TUFF Climate Workshop Planning Meeting 4

Please consult the Workshop Aims Overview for a general summary of the purpose of these meetings

NOTES from meeting 4
This took place on 3rd August 2018 in Hexagon Room, Lockwood Building, Goldsmiths, University of London

In attendance - Eliana | Gauthier | Isabella | Irene (Jinyoung Lee) | Tanishaa | Marcus Comaschi (new guest) | John Wood | Apologies from Li Haoda
See a list of all TUFF Climate Change Workshops in 2018 and an overview of the aims of the workshops


  1. Tanishaa began by outlining a strategic plan for the next week or so -
    • Send around a questionnaire (to be compiled by Marcus) that gives us a profile of our group.
    • This must try to see whether we all agree about Climate Change.
    • We agreed that some accord is important but we should not expect (or need) to share the same views.
    • We might want to agree a vision (but different approaches / strategies might be useful).
  2. We also heard about each other's interests, presented in the context of the project.
  3. We discussed what might be meant by 'practical'.
  4. John gave explained some of the ideas selected from the Workshop Aims Overview and from the workshop teams overview.

for a (developing) description of aims and objectives. Making it work includes means understanding how paradigms work and, if possible, finding ways to re-design paradigms.

Some Notes


    • Comes from an engineering culture that regards the basic rules as something that cannot be changed.
    • Consumers live in a system that (appears to) satisfy needs, but this is not good enough.
    • We discussed this in the context of automated gadgets that appear to be autonomously delivering goods and services.
    • But how can we satisfy 'wants'?
    • check out the difference between autopoiesis and allopoiesis (see more on Wikipedia).
    • (Maybe also additional stuff from Maturana & Varela e.g. structural coupling
    • explore the idea that some markets need different rules (and feedback loops) from those of simple 'supply' and 'demand' logic.
    • This presents a serious tension between the good of society and the quest for local advantage over the rest. C.f. pharmaceutical company investment in antibiotics is limited because the commercial system is designed for profit, therefore drug profits can be boosted by tolerable levels of over-prescription.
    • Antibiotics is different, because their efficacy will always be diminished by over-use.
    • See levers for change


    • designers need to prepare for the dramatic transition from a consumer culture of unlimited abundance and immediate accessibility to one in which scarcity may become normal.
    • Designers have been trained to have no conception of 'limits'.
    • How can we prepare them/ourselves/society for the transition/return to a world of reduced expectation?
    • Consider whether we could bring (individual/consumer) 'rights' back together with 'responsibilities', as it was, maybe a thousand years ago...<?>
    • We normally see a 'lack' as (qualitatively) negative.
    • Is this a distinctively 'Western' misunderstanding?
    • Maybe Lacan has something useful to say about this, in terms of language?
    • Maybe Buddhism offers some advice on weaning oneself off desire for material possession?
    • My ideas on relational design might give clues about how to regard a 'problem', or a 'lack', as a positive asset.
      • i.e. the 'design' (and epicurean benefits) of poverty.


    • How can dress in ways that would reduce our stress levels in the transition to climate change?
    • She is not afraid to move beyond/between boundaries of practice (e.g. from macintosh to Pavilion)
    • She acknowledges the complexity of design, in that we design things (e.g. clothes) and these designs design us.
    • But in cutting through this complexity, can she find a way to 'dig from where she stands', rather than exploring a vast array of connected issues and theories that relate to the problem?
    • She likes Tony Fry's idea of 'designing from the future'.
    • Check out Walter Benjamin's idea of 'The Angel of History'...
    • Check out
    • Check out Muhammad Yunus's 'micro-finance' work (to enable customers to afford high quality, long-lasting, expensive(?) clothing that might need to be purchased over a longer period.
    • Check out Otto von Busch's work on changing the fashion paradigm.


    • How can we 'go back to Nature' in the way we design?
    • What can we learn from history?
    • Is the healing power of plants something we can learn from?
    • Some 'biomimicry' misses the point if it copies the forms without the functions of Nature (e.g.can we make Velcro from things that grow, rather than plastics, which is not edible and does not disappear quickly enough?)
    • Look (again?) at the ideas of Janine Benyus but consider whether we should be thinking about 'eco-mimicry', not just the way 'bio-mimicry' has been adopted for product design.
    • See my work with keystone synergies that was inspired by keystone species.
    • Some books in this booklist might be interesting, as you are also interested in language
    • See also languaging.
    • and see below...


    • Can animals re-design themselves - e.g. to anticipate climate change?
    • If so, how might we learn from this?
    • Some possible ideas in the introduction to eco-mimicry
    • See Creativity and Biodiversity
    • Download Peter Spring's evolution-inspired article "Adaptive Assembly"

Jinyoung Lee