Dissertation Reflection

To kick start the process of this dissertation I decided to choose a topic that I consider important and interesting. This was because for someone who is perhaps considered more creative than academic I needed to choose a topic that I was going to be able to remain interested in and be able to write 8-10 thousand words on. The proposal I completed last year helped me for the preparation in the understanding of destruction through design however since the beginning of my dissertation, I found that I needed something more to focus on than just whether destruction in design was inevitable, as I found out pretty quickly it was inevitable. Luckily, I chose a broad topic like sustainability that allowed me to still focus on destruction within design but take another avenue of destruction within design.

However equally finding that because sustainability and the position of the environment has loads of possible routes, it made it a lot harder for me to pin point what the problem was and how to solve it, asking myself questions that I knew I was never going to have an answer for, which made the idea of a completed dissertation seem almost impossible. However, to address this problem I looked into both the consumer and designer to understand who is to blame for destruction within design. Knowing that I am both a consumer and designer I could create a good understanding of both. This helped me narrow down the possibilities and outcomes of this research paper and to a certain extent make it easier as I was able to relate.

However, the struggle I had was that there always seemed to be a balanced argument, again making it hard for me to conclude who was to blame for destruction within design. But as my journey continued I found that there were a lot more factors than just the consumer and the designer to sustainability. At the beginning when taking on the understanding of both the consumer and designer, I was convinced that the consumer was to blame, because of a consumer’s lifestyle consumption feeding into capitalism. But through my research I was able to conclude that no singular person was to blame and that the sustainability of the environment is something everyone needs to work on together. My ideas had changed and I began to consider the solutions for sustainable design rather than concluding who was to blame and found that this was a lot more successful by finding a potential answers to the solution rather than putting the blame on someone.

At times in writing my dissertation I found it very easy to get side tracked and would begin a discussion about another topic that is relevant to sustainability, but was not necessarily relevant to textiles or to finding out who is to blame and the solution to sustainability. Equally opening my eyes but I needed to stay focused. So, because of this I made sure I planned and organised myself, keeping strict lists of what was needed to focus on in each chapter. This worked well and it by following this structure of organising it left me more than enough time to edit my dissertation.

My trip to Morocco in my field project last year, inspired me by the use of natural and traditional processes in textiles. This primary research has allowed me to relate this into my dissertation, through this inspiration I was able to introduce the case study of natural dyes, and used this as evidence of how we are evolving and becoming more sustainable designers. My trip to Morocco also allowed me to think globally and think outside the box in design, I was able to understand the differences in design in a western culture, allowing me to apply this first-hand research to the importance of creating and understanding an attachment in design for the result of sustainability.

The research into destruction through design has most defiantly influenced the way I will work in my discipline; I must be able to follow every ethical and sustainable step to ensure what has been created can be justified and hold a place within society. I have always been keen to include purpose and meaning into my designing, but since this dissertation it is vital I continue to incorporate this mentality because I will create an attachment with design, creating awareness.  What has changed in the way I design are my ideologies, through this research paper I began to consider the materials that surrounded me. I am able to include meaning into my design and create an awareness. Yet, I need to consider the materials that already exist to make a difference as well as create an awareness to become sustainable in design. Learning that textiles does not just stop at fabrics, textiles extends to food, papers and plastics.

I have learnt that this topic of sustainability cannot be limited to just my textiles practice and design. The ideologies that flow within this dissertation can be applied to everyday life, whether a designer or consumer. Critical thinking and analysing the habits that we all have, have an impact on the sustainability of the environment helping to limit the destruction and problems we face.

Amongst worrying, I overall have enjoyed the writing of my dissertation. I have opened myself up to so many new possibilities that I can relate to and apply my dissertation ideologies to. I have put myself in the position to debate about climate change and capitalism. Firstly, I found this daunting but to then realise I have a huge interest in to this, a lot more than I thought I did. I believe this is an achievement, to be able to spark debates and conversations with fury and passion, you are able to create an attachment and that in itself allows development in myself but also a development and change in designing. To have a sustainable environment is the end goal and my designing and ethics can contribute to this.


Sustainable by design

After the worry of not having enough evidence to back up exactly what it is I want to say, I feel like I am slowly coming back out of that hole of questions I dug myself. The book sustainable by design, by Stuart Walker is Gold dust, virtually all the questions I have stumbled across have been put into perspective by Stuart Walker. The question that I initially struggled with, was who is to blame? can you blame the designer?  Originally I thought yes of course, to certain extent the designer is responsible for the designs they put out there and the damage they cause to the environment, but equally, consumers do have a part to play they are responsible for the product they choose to buy and then again what effect that has to the environment. My reading into sustainable by design suggests that the designer is held responsible, sustainable design is something we are virtually always aware of as a designer and because of this it naturally plays a part in the way we design and for the customer who doesn’t necessarily know much about the design process it is hard for the customer to want to pay an interest unless it is something they hold on a personal level.

