John Hudson: Drop the S word
Photos © Gerhard Kassner
“I am a lucky guy and I love what I do.” When someone starts a talk like this you tend to think ” yeah, whatever”, but in this case you really believe it. Hudson, who is a Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design and teaches on both undergraduate and post-graduate courses at Staffordshire and Worcester University, clearly is passionate about what he does and his responsibility both as a designer and as a teacher. Responsibly plays a big role in his talk, and he believes education is very much a part of it.
According to Hudson there are four things education needs to work on with regards to this: a fluid (holistic) approach to design, responsible design as a core skill, the encouragement of more socially driven projects and, finally, the end of the word Sustainability. In his view, Sustainability has been misused, overused and has gained too many different attachments to now have any meaningful definition. He prefers the term responsible. In his role as an educator he believes students should be inherently design responsible. And they think it too! According to his research, 80% of students agree that this is an important skill to learn.
But how to engage students in such a dry and complicated set of issues as the ones revolving around Design Responsibility? Hudson’s answer to the problem has come in the form of an educational system called the Responsible Designer. This consists of two elements (a paper-based worksheet and an mobile app) that help students gain a better approach to responsible problem solving. For example, students can choose environmentally friendly printers, rework the design brief or get inspired by examples of other responsible work. This is something he has already successfully introduced in his teaching, now working into expanding it into other disciplines as well.
Overall, there seems to be both a need and a demand for such an educational system and Hudson’s is clearly about paying attention to the little things. “If you think the small things don’t matter, you’ve never spent the night in a tent with a mosquito.”
Text: Ann-Kristina Simon & Ana Viegas | Graphic Birdwatching