Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies

Collaborations: MFA CD Blog

Harold Nelson meets with Design Thinking and Cognitive Biases class

Harold Nelson, author of The Design Way met with the Collaborative Design class on Design Thinking and Cognitive Biases co-designed with The Brain Institute at Oregon Health & Science University. Students were joined by 15 Mercy Corps country directors and staff from around the world.

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Design in the Age of Design

Dr. Harold Nelson co-author of The Design Way will deliver a free public lecture at 7 pm in the Swigert Commons at PNCA on behalf of the MFA Collaborative Design program. Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management said ““The second edition of The Design Way is the most useful and enjoyable book on design that I have yet read. It digs very deep into the intellectual and historical foundations of design thought in order to generate practical wisdom. If only the first chapter of this book was required reading for every first-year MBA student, the business world would be a much better place.”

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Mike Jones resilence expert speaks to students and faculty

‘Resilience’ has become the buzz-word du jour but what does it mean for human society and the environments within which people live? What does resilience mean for sustainable lifestyles and how might the concepts of resilience science be applied to the real world? Mike took graduate and undergraduate students and faculty through a well developed journey of resilience thinking.

Mike Jones is an independent environmental management consultant who has an associate position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre where he is developing the Resilience Alliance Connectors Programme. The “Connectors” seek to deliver the models and paradigms of resilience science to policy makers and practitioners in simple ways that are useful to them in their search for sustainability. Mike was born and raised on a farm in the UK before emigrating to Africa where he served in Zimbabwe’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management for 23 years in a variety of positions including: ranger, ecologist, management planner, community outreach and tourism development. Mike has worked for a number of small US NGOs in Africa and the US since 1995 and was the director of Sand County Foundation’s Africa Programme from 2001 until 2008.

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Dr. Gregory Dees explains the Open Solution Society Idea

Dr. Gregory Dees spoke to a large crowd in Swigert Commons at PNCA. Greg provided his foundational ideas for an open solution society for about 30 minutes and then answered questions from an inquisitive crowd for another 45 minutes. Prior to his talk he engaged students and friends at an open house in the Collaborative Design space. His talk was sponsored by the Collaborative Design program, PSU’s Impact Entrepreneur’s program and John Earhart and the Global Environment Fund.

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Collaborative Design Students Go to the Beach


A group of CD students spent a day at the beach with micro plastics expert Marc Ward. Crescent Beach on the Oregon Coast is a hot spot for plastics deposition from the ocean. For more info on micro plastics go to www.seaturtlesforever.org.

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Michael Anton Dila speaking Tuesday Evening

The MFA in Collaborative Design welcomes Michael Anton Dila as part of the 2012-2013 Graduate Visiting Lecture Series.
Michael is a founder: UNFINISHED (2012), Moso (2010) and a co-founder: Foundery (an innovation lab in Toronto, 2010),
Torch Innovation (2010), Overlap (peer-to-peer innovation organization 2006), Torch Partnership (strategy and Innovation
consulting 2006), Aegis (strategy 1999). Michael is chief catalyst of the Unfinished Business initiative, and helped
establish the Strategic Innovation Lab at the Ontario College or Art & Design.

PNCA Main Campus
Swigert Commons
1241 NW Johnson St.
Portland, OR, 97209 [map]
Free and open to the public. Photo: Matthew Miller ’11

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Mary Mattingly Shares Experiences with Collaborative Design Students

Mary Mattingly on Waterpod

Mary Mattingly generously shared her knowledge and experience with the Cultural Entrepreneurship class. Mary and students engaged a rich conversation about art, social mission enterprises, creating a livlihood from your art, and sources of funding for the kind of work Mary pursues. For more on Mary go to marymattingly.com

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Nora Bateson - An Ecology of Mind Documentary

An Ecology of Mind
Portland premier of the award-winning film
Director Nora Bateson in attendance

Thursday – November 1, 2012 – 7pm
MercyCorps Aceh Community Room
28 SW First Ave

Post-film discussion on “Cybernetic Cities: An Ecology of the Urban Mind”
Sponsored by MercyCorps and PNCA Collaborative Design program,
in conjunction with “Design with the Other 90%: Cities” exhibition

Anthropologist Gregory Bateson specialized in simply looking at things – all kinds of things – from multiple angles, says filmmaker Nora Bateson in this portrait of her father.

The film focuses on Bateson’s ideas, his family history and, most of all, his stories. Footage includes Bateson’s own 1930s photography from Bali (his research with Margaret Mead) along with contemporary interviews. Nora presents this intellectual legacy through the poetic and personal narrative of a father-daughter relationship.

Following the one-hour film, Nora Bateson will join a discussion on ecology of the urban mind and answer questions from the audience. How might Gregory Bateson’s practice of observation inform the way we understand cities and look at “Design with the Other 90%”?

