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Design for the Real World

RMIT students present the work of Chaz Maviyane-Davies

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 |


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I dont have a share in the design world, but i somehow understand the general point here. Too much instruction may destroy the students' selves. Teachers are like actors on stage. When they act, they should forget their personal life.

Posted by:
Double Quynh | March 12, 2009 1:28 AM

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