Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Ann Pendleton-Jullian ─ Design, Agency, and the Pragmatic Imagination

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

3 p.m.

Joukowsky Forum

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Watch on Youtube - Part 1

Watch on Youtube - Part 2

This talk will be two short talks - a diptych of conversations intended to set the stage for an emergent discussion around how design can couple the imagination to action for agency and impact.

The first half of the diptych - Design Unbound: Designing for Emergence in a Rapidly Changing and Radically Contingent World - will introduce the concepts and themes of the framing chapter of Ann Pendleton-Jullian’s recently completed manuscript with co-author John Seely Brown. It will talk about new frames, new tools and a new kind of agency. At a moment when every action seems to dislodge stones in precarious terrain — ecologically, politically, culturally — we need to find ways to affect change from inside. The tools and meta-tools of Design Unbound begin in architecture, landscape, and urban, design, but, unbound from thingness and disciplinary boundaries, they serve to shift from designing content to designing contexts in an increasingly complex, connected and contingent world.

The second short talk - The University 2033: Designing the Future of Higher Education - will present ongoing work undertaken by Ann Pendleton-Jullian with students and innovative leaders in this domain to redesign the future of the university – not the master plan, but the model and mechanisms that form a university level learning and research ecosystem for the 21st century. Originating in her own work on several projects, then transferred to a set of humanities studios at Georgetown University, and on to a set of multi-disciplinary studios at Ohio State, this project proposes more than incremental change. More than focusing on the fixing or repairing of problems, or the opportunities and challenges of disruptive technologies, these studios begin by asking: “What are we aiming at?” “How do we create a true paradigm shift for the context of 2033 (not merely remodel the university of the industrial era)?” This work has led to Georgetown President Jack DeGioia’s initiative “Designing the Future(s) of Georgetown” and is the genetic material for a new university being planned and designed for Eastern Africa in Kajiado, Kenya.

Ann Pendleton-Jullian is a Professor of Architecture at the Knowlton School at Ohio State University. Her work explores the interchange between culture, environment, and technology. From 2007-2010 she served as Director of the Knowlton School of Architecture. Prior to Ohio State, Pendleton-Jullian was a tenured professor at MIT for fourteen years.

As a writer, Pendleton-Jullian has most recently finished a manuscript, Design Unbound, with co-author John Seely Brown, that presents a new tool set for designing within complex systems and on complex problems endemic to the 21st century.