Un/Certain Positions

Nicola St John

*See myTimetable for Room & Time

Studio Inquiry

In this studio we will explore the ethics of communication design. We will investigate what ethics in design means practically, professionally, and morally. You will develop your own standpoint and position as a designer and critically examine how your own values and identity impact upon your practice. We will be exploring themes of self/care, dis/connection, and un/certainty as communication designers, and how these relate to issues of representation, accessibility, and diversity within design. We will be partnering with Orygen to explore ethical issues, sensitivity and care within design approaches, and shift narratives around youth mental health.
Within this studio you will reflect upon your personal and collective values to evaluate the cultural and social impact of your work. Through a series of digital activities, workshops, and guest lectures we will explore our profession's responsibilities to audience members or users, specifically those who will experience the work we create. You will learn to identify and recognise ethical questions in communication design and be able to articulate, communicate, challenge, and present well informed debates about these issues.
Communication of knowledge
The primary focus of the studio is twofold. Firstly, you will develop a campaign (including a strategy and a series of ethically informed design outcomes) for a youth mental health campaign with Orygen. Secondly, through your campaign research and your response to the brief, you will explore a series of values and principles to develop an ethical framework for your design practice. Please be aware we be discussing themes of anxiety, depression, suicide, disengagement from university, impact of social media, identity formation and self-care. This studio requires sensitivity, empathy, and approaching design as an inclusive practice of care. The studio requires a high level of trust and your wellbeing is our priority.
Over the course of the semester you will be required to produce a series of design outcomes to raise awareness, stimulate discussion, and create a sense of connection in our age of isolation. We will be hearing from and engaging with key industry representatives from Orygen, Portable, and Facebook as well as guest lectures from ethical designers Benjamin Thomson (VICE) and Lydia Anstis. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, study and work. Now, more than ever, we need to look after our mental health and stay connected. Your campaign development will be group based and apply collaborative methods to define the brief and develop key outcomes to communicate and raise awareness of issues facing young adults during our current isolation. We will embrace design as a way of opening up conversations, and as a storytelling method. Your personal ethical framework will be individually led, as you will need to personally unpack and expose your own ethical principles, processes, and standpoint. This brief requires you to understand, explore, and celebrate your own identity, values, and position as a way that will create an environment for you to practice ethical ways of working in design. You will need to engage and reflect on current debates in industry and explore the role of the designer in society.
There will be three assessment tasks, which interrelate to the themes and design outcomes of this unit. Brief 1. Youth mental health campaign strategy and design outcomes Brief 2. Personal ethical framework (design manifesto) Brief 3. SKO
Ken Garland's First Things First manifesto (Soar, 2002); Meredith Davis' AIGA Design Futures Trend #4: Core Values Matter (Davis, 2018)
Studio Partner
Communities of Practice
Designing for Social Change, Designing through Image

About Nicola St John

< Back to list