Dr. Deepa Butoliya, Bruce Tharp, Stephanie Tharp

 
 

Dr. Deepa Butoliya; Assistant Professor at University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design

Deepa Butoliya is a design research and educator based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her research focuses on the marginal designerly practices from the Global South in particular those described by the term "Jugaad".

Deepa holds a Doctorate in Design from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently an Assistant Professor at University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design.

This workshop will introduce key dimensions for creating speculative futures work that participants will apply to new design proposals. They will also be empathetically exposed to examples that lead to understanding inclusive and diverse perspectives of our collective futures.


Bruce Tharp; Associate Professor at University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design & Co-Author of Discursive Design

"Believed to be the first industrial designer to receive a PhD in anthropology (University of Chicago), in 1998 Bruce began researching the material culture of Indiana's Old Order Amish, focusing on the production & consumption of value. He first earned a BS in mechanical engineering from Bucknell University and a master’s degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute. In between his schooling, he served as a US Army nuclear weapons officer (Captain) in Germany.

After researching the future of work and the workplace for Haworth Inc.'s design research think-tank, the Ideation Group, he began his teaching career. Over the last fifteen years he has been a tenured professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and currently at the University of Michigan’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. His and Stephanie Tharp's award-winning design studio has exhibited internationally, licensed designs for local and global companies, and self-produced commercial, experimental, and discursive products. He and Stephanie recently published "Discursive Design: Critical, Speculative, and Alternative Things."


Stephanie Tharp; Associate Professor at University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design & Co-Author of Discursive Design

Stephanie Tharp is an industrial designer and educator— currently an Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Co-Director at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design. Her recent research surrounds the theory and practice of discursive design. One current project is a collaboration with chronic pain specialists exploring public engagement with medical research and challenging popular stigmas of pain sufferers.

She received a master's degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. From 2002 until 2014, she was Associate Professor, and Program Chair of Industrial Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Design. She has work experience with Ford Motor Company, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Armstrong Industries, and Amazon.

In addition to running an award-winning design studio with Bruce, she has led interdisciplinary student teams in collaboration with companies such as Motorola, Dell, and Proctor & Gamble.


Making Futures: Dissonance and Discrimination

This workshop will introduce key dimensions for creating speculative futures work that participants will apply to new design proposals. They will also be empathetically exposed to examples that lead to understanding inclusive and diverse perspectives of our collective futures.

At PRIMER18, Bruce Tharp presented a popular breakout presentation introducing the topic of dissonance and five key dimensions (clarity, reality, familiarity, veracity, desirability) that are crucial to the “strangely familiar” element in all speculative work. Providing an element of year-to-year continuity for the PRIMER Conference community of practice, in Phase I of the workshop small groups of participants will use these five elements to analyze particular speculative projects to ensure understanding. And then they will generate alternatives by varying the degrees of dissonance along various dimensions.

In Phase II a more critical and globally-inclusive reflection will take place in imagining the implications and unintended consequences of those Phase I designs. This is the expertise of Deepa Butoliya, who also introduced such a perspective at Primer18. After acknowledging and analyzing the designs’ challenges, sharper language (developed by economist Thomas Sowell) to help counter the problems of the bluntness of the term “discrimination” will be presented. Then we will explore the problematique through the lens of futures in current western examples and Global South’s examples of futures’ work.

Phase III will involve applying those principles of greater inclusion to re-design and even completely recast the Phase I projects.

To complete the workshop, Phase IV will involve a reflection upon the individual agency that each participant has regardless of their professional position. Individually and in small groups various possibilities will be generated and discussed for possible concrete actions in the world. Among the list of possibilities, participants will be encouraged to choose and commit to actions to take after the workshop. Through email in the months following the workshop, the organizers will send check-ins and reminders and perhaps even consult with participants to better ensure progress toward more inclusive contexts and futures.

A key feature of the workshop will be identifying the individual agency and power that each participant has—whether student, professor, or industry professional—and determining what action can be taken after the workshop that is a step toward an inclusive future. The three facilitators intend on following up with participants with emails at intervals in the months following the event to better ensure that action in the world actually takes place.

Key Workshop Takeaways

  • A key framework and language for doing speculative design and design futures work

  • A simple but useful model to nuance the understanding and language of “discrimination” from recent economics literature

  • Empathetic exposure through examples that lead to understanding inclusive and diverse perspectives of our collective futures