once upon a time…

an excerpt from icograda’s design education manifesto, pg 32

” The reef was Eau’s favourite place, and Lark’s too. It contained a huge library and food for every cartilaginous soul — the reef was indeed a storage bank of resources. When Lark the shark appeared from behind the reef, Eau the octopus looked up joyfully. “I want to be a designer,” said Lark shyly to Eau with a sparkle in his eyes that his bashfulness could not hide. “Why?” Eau was tempted to ask. Instead he said, “Let me tell you a story. A few weeks ago, a close crustacean friend was telling me that his one-year old shrimp has discovered how to make her own bubbles. She was screaming with delight, revelling in her new-found ability and experimenting with it. Do you make bubbles?” he asked Lark. Lark was stunned. When was the last time he had made bubbles? “The lesson behind this story,” said Eau, “is that the early years are the best years for education, simply because the youth have the freedom to experiment without any, or with limited, adult interference. It could be with a piece of seaweed in their mouths or simply breaking a shell, they experiment unconsciously with everything around them and the sensations produced. The moment you step into school these responses are conditioned. Teachers force things onto you; learning has been structured for you. You stop experiencing through experimentation, and start learning to count on others.”


“Things are simple, but we have acquired the tendency to make them complicated. We forget the simple pleasures of life and look for ephemeral things that bring us nothing in terms of growth and learning. We have our big dreams, going about destroying everything that the ocean provides us and then saying, ‘we have to be sustainable.’ Our grandparents were much more sustainable because they followed the ocean’s laws. Life is all around us and is the best teacher. Life makes us understand who we are and who we want to be. The best education can do is show you the path. Life! Observe it, learn from it. Now go be who you are destined to be,” said Eau.


The moral of the story

Design needs to move down to the level of high schools. Design methodology and processes should be at the core of high school education systems in order to allow creative minds to bloom and to produce researchers, analytical minds and sustainable thinkers. Life is design and that is something we cannot ignore no matter how hard we try… the water returns to the source and the environment always prevails.



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