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Guest Lecture, Fri 11th March: Designing Authenticity – Culture and Aesthetics

2 March 2016

3 mins

Our students are invited to attend a guest lecture by Kaajal Modi about design and ‘maker’ culture, on Friday 11th March.

Talk Description

What is authenticity? Is it a personal value (integrity, simplicity, honesty, fairness), something that can be contained or owned by particular brands, objects or services (fair trade, organic, vegan, handmade, recycled, independent, local), or is it something much more intangible (experience, culture, understanding)? What are the semiotics of authenticity? What does an authentic “product” look/feel/taste/smell/sound like? How do we, as designers, work towards a more authentic practice?

There has been a recent trend in the global north of people striving to make more sustainable choices by consuming and living more ethically in their daily lives. Alongside this, we have seen a move by makers starting to employ more “authentic” and “traditional” techniques and aesthetics. In this workshop, we will look at design and “maker” culture, and explore how these practices have  developed, manifested and materialised against the backdrop of an increasingly global capitalist culture and an alienated labour/production model.

We will also discuss the concept of authenticity as a social construct, and examine how our own experiences and cultural understandings of the world shape our interpretations of what counts as “authentic” to each of us, and how we negotiate the dominant aesthetic narratives through our own various creative processes/practices. We, as designers (or professional makers), are placed in a unique position of complicity with these narratives, yet design by its very nature design is an act of transformation. How do we negotiate our complicity within the capitalist processes of consumption and cultural imperialism, and how do we emerge with our “authentic” identities intact?

About Kaajal Modi

Kaajal is a graphic and social designer with over seven years professional experience working across lifestyle, political and culture brands worldwide, as well as an individual practice that incorporates textiles, digital and print media as a means to collaborate and research towards social transformation. Recently graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with an MDes in Design and Citizenship, my interests lie in the intersections between design, culture and politics, with a particular focus on how we as designers and citizens can employ a transcultural understanding of the world in order to negotiate the ethical.

Date: Friday 11th March

Time: 1pm,-4pm

Venue: Loughborough University Lonodn, LL01

*To register your interest, email Erik Bohemia []

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