11 June 2010

Prototype Symposium: A summary

Dr Louise Valentine, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, one of the main organisers of the symposium

In her closing address, Dr Sarah Teasley from the Royal College of Art responded to the question that if everything is a prototype, then surely the very symposium we were attending is one as well.

Indeed it’s fair to assume that everyone in the audience had opened up to new thinking on the term. Before I came, I was under the impression that a prototype is just a mini version of something and I’ve left (writing this on the train back to London) realising that prototypes are something else completely, in fact their scope is so huge I’m not sure if I can condense it.)

Over the two days we heard from some a diverse range of speakers in fields ranging from art to science to craft to space to architecture, music and beyond. Topics discussed included innovation, style, design, utopia and performance art and all attempted to describe their own interpretation of prototyping, referencing the craft within that process.

The meaning of what is a prototype also differed between discussions. We heard that they can be unstable, provocative, used for demos, to persuade, as actual artefacts, as process……..it was really quite a minefield. But as one person I spoke to said to me during the tea break, ‘this is an event that will be remembered, and those who missed it will be gutted.’

Final words by some of the delegates who attended:

Lisa Cresswell (left), University of Dundee: ‘It was a really good range of speakers, Constance the Nasa speaker was my highlight.’

Sandra (right) , University of Dundee: ‘Great to see so many disciplines mixing, I was blown away by the Nasa speaker and am still processing her presentation, I couldn’t get enough of it!’

Lizz: ‘The event has shown me that prototyping is vital and I believe in it.’

Keith Faskin (left), ITT Defence Ltd: ‘I liked the diverse concept of prototype and the different ways it’s perceived’

Friedemann Schaber (right_, University of Northampton: ‘For me it’s been a great networking event, being able to meet others in the field’.

And that’s a wrap. It’s cheerio from me. I hope my musings on the Prototype Symposium made sense to you, it was a real pleasure blogging at the event. I’ll leave you with my favourite moment; a photo of me meeting two of my idols at once – Faith Levene (Handmade Nation) and Alex from Chicks on Speed.

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