1.0 – CPUT/Aalto: orientation, mapping and run-through

I’ll combine few days to one, since yesterday I was still kind of floored from the long flight and straight to meetings day after it. We reached CT after good 12 hours of turbulence. Our lodge, Ashanti seems nice enough and one of the first things we realised here is that communication; as buying a sim card to my iPhone 5 or finding a wi-fi that actually works, is surprisingly difficult. No matter that the city itself is beautiful. Table Mountain with its tablecloth, sun that’s not too hot because of the oceanic wind. I could call it a paradise.

First meeting we had was with CPUT representatives, Bruce Snaddon and Farzanah Badsha and a good bunch of their students. We went through the Thursday event’s schedule and roles – on Thursday we’re going to run an ACCESS workshop here, called “Design needs your voice” with 60 people – so far – assigned to work on CT WDC 2014 themes. The run through of the event went smooth and the group of design students that signed up to be the facilitators seemed like a skillful excited bunch. I’ll get back to you on this tomorrow. After the meeting, Vikki and another group of designers organized a proper South African braai to us and we stuffed our selves sleepy. Thank you!

On Tuesday, the CPUT/Aalto orientation event was basically back-to-back presentations from both sides, their initiatives and sort of open market of what could become joint projects and processes. There was a really funny and heartwarming welcoming from the dean of CPUT, Johannes Cronje. He told us that basically the beginnings of RSA–Finland collaboration came from the back then minister of foreign affairs, who apparently figured out that every time there is a disaster, anywhere around the world there were always few Swede’s but no Finn’s, and though that we need to start putting more Finns at risk. Good laugh! Teemu Leinonen, a professor from Aalto school of arts and design presented Aalto, and our research.

Us as three CS students gave our combined hybrid of Pecha Kucha/ presentation under the topic of “10 themes of Creative Sustainability – from 3 perspectives”. I’ll link the slideshow here, although it really isn’t as effective in stand-alone mode, but we are trying to get a chance for us to run this presentation + conversation at the Arkadia International bookshop in Helsinki, hopefully in December. We felt proud of our work and even got some appraisals from a fellow local “design radical” Ashraf. I’m sure I’ll write more about him later on as well.
Then the local CPUT students, three of them, presented their MA thesis projects that varied from what can we learn and teach with gaming, a fashion student who was looking into women’s protective clothing at construction sites and a project about leather tanning – where the driver was to replace chromium which is one of the most harmful toxins in the world, with vegetable colours.

We also heard a presentation from UFISA, which is a network of companies, universities and different organisations and funding tools between Finland and South Africa, for projects running in South Africa. Kujali living labs is a part of this network and we went to visit their office as well.

The Kujali living lab visit was interesting, and I highly recommend you to take a look of their webpage and what ever other resources of information you can get. They run several different projects in all areas of society with the help of CPUT students, mainly from the ICT and media departments. The visit was sort of a project fair where they had laid out the space with different project presentation spots.

Links:
CPUT
Kujali living labs
10 themes and 3 perspectives of Aalto CS MA