Category Archives: Transculturality

Abstract “Considering the Development of Creative Agency through Art and Design Pedagogy as an imperative.”

This presentation is built upon observations, reflections and thoughts from my teaching of graphic design in an American university project in the context of Qatar, a nation seeking to develop its own creative capacity in its aspirations to transition from a petro to a knowledge economy as well as to orient its traditional culture to dynamic global networks of creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

The core question I will attend to is looking at design teaching and pedagogy’s imperative and potential in developing creative agency as contextualized within both individual and collective contexts. Briefly, I will provide a mapping the nature and basis of creative agency and consider its relevance to emerging conditions of technology, sociocultural transformations, disciplinary shifts, and systemic challenges to education.

This consideration will be developed to help prompt the working group’s discussion and development of what initiatives might be developed to further promote Art and Design teaching and pedagogy towards more valuable and sustainable impacts.

Peter Martin

Abstract “The Phaistos Project — Forty-five Symbols”

I will introduce a cross-cultural, international project that started as a collaboration of six art & design schools in 2012 and is still ongoing: The Phaistos Project — Forty-five Symbols (

The Phaistos Disc, which was discovered in 1908 and is thought to date to around 1700 BC, is a circular piece of fired clay stamped with forty-five distinct symbols. This code is still unresolved. It inspires the participants of The Phaistos Project — Forty-five Symbols to translate current concerns — political, economic, ecological, cultural, or social challenges — into collections of forty-five unique symbols. Design methodologies are used as a mode of inquiry to develop ethnographic visual narratives that are subjective, stimulating, and reflect a critical position.

We believe that studying a time capsule from the past has the power to spark new ways of thinking. Of course, materials and devices have evolved. Today, clay is code, interfaces are fluid (and not discs) and the access to knowledge is ubiquitous through mobile devices. However: Who’s knowledge is it? Who really has access? What are the questions that emerging designers have for humankind today and which narratives are worth being preserved for future generations?

Pascal Glissmann, Parsons The New School for Design

Abstract “Insight into a transcultural project Europe / South Asia”

ABSTRAKT for Cumulus Working Group, Paris 11&13 of April, 2018

Proposal from  Zurich University of the Arts (Andreas Kohli) and Aalto University Helsinki (Martti Raevaara, Minna Suoniemi).

Key words
Art, transculturality, students, network, distance learning

This presentation provides an insight into the process of the two transcultural projects “Accidental Tourist Guide” from autumn 2016 to summer 2017.
The project focused on self-awareness and self-reflection in a transcultural context, discerning differences in aesthetic perception, and understanding differences in intercultural development processes in the fields of education and design, as well as the forms they take.
On a meta level, the project involved the continuous observation of the methods used. The different communication methods and formats — on the one hand, dialogue via “virtual tunnels,” using Skype and other online communication channels, on the other, different kinds of actions in real space — were also observed, documented, and evaluated.

The presentation shows an insight of the strengths and weaknesses of the projects’ settings, strategies, methods, outcomes, and reflections, and thus should also facilitates discussions of further concepts.
The presentation also addresses some of the difficulties of cooperation that can arise when a project is carried out under the same conditions and with equal participation together with different universities from different cultures.

The cooperation partners of  “Accidental Tourist Guide” have been Zurich University of the Arts, Hong Kong Polytechnical University, Aalto University Helsinki, Hong Kong Baptist University. The cooperation took place in Connecting Spaces in Hong Kong, a hub and an exploratory platform for collaborative projects of the Zurich University of the Arts.

The projects are documented in a publication that reflects the students’ original experiences. Additional texts are based on project and action research diaries, on interviews with the project participants, and on questionnaires and chat protocols. The aim is to show different and intimate views of the project, and to provide the opportunity for critical analysis. The publication is accompanied by two internal workbooks from ATG 2016 and 2017 respectively, containing detailed diaries by participating students.
The documentation is also supplemented by numerous videos and is available online: