DesignInquiry Montréal Participants

Joshua Singer

Assistant Professor + Coordinator, Visual Communication

Design Department of Design & Industry

San Francisco State University

Where you come from

San Francisco State University and Oakland California (originally NY & NJ).

, what kind of work you do

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Visual Communication Design Program in the Department of Design & Industry at San Francisco state University. Visual Communication Design with interests in mapping, urban environment(s), typography and a notion of civic design (and cycling). , why you are coming To meet and engage with other practitioners and scholars in issues regarding design and the representation of urban space (see below).

, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City: //////

I am interested in the different ways a city, the landscape, can be measured. What kind of landscape is out there and how can we represent it? How might we visualize the forces that act upon geographic vectors of the city? Specifically, for Design City, to address whether the design-ness of a city be measured and to take the opportunity to explore the questions you have raised, “…the notion that design practice, and the presence of designers, can alter the trajectory of a city for the better.”

If able to attend Design Inquiry I would like to create an ad-hoc atlas of “Ville de Montreal as a Design City”. During explorations within the city, I would measure and document characteristics of Montreal and create geographic vectors (human, structural, physical, economic, etc.) relevant to the city’s design-ness. The results would be compiled into the ad-hoc atlas, mapping the city within some portion of the stated assumption “that design can alter the trajectory of a city for the better”, creating graphic representations of a “Design-City” landscape and hopefully offer a new vista for analysis and speculation. The making of the atlas would be open to the discussion, participation and collaboration of the Design Inquiry participants – it’s form and objectives open to the design of all.

I would share examples including work done at SF State (in collaborations between Design, Art and Geography) as case studies of experimental forms, methods and interdisciplinary practices.

I am an enthusiastic cook (food, the ultimate design?).

Anne Galperin

Associate Professor + Program Coordinator, Graphic Design

State University of New York at New Paltz

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I was born and live in the US. Immigrant parents (from India and Lithuania) contributed a sense of being part of and yet apart from local cultures, good for observation of the familiar and unfamiliar! My teaching is less about form and more about design as a part of life, politics and culture. I also art direct and design books. Areas of interest include design pedagogy, material culture, media ecology (currently writing a book on this topic for design students). I used to write on science and health issues. My overall direction seems to be more on the human context of design and less on the specific artifact.

I am coming to see something new with open eyes (and in concert with many pairs of them), to meet, to talk with, to hear, to synthesize, to make, to document, to connect. Most of my experiences have been as part of conventional institutions and hierarchies; I get along fine in them but would to experience something else and apply the new knowledge to what’s going on around me. (I was last in Montreal in 1967 for the Expo, when I was 6. It left quite an impression on me: I was just learning how to read. All the Helvetica-set pamphlets! The geodesic dome! The space capsule! A nice lady in a pretty sari in the Indian pavilion! And my parents seemed finally at home amid the international crowds.)

How dialog between entities is constructed really interests me, something that emerged from the media ecology/communication theory research I’ve been doing. I read no explicit reference to non designers in the criteria and characteristics UNESCO puts forward for qualifying Cities of Design. This is fascinating…the absence of non designers, the inhabitants of these Cities. So I am curious about the ways in which people communicate with and affect their environment, even ones that have been designed “for” them. The official rhetoric seems so top-down, old-style…yes, I believe that environment can really elevate the human condition but it seems patronizing to “apply” design in trickle-down fashion to invisible people.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

I really love synthesis, connecting dots from different locations in unexpected ways. And sometimes I am absolutely ground-floor pragmatic. I pose a lot of questions. I am also a good cook.

The presentation abstract:

Investigating and documenting actualities and potentialities of non- designers in co-producing this City of Design : exercise + presentation / action / follow-up: exhibition at Portes Ouvertes + publication

1. exercise + presentation

I have a short exercise planned but don’t want to divulge the details so as not to water-down the experience.

After the exercise I would do a very brief presentation of theories/examples related to how people, places and things may meaningfully interact toward co-designed outcomes.

2. collaborative (yes?) action

It’s impossible to know how this would connect and overlap with other collaborators’ work, and the directions the group seeks to take but I’m interested in a range of actions that involve the people of Montreal in answering the question: “How do you co-produce this City of Design?”

