Disruption: art and design higher education futures

Neocraft_Humanising-the-machine-by-Frances-Norris_01Bower and Christensen came up with the term ‘disruptive technologies’ in their Harvard Business Review article, ‘Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave’ (1995: 43-53). Disruptive technologies can be viewed as early stage catalysts for change, and fundamentally destabilising of an existing equilibrium – be it a method, technology or product. Today, one such technology heralded as being disruptive is 3D printing*, or 3D manufacturing. In part, what is considered disruptive depends on its context and the scale or type of change; let’s remind ourselves that humanity has a long history of technologies causing radical global change (e.g. wheel, steam engine, Jacquard Loom, Gutenberg printing press, internet).  Whilst 3D manufacturing has yet to happen to any form of impactful scale, and indeed may not do so, its very concept allows us to imagine the implications of post-industrial manufacturing for the ways we might wish to develop future Art and Design higher education (HE). Central Saint Martins’ students are already creating possible scenarios, by connecting the present and the future. Continue reading

Digital Literacy: socio-technical futures and arts higher education

Digital Skins. Copyright, Jenny Lee

Digital Skins. Copyright: Jenny Lee

Today, the UK’s higher education (HE) system is operating at a time of significant socio-economic and political flux, and rapid technological change. To add to this complex weave, and affecting arts departments and institutions throughout the country, the value of arts education has been under intense scrutiny at all levels. Hence, our current learning landscape is one that is unsettled, and as such, requires us to devote time to study, reflect and debate educational futures and values. Engagement with, or enabling of, multiple forms of digital literacy is a critical undertaking if those involved with arts and design HE are to have a meaningful, sustained and influential engagement with emerging socio-technical developments. Continue reading