Emily Carr DESIS lab exemplifies “ground up” research innovation with Student Directed, a series of research workshops that are developed and hosted by students. The students solicit a faculty partner, and then submit a proposal for a research workshop. DESIS provides space, time, and invitations to support the selected workshops. These workshops infuse DESIS research initiatives with the insight of our students.

In Nasim Khosravifarsani’s workshop, Nowruz Gift Making, participants made seed gift packages, all the while talking about the ancient Iranian ritual of giving seeds and plants as gifts during the Nowruz festival. This was related to the Gift Economy and Eco-centric design versus Anthropocentric design. Khosravifarsani’s research asks: Can we influence environmental behaviours by tapping into ancient cultural rituals?

Melissa Rossi organized a workshop called Habitual?. The workshop invited participants to re-engage and re-value worn goods through traditional techniques of making and mending. Prompts for the workshop activities included fold, deconstruct, layer, perform and destroy. Rossi wants to know: If we disrupt habitual gestures with our clothing, do we find agency?

Peter Fung and Samein Shamsher orient their work towards democratic participation with Unfinished Stories. Stories were told and then recreated during this workshop, supported by external guests from the Department of Communications at SFU and a producer from Radio Canada. The inquiry is:  What happens when we actively participate in the creation and recreation of the news stories we tell, imagine, and discard?

Student Directed supports the needs of individual student researchers. It also meets our DESIS lab objectives to initiate diverse research and provocative dialogue. In DESIS steering committee meetings, we articulated the wish to “do more doing, and less talking about doing”. This practice has energized the DESIS community and drawn divers participants from the Emily Carr University. We look forward to the fall semester of Student Directed in our new campus.

Please visit http://desis.ecuad.ca/?post_type=jetpack-portfolio to learn more about Student Directed