingvild Digranes at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.
In art, design and craft education at different levels, the digital and the material meet, either as integrated wholes, as collaborations or as violent collisions. In such collaborations or collisions, the existence of materiality can be understood differently depending on the viewpoints of art, design and craft educators. Some educators move seemingly effortlessly across digital and physical materiality in their practice (Nimkulrat, Kane, & Walton, 2016). For other educators the concept of materiality exists as something separate from the digital, while others speak of digital materiality as a space where the digital becomes “something” and gains materiality (Bratteteig, 2010).
Dunin-Woyseth and Nilsson (2013) deems the linkages between ‘design research connoisseurs/critics’ and ‘design practice connoisseurs/critics’ vital for understanding practice-related disciplines. In this new orientation towards research, practitioners are also researchers, including educators in theory-led studio practice in universities and colleges. The practitioners not only own the studio but also the research on professional practice and education. Consequently, a new stage in what can be coined the ‘professionalization project’ has been reached, where designers and design educators have come quite far in establishing their jurisdictional boundaries (Nolin, 2008). The next natural step is to start discussions on a common value base and establish a stronger professional identity.
This track extends its discussion to how the coexistence and collision of the digital and materiality transforms societies and impact people’s ways of experiencing things. The educational field is bound to be dealing with value laden questions from several ideological positions (Dewey, 1997). However, avoiding turbulence of questioning different positionings is unhealthy, and bold thinking often emerges from turbulence. We see a need to open the discussion into the topic of materiality in the digital age. It is a start in a discussion regarding how educators from kindergarten and onwards work with, through or even against the digital in relation to materiality, i.e. how digital practices transform the research and education dealing with the topic of materiality.
The aim of this track was to raise questions such as;
- How will we in a world that is so rapidly changing educate for all the ethical and aesthetical aspects, and how do we address the topic of materiality in the digital age?
- How will educators from kindergarten and onwards work with, through or even against the digital in relation to materiality?
- How will digital practices transform the research and education dealing with the topic of materiality and sustainability?
- How can education address the balance or imbalance of the intangible, of culture, atmosphere, pedagogy and ethics, in the meeting between the digital and materiality?
- How can we challenge the dichotomy of digital/material, that can exist symbiotically and in endless ways, and
- How can we address ensuing tensions between social innovation and education?
The ensuing discussions might transform how art, design and craft educators prepare for the meeting between the digital and materiality.
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