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“Journey through the Ideas Shaping our World”: the new cross-curricular unit coordinated by Pablo Jarauta

This year, the Masters of Design and Innovation have benefited from a change in their didactic structure, which has reinforced the transforming capacity of the students within the field of design.

One of the main innovations has been to include a first module, “Journey through the Ideas Shaping our World”, which has elements shared by the four MAs, so that the students can approach the realm of design and project culture without neglecting their specialisation.

This first cross-curricular stage attempts to reconstruct the way of thinking of students, so that they gain a collective social awareness that will drive innovation. The unit is coordinated by Pablo Jarauta, a Spanish philosopher, with whom we spoke to try and understand the keys to change, the relationship with the other units and the added value for students of this cross-curricular section.

Tell us about the first didactic unit, "Journeythrough the Ideas Shaping our World"

This first didactic unit has consisted of series of master classes, seminars, workshops, etc., which have articulated a journey around the ideas making up the current contexts, i.e. the ideas and questions that configure global and complex scenarios in our societies, our cities and our ways of life.

What is the importance of this initial block? How is it linked to the other units in the four programmes? 

The main aim of this initial block is to raise critical awareness on the new limits and possibilities of the exercise of design in our societies. This critical awareness was materialised in a research project which has set the conceptual foundations for the development of the projects by the students in the subsequent didactic units of the four programs.

Why was it decided to promote a shared cross-curricular element in the Masters of Design and Innovation?

The students of the Masters of Design and Innovation come from a range of places, both geographical and intellectual, with different interests and approaches. This cross-curricular nature has helped establish an intense debate on design and its ability to articulate the new process in our time, which hare linked to the relationship between forms of production and forms of life, between the local and the global, between ethics and aesthetics…

Which seminars were given during the unit? Which one would you highlight?

During this didactic unit the students have had the chance to attend a range of seminars and workshops. It would be worth noting the master classes by Edgar González, Food for Thought, and Pedro Medina, Future Scenarios; also the seminars by Santiago Rubín, Globalization and Complexity, Pablo Jarauta, A World of Objects, and Carlos Primo, A World of Images. Lastly, the students finished this first didactic unit with the workshop by Andrea Morpurgo Experience the City, a workshop which situated Madrid as the context in which to apply the ideas they learnt.

What were the results like for the students?

The students took an active part in the unit. From the first day they carried out an “intellectual diary”, where they dealt with the issues and ideas which most aroused their curiosity.
Today, the difficulty lies in the ability to formulate the right questions. Answers are no longer satisfactory and we need new tools to question things. Design can and must be a tool for interpretation, and it and must help us formulate the right questions, to cast our gaze on the issues. This is the direction taken by the students with a range of exercises, which established the necessary questions to begin their MA projects.

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