SISP 245: Ethnography and Design

Exercising humility and developing methods of meaningful engagement are essential to becoming an effective ethnographer and designer. Collaboration with users provides knowledge that allows designers to imagine artifacts, places, and systems that are thoughtfully enhanced or radically new. This course rethinks power dynamics to better understand how to design both for and with other people. With successful completion of this course students will be able to demonstrate competence in developing, refining, and communicating research interests in a committed, reflexive manner. They will gain an understanding of the strategic and tactical value of design and a sense of the practical problems involved in realizing design solutions and responses that are attuned to the needs of both an institution and individual users. Students will gain experience not only in theoretically framing social and political issues as these are expressed through design, but also in understanding the methodological tools needed to translate problems into creative interventions that are user-centered and compassionate.