Nadia’s blog

Lecture visualisation 7
25 April, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: HDG402, Lecture visualisations

In week 7, we were delivered a lecture on theory and explanation and the French theorists Foucault and Bourdieu by Keith Robertson.

What is theory?
A set of facts, propositions or principles analysed in their relation to one another and used, especially in science, to explain certain phenomena.

Theory is often the difficult side of research and often the most exciting.

  • Delving into areas you’ve never been before
  • Driven by philosophy
  • Many opposing positions can be taken (theorists often entirely reject other theorists’ work)

Not really looking at ‘the truth’; theories are just angles or windows on the truth – interpretations.

Design theory is new and in its infancy, however, this is not entirely so – design theory borrows from many other areas. Ideas are mined from other areas.

  • Complex, rarely simple – bringing together a whole lot of areas
  • Borrow and interpret phenomena through theories that already relate to each other
  • Bologna model – specialists in education are taught simultaneously with other educational disciplines with the hope that a broader education might facilitate a wiser more versatile knowledge base that might produce better informed judgements than those made from a narrow point of view (though this is only one theory) – should education be more general?
  • Theories are new ideas


  • Madness and civilisation
  • Philosopher, of sorts
  • Didn’t dissect ideas so much as collect them
  • Discovered that madness had a much more acceptable and less stigmatised status than it does today. Mad people were accepted for the talents they had. But now it is a ‘mental illness’.
  • Madness keywords: Archaeology (learning about the past by digging up facts about the past and assembling a truth which hadn’t been done before his search) and genealogy (family tree stuff – mapping of changes in direction of the history of madness).
  • Suddenly, from people being tolerated or appreciated for their worth in society, they were locked up in asylums.
  • Madness became medical and medicine became scientific.
  • Electric shock ‘therapy’ – brain got fried

    See Sarah, told you I’d do it! :P
  • Now we treat mental illness with drugs – drugs, drugs, drugs for everything!
  • Discipline and punish
  • Controlling techniques: Hierarchical control, normalising judgement and examination.
  • Execution, humiliation (public rituals) – throw rotten fruit at people with their heads in the stocks
  • Panopticon – multi-storey building – creating surveillance for observation. Used in prisons. One observer and many observed.
  • Concern with normality is a modern phenomena
  • Panopticon became a metaphor for modern society – control of masses of people enforced by schools, etc.
  • History of modern sexuality
  • Science of sexuality. Controlling sexuality.
  • Sex vs crime
  • Modern control of sexuality parallels modern control of criminality by making sex (like crime) an object of allegedly scientific disciplines, which simultaneously offers knowledge and discipline of its subject.
  • Education is a method of ‘normalising’ people.
  • People controlled internally – willing self-control
  • Panopticon – design to change behaviour.
  • Design when used in this way is never neutral, it’s an instrument of power and it controls how people interpret information.


  • Social direction
  • Influenced by his conscription and being a peasant.
  • Looked at social change
  • Created new concepts which went against the old concepts.
  • Uses any research method that does the job
  • Pedagogic violence – authority figures, empty vessels being filled by teachers, top-down, using position to inflict views in a one-directional way – THIS IS A VIOLENT ACT.
  • Cultural abitraries – things we assume are normal and okay (Bourdieu says that when things become accepted in this way, we must then begin to question them).
  • Fields – a concept developed by Bourdieu.
  • ‘Value maintenance’ – the role of formal education.
  • Society in every area is in a struggle.
  • Keith says these concepts as relating to design.
  • Habitus
  • Best way to learn is through learning from our environment (learn from our parents) rather than schooling – schooling reinforces our original values
  • Designers relate to habutus at every level
  • Distinction
  • A book about taste – patterns of taste, why is it distributed throughout society in this way.
  • Questionnaires, interviews, observation and photography – about French cultural consumption
  • Working class people enjoyed more literal entertainments (ie: didn’t like experimental stuff, liked accessibility in art, didn’t like things that were too difficult or esoteric).

I found this lecture to be quite evocative of imagery, so I might even do a few more visualisations if I get the time!


False truths survey
21 April, 2008, 4:59 pm
Filed under: HDG400 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As part of our research we are conducting a survey on truth in society. We invite you to fill out this survey on your personal experiences. It will only take 5 minutes, and your input would be greatly appreciated.

By filling out this survey you are allowing us to use the information provided in our research. We do not take any personal details, so your identity will remain anonymous.

Also, please visit our blog.

Thank you,
Alex Turnbull & Nadia Hisheh.