Individuals could

– provide a guided tour / a day in their lives

– answer surveys/questionnaires

– answer questions in a more conversational way

Other approaches of observation are less intrusive and could involve

– discreet shadowing

– activity analysis: list all tasks, actions, objects, performers and interactions in key spots

– looking for wear patterns and evidence of human activity

I would want to ID a range of locales for these investigations; people with different circumstances will respond differently.

3. potential follow-up

I’d very much like to use our observations to visualize and compose a set of questions about Montréal’s co-design that could be asked of visitors (residents and tourists) at the Portes Ouvertes exhibition. Perhaps people we’ve talked with could be at the exhibition to share their experience with exhibition visitors.

If people cannot be surveyed on the spot, perhaps they could be prompted to respond to a questionnaire via something like Survey Monkey (within a particular time frame). Reading and analyzing their answers is more of a long-term project but I think the process and information will lead to some interesting and valuable new insights, and I would be happy to participate beyond May 13. If it’s not practical to use Portes Ouvertes as a way to solicit information, then observations and questions could be presented as thought-provocations.

Karina Cutler-Lake

Associate Professor of Art University of Wisconsin

Oshkosh teaching blog:

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

Hello! My name is Karina Cutler-Lake, and I teach graphic design and typography at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. I am also very much a working artist. I just started my 14th semester as a professor yesterday, yikes! But here is the truth: I am really still a student in almost every way. I get the sense that design is really evolving. I want to watch it do its wonderful thing. I have long been interested in what it is that defines a PLACE. I want to go someplace extraordinary to observe, reflect, and respond.

A little bit about what I do: I’m a maker of maps. My own personal cartography is art produced using the language of graphic design. These personal experience maps fall squarely into the category of personal and creative diary-keeping. They are documentation of life lived, especially as it relates to movement and geography. During my sabbatical in the Fall of 2011 I will be investigating and pushing the potential of the personal experience map, and I hope to be able to incorporate my DesignInquiry Montreal experience into the project. These new maps will be very different in form: instead of being handmade or printed (as they have been in the past), they will be entirely digital, featuring animation, video, sound, and/or interactivity. I hope to replicate (at least in sensibility) the handmade feeling of earlier work, as the notion of the tactile has always driven my interest in the graphic arts. Recent developments in technology and digital imaging have sparked my interest in the potential of digital media, causing me to reconsider the severity of the so-called “divide” between digital and handmade. I love print, and was trained to be a print designer. But the allure of the pixel is undeniable. I seek a bountiful truce!

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

In general: an eagerness to explore new ground. Good manners and an agreeable personality. A proven ability to navigate public transportation, whatever the country or language. A desire to sample poutine. The need to find out what design can really do. The need to better find out what design really is.

A presentation abstract goes here:

Perhaps obviously, I’d like to do a mapping project with my fellow DI travelers. I usually just map my own experience. What would happen if these others (who I just met!) were added into the mix? What would overlap, and how could this be interpreted? How could others help me to understand my own experience in ways that I couldn’t do alone? Much would probably depend on the personalities, resources, and situations at hand.Whatever materializes would be recorded directly to the project’s journal/website.

David Szanto


Concordia University (student/teacher); Université du Québec à Montréal and University of Gastronomic Sciences (teacher)

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I come from Montreal, though I was born in Boston and then lived in Del Mar (CA), Laramie, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Portland (ME), and a few places in Italy. Now I come from Montreal again.

I am currently doing a PhD in Gastronomy at Concordia University, taking a transdisciplinary approach to food in order to construct a more generalist lens through which food (and food studies) may be viewed/performed. I also teach a number of courses in food, and do some food-related writing and the odd bit of consulting. (My website is a bit out of date–I’m not consulting much these days.)

Following a graduate certificate program in Design at Concordia (2009-10), I have become very interested in the parallels between design and gastronomy, including questions of environment (social and biogeophysical), ecologies and interaction, iteration processes, and holistic systems.

