In 2002, I made a decision to drop graphic design from my double major in college. It was an inevitable decision and one a long time in the making. I had become cynical about the relationship between design and greed. I was too much of an idealist then, writing design manifesto's for change within the curriculum. Of course, radical change would never happen and I decided to leave. I would focus on other passions in contemporary art. Yet the language of design, and the love for it, stayed with me. I had some fantastic guidance and over the last years having become a lecturer myself, I've tried to pass on some of that wisdom from my mentors.
Today, I thought about the special people then and the special people now, my students. And how sometimes it all comes together in an A-Team kind of way. Chaz Maviyane-Davies was my teacher for a very short time. He was coming to the Massachusetts College of Art at a point where I was already running from design. I guess his arrival only slowed the retreat since I lingered in the department another year, curious as to what the new guy had to say. I learned a lot about design and social responsibility from him. And that he was from Zimbabwe resonates with me more deeply now that my partner is also in exile from a country as terrible.
This week students presented their research on design, ethics and social responsibility. And I thought of Chaz again and how I felt as a student. Inspired but lost. I'm not sure whether my students fully understand the importance of ethical design or if they only reflected what they knew I wanted to see (or more precisely, what I once wanted to see in myself). I'm not sure I understood either when I was in their shoes. I hope someday, in their own time, they will.
Posted by on December 28, 2008 1:21 AM | Permalink