If FREE 2017 was about writing ourselves into existence, then FREE 2018 is about writing ourselves out of a job. —Workshop Project
I thought that they were angels but to my surprise
They climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies
Singing, come sail away come sail away
Come sail away with me
—Styx, “Come Sail Away” from The Grand Illusion
FREE 2018 is a workshop that explores the radical potential of the artifacts and platforms of design education (tools, projects, presentations, prompts, resource lists and the like) as spaces for new forms of critical writing, making, and discourse. It invites design educators to imagine, debate, test drive and flesh-out the impractical, the impossible and the extreme in a space that is free from the constraints of the institution, expectation and convention.
Part working group and part think tank, teams will work fast and furiously in articulating a vision / mission statement / manifesto and generating responses in the form of a collection of pedagogical artifacts, platforms and other unforeseen outcomes. These workshop outcomes will be posted to an ongoing archive of online resources for graphic design educators and students. Finally, teams will present, debate, discuss their outcomes, beliefs, values, and interests in an informal public presentation.
This annual workshop and the outcomes we make are meant to articulate, respond to and disrupt an urgent issue in contemporary graphic design education. FREE 2018 challenges you to dive into two intertwined currents and to take an ideological stance in the unresolvable dichotomy:
As humans we are chameleons; we speak in many tongues and take on many guises. In HUMANISM lies authorship, personal voice, agenda and authenticity. Beneath its surface lies a complex, intricately constructed, and often unexpected interior. POSTHUMANISM reflects our images back at us in hyper-real high definition: harder, better, faster, stronger. It makes us at once bottomless / hollow / void and prolific / plural / simultaneous. Our collective desires manifest in its material, sonic, visual and temporal presence.
When you register, you will choose a side and join a team. There is no middle position. Teams will develop a rhetorical position advocating either Humanism or Posthumanism as the key tenet of contemporary design education. In response to their position, teams will build a collection of pedagogical artifacts, tools and other unforeseen outcomes to be distributed via workshopproject.wiki, a wiki archive available to design educators and students worldwide.
Workshop Project is the pedagogical design practice of Yasmin Khan and Jessica Wexler. It is a platform for investigating and proposing new forms and modalities of design education inside, outside and beyond the institution. We make the artifacts of academia (i.e. applications, symposia, curricula, lectures, presentations, workshops) as forms of critical writing that articulate our ideas about the future-present of design education and practice. Workshop Project also organizes symposia, workshops and other collaborations with colleagues and educational institutions.
Yasmin Khan and Jessica Wexler are design educators and practitioners with over two decades of combined experience teaching, designing curricula and coordinating faculty within diverse public, private and for-profit institutions. Currently, Yasmin is Special Faculty in the Program in Graphic Design at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Jessica is the Chair of Undergraduate Communications Design at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.
Randy Nakamura is a writer, designer, and researcher who teaches in the MFA Design program at California College of the Arts. He is currently a Ph.D candidate in the Critical Studies program at UCLA Architecture and Urban Design. His writing has been published in a+u, Design Observer, Emigre, Task, Modes of Criticism, and Idea Magazine. Previously he was the Director of Design for The Grateful Palate.