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Taking the Spectacular out of the Speculative

As it was decided to include the farmers of Melghat in the Speculative Design Process, the biggest challenge which lied ahead was communicating the jargons. Design itself is alienated for the community even though they practice it unknowingly in their own ways, formulating conversations around speculative design was going to be challenging. These communities have serious immediate concerns to cater to and talking about the elite western idea of speculative design here, doesn’t seem useful as Pupul Bisht mentioned. This doesn’t mean that the future should be neglected either. As Jon and Martin stated there needs to be a balance between affirmative design and critical design, both should co-exist. As a product designer from NID, it was very difficult to let go of the solutionism mindset, hence there was a lot of back and forth which happened during the entire graduation process. To make speculative design more accessible to the people I was designing with and for it became necessary to take out the spectacular out of the speculative.

The role of making in the design process has been growing, taking on new forms and involving new players over the past 10 years. Where we once primarily saw designers using making to give shape to the future, today we can see designers and non-designers working together, using making as a way to make sense of the future. The generative design landscape has evolved since the first workshop Sanders conducted along with the kids. To make the speculative design process more accessible to the people of Melghat, co-creation would act as probes to further provocate and trigger discussions around the use of emerging technology. Rather than keeping the artifact on the pedestal, designing the artifact along with the people would be more impactful. Generative Design Research will not just help collecting insights, ideas and concepts but also prompt conversations based on the path of expression.

The design project thus will have two loops of provocation catering to two different audiences. The first loop will be along with people of Melghat who will be the participants of the co-creation workshops, the second loop however would be provocating the decision makers, policy makers and the change makers, where the narratives from future Melghat would trigger the provocation.

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Oct 27, 2023


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