No designers at 2020 summit
18 April, 2008, 4:53 pm
Filed under: Uni-related thoughts | Tags: , , , , ,

“The sins are mainly of omission. For instance: there is not one delegate from the gaming sector, despite the heavy emphasis made by the Summit about the importance of gaming and other “emerging creative industries”. There are no game designers, game industry producers; in fact, there’s not even a prominent graphic designer or animator, though there is one digital special effects wizard.”


Some food for thought and something to ponder!

Where to from here?

Where to from here? It’s hard to say… there are so many interesting avenues one could walk down, but it all comes down to this choice here and now. It’s kind of like a ‘Sliding Doors’ moment.

Anyway, Alex and I have established our group blog False Truths. We will be looking at the use and manipulation of language by politicians, the media and other ‘authority figures’ with power and influence over individuals and society.

We aim to show the truth in language by exposing it for what it really is, be that good or bad. People should be able to judge what is true based upon the best information possible (one cannot say ‘based on the truth’, because ‘truth’ is so subjective), not on the surrounding spin – it is only then they will know what they really think. We aim to empower people with the tools to see through this blurry haze created by deceitful language.

Please go and check out our blog – feel free to make comments, and feedback or help would be much appreciated!

Lecture visualisation 5
16 April, 2008, 9:48 pm
Filed under: HDG402, Lecture visualisations

In the week 5 lecture Craig Austen described the work of Edward deBono in his lecture On design thinking: A conversation between certainty and possibility: Revisiting the work of Edward deBono. Craig also outlined his process of visually representing deBono’s theories and also integrating them with the design process.

Edward deBono’s work is all about the way the brain works – he approaches this from a medical background, and not a design one, like Allan Whitfield. He is probably most known for coining the term ‘lateral thinking’ and his ‘Six thinking hats’ model.

deBono on Design thinking

  • With 11 pieces of clothing, there would be 39916800 different ways to get dressed – the brain makes patterns so it doesn’t get confused. The brain is a brilliant self-organising system
  • Creativity is a dysfunction
  • There are many shades of grey between black and white (on/off, yes/no)
  • Lateral thinking is almost the opposite of fuzzy logic (vertical thinking is the opposite of lateral thinking – lateral thinking is thinking sideways

  • Socrates looked at critical analysis, Plato looked at truth and untruth, Aristotle looked at categories and identity
  • We must have understanding/experience to analyse or judge – we won’t even realise, it just happens for us to survive (analysis- and judgement-oriented thinking are past-based – generative (creative) thinking is not)

Developing a design process model

  • Simplifying is a complex process
  • We have evolved to be more complex
  • There is a context to everything
  • Is the design process linear, or when we hit a wall, do we wander within the design process?

Developing a design thinking framework

  • deBono’s models:

o Parallel thinking (six thinking hats) – directs thinking
o Lateral thinking – shifts perceptions
o Direct attention thinking tools – deepens and broadens perception

  • We have a major pre-disposition to the main track of thinking that we don’t notice other branches (tunnel vision)

  • Adversarial thinking is more black and white – politicians
  • deBono coined the term ‘surpetition’ to refer to something more than just competition in the corporate world
  • We can all be designers because we can all be involved in design thinking
  • “We try to do too many things simultaneously – let’s unbundle it!”
  • A company brainstormed 29000 ideas, but it took 9 months to harvest them
  • Funneling and sorting is one of the most important design concepts

Six thinking hats

  • Blue hat: Thinks about the thinking being used and is used for the process control – for organisation and for ‘conducting the meeting’
  • White hat: In charge of data, facts and information – what you need to know
  • Green hat: Creative , pause to allow your brain to make things up and suspend judgement – creative thinking, new ideas, alternatives and possibilities.
  • Yellow hat: Looks for benefits, value, feasibility and logical positive assessment
  • Black hat: Critical judgement, caution and logical negative assessment
  • Red hat: Feelings, intuition, hunches and emotions

A task-oriented design thinking framework

  • There are things you know, things you don’t know (these comprise 50 per cent) and things you don’t know you don’t know (the other 50 per cent)


I just found this slightly lame drawing I did a few years ago, and thought it was relevant to our topic.

And what I suppose is the complete antithesis – I found this really interesting political website New Matilda. It is an independent news website with a lot of very interesting and intellectually challenging articles. For those who don’t believe in simply maintaining the status quo.

After the literature review

Following the hand-in and presentation of our literature review, Alex and I have chosen our direction. We still have much to settle, but here is where we are going with it:


The central theme of our research will be truth in relation to language. It will encompass the sub-themes of spin, public knowledge and awareness, manipulation, what society and individuals will believe, social values, public trust and censorship of truth. We are beginning to put together ideas for outcomes that will achieve our goals (as outlined in the image above), but we will keep plugging away at the research for the moment (next couple of days) so that we have a fuller understanding of our topic.