Collecting the Past and Present for the Future
We depend on archives to learn about the past, but how do we document the present? Who chooses what is collected and saved and what is forgotten? How can we engage communities in the storytelling and make the process transparent and personalized? To understand history, we must preserve our journey, which includes traditions, skills, knowledge, artifacts, achievements, and everyday moments in between.
Fast Forward to 2100. What did we keep as evidence of our shared experience of the COVID-19 pandemic? Rewind to 1900. What do cultural institutions hold now as traces of the past and what did they choose to forget? What kinds of meaning can we discover in these collected memories, and what tools can we use to create, tell, and share stories and proposals for current and future generations?
Join speakers Emily Orr, Andy Law, and Andrew LeClair in a conversation on documenting the evidence of a process, journey, and outcome as a futurist design practice.
UN Sustainablity Design Goals Addressed
Emily M. Orr, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary American Design, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Emily M. Orr is the Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary American Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum. Her exhibitions at Cooper Hewitt include Botanical Expressions (2019-20) and Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer (2020-21). Emily M. Orr is the author of Designing the Department Store: Display and Retail at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Bloomsbury, 2019).
Andy Law, Professor, Rhode Island School of Design
Andy Law is an Associate Professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he works with graduate and undergraduate students in two long-running studios:
- Urban Interactions: Improving the accessibility (diversity and inclusion) of the Civic Innovation process through the development of teachable Community Autobiographical Engagement approaches.
- Disruptive Devices: Working with shared electronic projects, highlighting the collective, networked, reproductive nature of the creative design process by generating and exhibiting multiple derived digital/physical objects.
Recently, Andy was the RISD ID Department’s Graduate Program Director, Sub Head of Curriculum, and a Davis Fellow for Reflective Teaching but right now he’s on Sabbatical. Previously He has worked as the Award Leader of Product Design at Edinburgh College of Art and as an Interaction Researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, the Royal College of Art, IDII Ivrea IT, and Digit London. Andy spent his first ten working years designing office furniture in Leeds and Milan.
Andy’s recent professional work has included being the Faculty in Residence at the Autodesk BUILD Space in Boston, projects with Shaper Tools and LG North America, and acting as a City of Providence, Open Providence Commissioner for Transparency and Accountability. He established, directed, and finally entrusted the Scottish Orkney Island-based residency charity the Erlend Williamson Artist Fellowship to the Pier Arts Center.
Andrew LeClair, Part-Time, Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design
Andrew is a graphic designer in New York, NY, working independently on identity, editorial, and interactive projects for clients in publishing, education, the arts, and architecture.
He teaches at Parsons The New School for Design and Rhode Island School of Design. Previously, Andrew collaborated with Adam Lucas as LeClair Lucas and was a designer at Project Projects. He holds degrees from RISD and Swarthmore College.
For the Curious: Event Resources & Further Reading
- Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (Anand Giridharadas)
- The Participatory Museum (Nina Simon)
- The Little Book of Design Research Ethics (IDEO, Jane Fulton Suri)
- IDEO Method Cards: 51 Ways to Inspire Design Cards (IDEO)
- The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design (IDEO.org)
- Worktown: The Astonishing Story of the Project that launched Mass Observation (David Hall)
- The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone (Steven Sloman, Philip Fernbach)
- Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking (Matthew Syed)
- The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety: Defining the Path to Inclusion and Innovation (Timothy R. Clark)
- Imagine Boston 2030: A Plan for the Future of Boston; City of Boston (Blurb Publishing)
- The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Clayton M. Christensen)
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism (Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson)
- Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production (Taiichi Ōno)
- The Merit Myth: How Our Colleges Favor the Rich and Divide America (Anthony P. Carnevale, Peter Schmidt, Jeff Strohl)
- Where Good Ideas Come from: The Seven Patterns of Innovation (Steven Johnson)
- Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
- New York Then and Now (New York City) (Edward B. Watson, Edmund V. Gillon Jr.)
- Humans of New York: Stories Hardcover – October 13, 2015 (Brandon Stanton)
- Thoughtless Acts?: Observations on Intuitive Design (IDEO, Jane Fulton Suri)
- People of the Twenty-First Century (Hans Eijkelboom, David Carrier)
- Tree Finder: A Manual for Identification of Trees by their Leaves (Eastern US) (May Theilgaard Watts)
- London’s Street Trees: A Field Guide to the Urban Forest (Paul Wood)
- Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline (Darrell Bricker, John Ibbitson)
- Modern Romance (Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg)
- Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know (Malcolm Gladwell)
- Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture (Johan Huizinga)
- In Praise of Copying (Marcus Boon)
- Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (James H. Fowler, Nicholas A. Christakis)
- Money: The Unauthorized Biography: From Coinage to Cryptocurrencies (Felix Martin)
- The Ethics of Ambiguity (Simone de Beauvoir)
- 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (Charles C. Mann)
- The Underground Railroad: A Novel (Colson Whitehead)