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The following interviews are part of a larger project for a thirdyear Directed Studies in Design Futures. We have conducted these interviews with Emily Carr alumni to gather knowledge about design practices, methodologies, experiences and advocay, while simultaneously taking the opportunity to showcase former students of Emily Carr University. The interviews were prepared with two specific audiences in mind; Current, the Design Research Journal, and the Design째, which both are web based publishing mediums for design research and degree content respectively. We are excited to share with you the outcomes of our project, and to create a legacy for Emily Carr, sharing the experiences and insights of alumni.
Bree + Solveig
The following is an interview with the 2010 Industrial Design Graduate and Parsons School of Design student, Jayson Rupert. The interview was conducted via email in December, 2011.
Our interview with Jayson Rupert was conducted via email due to the fact that Jayson is now living in New York while pursing a masters degree at Parsons School of Design. Jayson graduated in 2010 from Emily Carr’s Industrial Design program and is now in his second year of of graduate school, studying transdisciplinary design.
Current:Tell us about transdisciplinary design and
classmates are graphic and industrial designers,
what transdisciplinary designers are.
computer programmers, photographers,
Transdisciplinary design is actually rather difficult
environmental scientists, dancers, musicians,
to describe as being a specific ‘thing’. It’s more
journalists etc. There is truly an amazing mix of
of an approach to problem solving which is just
people in my program.
as reflective of the individual using it, as it is a methodology on its own. I guess one could
Current: How did you end up applying to
describe ‘transdesign’ as a bridge between
Transdisciplinary Design at Parsons after graduating
capacities in any number of disciplines, providing a
at ECUAD? What was the transition like for you, were
framework to address complex problem spaces.
A transdisciplinary designer is someone using
In my third year at Emily Carr, I was struggling
capabilities from one or more specific fields and
to figure out where I would fit in as an industrial
combining them with a design strategy to create
designer. The director of the transdisciplinary
innovative solutions. There are an increasing
design program, Jamer Hunt, was giving a lecture
number of problems in the world today that do not
one night at Emily Carr about his new program
have an established discipline which addresses
at Parsons. The way he spoke of design really
them; problems which are too complex and have
resonated with me and seemed to open new
too many stakeholders to be solved through
doors to the transformative potential of design. I
just one lense or approach. Transdisciplinary
applied to Parsons while I was in the middle of my
design is meant to bring disciplines together to
final year at Emily Carr.
work collaboratively on these types of problems,
I was more prepared for transdesign than I was for
developing a common working vocabulary. My
New York. Emily Carr really helped me develop
a strong and thoughtful process in my design
Current: Tell us about your grad project “Insite” and
practice. Collaborating on my senior project with
how this informed your journey as a designer. What
Angela Henderson, a fellow classmate and dear
did your experiences with this project lead you to?
friend, really helped prepare me for the highly
The project Angela Henderson and I did with Insite
collaborative environment at Parsons. I don’t think
definitely changed my life. I’m still asked to do
anything can prepare you for living in New York.
interviews about that experience alone. I guess the biggest impact that experience had on me was
Current: What is the New School Collective? What
around the assumptions we often make as people,
kind of curriculum/courses do you encounter?
which then informs design. I really can’t design
The New School is a collection of schools focused
effectively until I’ve experienced the world from
around social research, international affairs and
their perspective. Research is critical to effective
the arts. The best part of Parsons being under
sustainable design. My experience with Insite has
the New School umbrella is that I have been
helped me see where my heart belongs in design.
able to take a wide range of courses. So in
I really enjoy helping people, particularly the users,
addition to my design studio courses, research
develop their voice within the design process, and
methods, seminars and intensives, I have also
developing the outcome to be truly reflective of
been taking graduate level courses in public health
their needs and desires.
and epidemiology. There are so many amazing courses to choose from, it’s hard to choose which area to focus on, but I chose health sciences to compliment my design background. Current: What is it like to take a Masters Degree in New York? How have your experiences at ECUAD transferred?
Going to school in New York is beyond words, almost. Everyday is an adventure and there are so many talented people around to help inform your work. New York, in general, has so many experts in so many fields. It can actually be overwhelming. While at Emily Carr, I was always encouraged to go beyond the walls of the school, to meet people and collaborate. The ability to engage outside of my comfort zone has been incredibly valuable, especially in New York.
Current: What does design research mean to you?
and that you have taken the time to prepare for
I guess to me it means contextualizing myself in the collaborating. It shows respect and it goes a long problem; having the best possible understanding
way with people when you are asking them to
of the problem space in a limited amount of time.
share personal information.
It’s about being effective, quickly getting to the key issues through literature reviews and then primary
Current: How do you see design as a tool for social
investigating in the field. Ethnographic skills and
communication skills will really help you unearth
Designers have an appreciation for scale and what
important insights. It’s also important to be able
forces are at play within a given problem space. A
to make connections and to facilitate deeper
design methodology can map systems of abstract
discussions about what you discover.
infrastructures, explore leverage points, and frame them in ways that motivate people to become
“Designers have an appreciation for scale and what forces are at play within a given problem space.”
interested and participate in the desired change. People respond well to design when it reflects their needs and wants in a way that doesn’t dictate behavior, but demonstrates an opportunity for an improved outcome. Current: What is your ambition as a designer?
I’m very interested in public health and designing health interventions. I would like to use design methodologies to help develop effective ways of improving physical and mental health in the contexts of aging, privacy, addiction, and human sexuality.
Current: How do you build trust and establish report in your design research?
That’s probably the hardest part. Building trust comes with being honest and transparent. People can often be skeptical of what your intentions are or what you want from them. It’s important to respect that skepticism as being valid. It’s my responsibility as a designer to plan ahead and make time for participants or co-creators to get to know me and what the project is about. People also want to see that you’ve done your homework
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