Central Saint Martins: Spatial Practises

By Magdalena Obmalko

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the escalation of the Black Lives Matter movement and the political upheaval in countries as widespread as Nigeria, Thailand, Hong Kong, Poland, the United States of America and more, our global communities are experiencing extremely disruptive forces that will no doubt change the world as we know it. Despite multitudes of unknowns, we can be certain that the ongoing climate emergency and biodiversity crisis will continue to result in feedback loops and consequences causing profound disruption.

At Faber Futures, we have been questioning whether, as humans, we are equipped to face the new cultural, socio-economic and technological landscape before us. Are our institutions fit for purpose in light of the pandemic response and the Black Lives Matter movement which together brought into sharp relief the racial inequities that mediate the distribution of health, wealth, dignity and autonomy? What other equity-based models for technological development and deployment could we create to deal with the very real and existential problems we are facing? What kind of mechanisms, systems and values have brought us to this point? How, and with whom can we build anew? Such moments of reflection put into question the relevance (or irrelevance) of design as a practice. What role do we want design to play, and how do we begin to create this opening for the next generation of designers?

We are delighted to be invited to explore this new territory with students from Central Saint Martins’ department of Spatial Practices. Through a groundbreaking format and pedagogical emphasis led by Jayden Ali and Andreas Lang, we join Suhair Khan, Dr Adesola Akinleye, Akil Scafe-Smith and Seetal Solanki as tutors for this academic year. In collaboration with Seetal Solanki – a founder and director of Ma-tt-er, we will be running workshop-based teaching sessions focused on decolonising and decarbonising methodologies through the lens of materiality. As much as Ferment.TV served as a thinking space to expand what synthetic biology means and how we can begin to think of what else it can do, our engagement with CSM—an educational institution—presents an important moment and opportunity to move design discourse forwards and to plant the seeds with a new generation of designers.

We are looking forward to seeing you in class!

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