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GSMD 510 | Spring 2023

Lego | Workshops

During the Spring semester of 2022, I was given the opportunity to run a workshop during my Peer’s Studio course. In the Full-Time MDes cohort’s section of Studio, graciously allowed by my classmates and Louise St Pierre, I was able to run two separate workshops that aimed to understand how we create and problem solve together. These two workshops were ”The Bridge” and “Towers”. 

With a return to studio, I spent much of January refocusing while remaining loose about the explorations. After thinking too long and hard about what was next, and upon recommendations of our instructors, I choose to keep it simple and revisit an old idea for a workshop. Thus, I busted out some Lego. 

For this workshop, I split the class up into two groups. One group would be building the piece, while the other group would be providing the instructions from the booklet. The building team was not allowed to view the instructions, only have them explained to them. The instructional team was forced to lead one by one, changing the person who was giving instruction every minute. It was chaotic but lot’s of fun.  

I was exploring a variety of things with this project, the first being the idea of shared hierarchy. The instructional team found it very interesting to switch hands and work off what the previous teammate was in the process of. There was no one person who was shouting over the rest or jumping to take lead. This also ensured that each member of the team was given time and space to engage and lead. At the same time, the building team found it interesting not to have any instructions, even to go as far as work with explanations of form – explaining visualizations (such as explaining the next step as a “zig-zag” pattern). This brought up the idea of a shared, common language or form of communication between collaborators. Much like group agreements, the notion of a shared language could be helpful, especially when working in spaces where language is a barrier. my Classmate Jade Dumrath spoke on her experience with Jewellery-making in Korea – how she has worked in spaces where there was no common language, not even English, and communication happened simply through process, sketches and gestures. This made us question whether or not Non-Designers would fare the same – the group of people who were a part of this workshop have some sense of design intuition, and with all the pieces being present, it’s simply a matter of putting them together. Would explaining form work with someone who has no knowledge of design elements or art? Running this workshop again with a variety of people would prove interesting insights into how those different worlds / experiences can change the process. 

The shared hierarchy, common language / shared form of communication, and the notion of testing beyond the Design space are big insights I am taking away from this work. It is exciting to have an ever evolving provocation, and I hope to continue to integrate the tool of “Lego” into my thesis research.  

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