MYRIAM D. DIATTA, BFA, MFA, PhD 

/meer-yam jaa-ta/
(b. 1990 Dakar)


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FAMILY OF SENSIBILITIES 
A collaborative paper investigating practices centered on material and bodily things
2020

Author(s): Myriam D. Diatta, Ricardo Dutra and Lisa Grocott.
Page Count: 23
Status: Forthcoming in peer-reviewed journal, Design and Culture 

Read notes about co-authoring this paper
Read six case studies demonstrating the sensibilities practitioners embody in their everyday work—from a dementia unit in Sweden to a hacienda in the Yucatan.

Abstract

Beyond the industrial design origins of human-centered design, the empathic frame of design thinking or the democratic convivial tools of co-design there are nuanced practice considerations for the inter-relational, social practice of designers working with people. This paper specifically considers the affordances of materiality and the reflexive sense-making of embodiment within the sensorial, performative practice of design. This shared theme is explored through auto-ethnographic writing and a poetic line of inquiry that models a novel method for examining this social practice. Taking a reflective stance the researchers resist the impulse to tidily package insights from six creative practice vignettes into a toolkit or diagram. Instead, the small moments enacted in the practice snapshots reveal a Family of Sensibilities. The collective set of attributes intentionally present a complicated, messy, interpretation of the familial elements that shape a designer’s material, embodied moves when in conversation with people and place.

Keywords

design, materiality, embodiment, objects, aesthetics, social practice, reflexivity, autoethnography

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