More info: www.anecologyofmind.com

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New Collaborative Design Space is Awesome

The newly redesigned Collaborative Design space and student designed and built desks (Dave Laubenthal and team) have made for a very exciting start to our second year. The tool wall and work tables are already getting good use. Two classrooms and a kitchen complete the space dedicated to the Collaborative Design program. Columbia Forest Products donated the 1 inch thick, 4X8 panels produced in their plant in Klamath Falls, OR. The panels are FSC certified as sourced from sustainably managed forests. The desks were designed by Dave Laubenthal, a second year Collaborative Design student, and all the parts for each desk came from one panel.

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Summer Intensive a great success!

Summer intensive on Integrated Design was well received by students. The cast of scholars was outstanding. The photo below is of Nancy Turner an Ethnobotanist from the University of Victoria, Canada. She shares her vast knowledge at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. I overheard a student say she knows what the great oak tree saw. The oak tree may have been 1,000 years old. Nancy regaled us with stories of the Native American elders with whom she has worked extensively.

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CD space remodel progressing well

The newly remodeled CD space should be ready for use by the students signing up for the Summer Intensive from Aug 1-6. Spaces for that exciting class are still available through the PNCA Continuing Education program.

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Follow Two CD Student’s Summer Blogs

Sharon Devora at Esalen

Inspired by a summertime of outdoor play at Gazebo ParkSchool at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California—PNCA MFA Collaborative Design student Sharon Dvora reflects on child-inspired learning through a design ecology lens—visit www.sharondvora.com

Katie Mays at University of Texas


I’m spending my summer in Austin at the Public Interest Design program at the University of Texas. During this eight week program, we’re exploring the role of the architect having agency over the built environment, and the potential impacts possible with greater consideration towards social good. Public Interest Design, as an emerging field, more intentionally focuses on equity concerns addressed in the triple bottom line. This movement within architecture is developing, and seeks to define a role of architecture along the same vein as public health: how can design transform and elevate our public experience? These hard questions are just beginning to be addressed. But I’ve enjoyed the summer as part of this important conversation, and look forward to integrating my experience into further studies and practice.

One of the reasons I was drawn to the PID program was the relatively limited scope of their definition of design. For this brief period, it was nice to establish clear parameters of our scope of inquiry; limiting the conversation to the built environment allowed for a deeper look into the practice related to the Public Interest, and the challenges and opportunities of creating a movement within an established profession.

As the program was structured, half of the students completed a design/build project in Austin, and half the students traveled to San Francisco for two weeks to a research externship as an evaluation of the impact of built “public interest” design projects. I was part of the extern group, and evaluated the impact of Parklets as they relate to urban planning, architectural practice, and community identity in San Francisco. Now I’m back in Austin, compiling our research into a professional report that will be published by Public Architecture, as well as the Center for Sustainable Design at UT.

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PNCA Collaborative Design/Visual Studies (Low Res) Summer Intensive

Photo above is of the reconstructed Cathlapotle cedar plank longhouse at Ridgefield NWR

The natural and cultural resources of the lower Columbia River have progressively undergone change as a direct result of human occupation and especially so since EuroAmerican arrival. Densely populated for thousands of years by ecologically sophisticated and adaptive indigenous cultures, Ridgefield became a EuroAmerican agricultural system in the 1840’s and later, a wildlife refuge in 1965. Currently, resource managers at federal, state and local levels are challenged with designing and implementing management plans and interpretive strategies to maintain and restore desired natural resources. In addition managers must deal with ongoing changes such as the introduction or expansion of invasive species (e.g. nutria), the effects of the Bonneville Dam (completed in 1937 the dam has dramatically changed the flooding regimes of Ridgefield), and future climate change scenarios.

Through this course we will explore the following questions:
• How can design and systems thinking provide a common language to bring multiple worldviews and interest groups into a conversation about a sustainable future for the region?
• How did this place become the site we see today?
• What driving forces and constraints affect the ongoing evolution of this landscape?
• What management and design challenges does this place face currently and in the near future?
• How can paying attention to real landscapes inform the abstraction and representation of nature through various creative practices and in turn, what can these practices lend to management and design challenges?

Using the wetlands, prairies, savannas and forests of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge as representative of the greater Lower Columbia, this intensive will explore alternative management regimes and their implications for future natural / cultural resource scenarios within the context of continuous, accelerating ecological change.

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European Marshall Memorial Fellowship Summer 2012

PNCA’s Collaborative Design program hosted six Marshall Memorial Fund Fellows. Krystyna Wolniakowski director of the Western Partnership Office of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is their Portland host and accompanied them. The Fellows had diverse backgrounds and asked tough questions and offered rich insights about our Collaborative Design programs and design thinking and tackling complex problems in general. Click on read more for a short description of the six Fellows.

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Collaborative Design space remodel underway

The Collaborative Design learning space is doubling in size and being totally renovated. The program’s second year will bring a new group of students. Desk and work space is being developed including a tool wall and work tables for projects. The photos show how the space was organized last year and the remodel beginning. Walls will be removed and the space opened up even more than now. The new space will be ready August 1st for our Summer Intensive course and fall semester.

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