From this reading it has helped clear up some of the questions I had and it has also helped me identify the problem and I have now begun the process of the potential ways of solving these problems with the help of stuart walker in rethinking material culture.



The time has now come round and I have to begin writing my dissertation and have found that through out some of my reading I have asked myself questions that I feel I am unable to answer, as much as I can try to understand peoples ways of life, their thinking and their values, I can not always comprehend what they are thinking and understand the reasons as to why some people do the things they do. So far I have found myself asking why more than once and digging  myself  a hole with questions and questions that lead to more questions. I suppose to a certain extent this is good because I want to get involved and I do find my topic of destruction within design interesting however I do find it to stay within the line.

Over summer I created a plan and structure that I could follow for when it comes to writing my dissertation and so far this has helped within the very first steps of writing my dissertation, however now I have started to write I have found that I have underestimated the importance of reading and I don’t feel I have sourced enough information for the points I am trying to make, I currently feel that my introduction is just a paragraph of me asking why? in perhaps some hope that someone will be able to answer it for me. However from this initial worry and panic that keep getting myself into I have decided to dedicate more time to reading to build a stronger argument throughout my dissertation topic to help conclude the questions I want to answer and more important to make it relevant to me and my practice. I want to become a better designer and be as ethical as I can and I feel that the way to do this is to read and then I will be able to apply these theories to me and my discipline.

Design Futuring

To begin my dissertation proposal the first book I have looked into is Tony Fry – Design Futuring. This book talks about sustainability, ethics and new practices when it comes to design and more importantly when it comes to design within the future. This book has helped me prepare for my dissertation because it has already began to make me more aware of the actions to take when it comes to designing something. Raising awareness is something I am keen to propose within my dissertation and the ideas within this book are helping me towards that.

The key concepts that are evident within this book are: ways of becoming a more sustainable designer, values you have as a designer, relational thinking, the economy etc. This will help me inform my own ideas through relating these ideas and values through to my own practice, and applying these to my practice within my dissertation.

Destruction within design

To begin the process of my dissertation I have thought about what it is I like most and feel inspired about when it comes to writing thousands of words on something. I am of course most interested in textiles and textiles design so this will be an element or chapter within my dissertation, but above all of that I feel destruction within design is key and this is what my dissertation will prioritise. I want to find out more that will better me as a designer, how I can enhance my environment and my practice by becoming more sustainable. I want to find out whether destruction within design is inevitable? and more importantly if it is inevitable, what can I do as a designer and consumer to become more sustainable.

Some of the areas I will cover are:

  • Textiles – Natural vs Synthetic dyes
  • Textiles – Fabric processes e.g silk
  • Future Design – New practices
  • Destruction within design
  • Creative destruction
  • Gaia Theory – Eco-system and food chains


Natural vs Synthetic

During the beginning of this term I found an all new love for dyes. After my trip to Morocco I couldn’t help become inspired by the sandy, orange tones that surrounded me. I just couldn’t wait to come home and experiment creating those colours. To begin with I used synthetic dyes to create these colours and found they worked well, however I started to experiment with natural dyes, using a range of vegetables and fruits to find what fruits and vegetables would best represent the colours in Morocco.

Throughout this exploration it is clear to me that this is something I am interested in, within my research of various mordants and fixatives I have found the true ingredients to all dyes whether that is natural or synthetic, some which came at shock.

As my dissertation will focus on sustainability and destruction within design this is something I am keen to incorporate within my dissertation that works closely alongside my discipline. I feel that this element within textiles that will highlight an example of both natural and synthetic pros and cons to becoming more sustainable as well as all other design practices.

Archaeologies of the present


This is a small poem about six blind men and elephant, all feeling a part of an elephant and then describing it as something they know. This poem is about perception.

These blind men are basing each part of the elephant on their experiences, however the interesting part is that they can not see so therefore how do they know that this is what this part of the elephant looks like and how can the associate the name and the item together. This suggests that everything can be perceived differently, that there is no one right answer for what something is or how it can be interpreted, the experiences we have are all different to what someone else may experience based on upbringing, cultures etc. This is what helps create a person and create personality. There is no absolute truth, there is more than one way of viewing understanding things.

This eventually leading onto international picture language (ISOTYPE text) and how the understanding of pictures and small diagrams help people communicate and get by through their day if they are in an unfamiliar place. Which to a certain extent is true however this could be because it has been westernised and worked towards our demands and needs and we don’t see or know anyone else’s interpretation of these signs because it is what we know, perhaps making us slightly narrow minded in the aspect that we do not leave room for any cultural adaptations and a different way of living or understanding something.