As a Montréalais raised and repatriated, I am fascinated by this city and its continual, continuous evolution. Its food, architecture, music, and public spaces change and change again. It is an island, geographically and culturally, in a remarkably complex province with remarkably complex neighbours. The continued investigation of this city, and of design practice, and of food, is what intrigues me most for this DI gathering, including the opportunity both to share it with the DI participants and to experience it myself.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

A presentation abstract goes here:

St-Laurent Boulevard food walk

The Blvd. St-Laurent food walk will serve as an initial grounding in Montreal–both both its socio-history, and also its food culture. Known as “the Main”, St-Laurent was/is the Main Street of Montreal and serves as a kind of jumping-off point for immigrants even today, as well as to divide the city east-west, and to a lesser extent franco-anglo. Plus it is home to some of the iconic foods of Montreal. We will do the walk on Monday, and participants will be encouraged to latch on to some aspect of the walk–architectural, ethnocultural, political, environmental, etc.–to use as an ongoing stimulus for how they participate in the food aspect of the gathering. At the Thursday evening meal, the foods of the Main and the rest of Montreal will be revisited, with St-Laurent–sourced ingredients serving to stimulate the body as much as the mind.

Joshua Davidson

MA Student

Concordia Univeristy (Media Studies)

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

Hello, my name is Josh Davidson. I am currently an MA student in the Media Studies program at Concordia University in Montréal. My background and research is at the intersection of culinary studies and documentary media production. After working in both fields for over ten years, I have returned to the academic environment to engage in research on the “performance” of recipes – specifically, the interplay or co-production of meaning and texts as food is combined, consumed, and translated into other media (via recipes). My main purpose for participating in Design Inquiry this year is to partake in this culinary/media research in a an inspired environment, cross- pollinating ideas and methods with the various designers, scholars and artists who will be attending. I hope to be able not only to derive new ways of media (and recipe)-making from and within the collective group environment, but also to work with the participants to examine the culinary landscape of Montreal as a valid and vital domain of design inquiry – an oft-neglected one!

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

A presentation abstract goes here:

Participation Proposal: Video Exploration of Collectivity and Food (in collaboration with David Szanto)

This project will investigate the oscillation between concept and necessity/availability in the process of design – specifically recipe design – and contribute to the collaborative cooking tradition of past Design Inquiry gatherings. Through video documenation, I will engage the participants of the Design Inquiry gathering on the questions of food and place, as well as the performative aspect of food. The nature and level of their involvement will be according to their skill in cooking/tasting and/or their interest in participating in general. ] Alternately, they may simply be interviewed based on their observations of the process in relation to David’s stimulation session on Montréal food.

Prior to arriving, each participant will be asked to bring an ingredient from home. On the first day of activities, David will lead a food-focused walking tour of St-Laurent boulevard, which will also serve as an introduction to Montreal through its history and early development. Participants will then be invited to acquire an ingredient during the first two days of their stimulus activities – particularly during or after David’s tour.

The brought and bought ingredients will form a collective (and restrictive) “pool” for the final collective dinner. Drawing exclusively from this pool, a volunteer group (including myself) will create a meal, and ultimately articulate “recipes” based on our respective or collective dishes. I will blend my documentation of the provisioning, preparing, and tasting portions of this collective endeavour with the recipe designs procured from the willing participants to generate an installation that I intend to propose for presentation at the CAFS (Canadian Association of Food Studies) annual conference media gallery at Congress.

The conceptual underpinnings of this project include

  • investigating the oscillation between concept and necessity/availability in the process of design – specifically recipe design
  • examination of the notion of “heritage” as a (simultaneous) process of drawing from and adding to a pool of collective experience
    • In the case of this project, this might include several heritage “layers”: the heritage of the ingredients brought from their home locations, the heritage of the Montreal terrain upon which they must find their new ingredient, and the spontaneous heritage created as the group forms to cook and later articulate recipes
  • experimentation with open-ended methodologies of documentary videomaking
  • investigation into the modulations that occur upon re-presentation of sensory experience in shifting contexts (ie, the installation of the documentary, recipes, testimonies, and possible tastings at the media gallery at the CAFS conference at Congress 2011).

I am excited to have the opportunity to participate in Design Inquiry, and expect to be challenged in my preconceptions surrounding design and evolve my methodology and conceptual framework as the week unfolds. I also feel the collaboration with David is ideal in at least two ways: firstly, due to the historical stimulus he will provide of the terrain upon which we will cook and source food, and secondly his current research on (Québec culinary) heritage drawing on Bourdieu and Deleuze among others marries extremely well with my own research pursuits for my MA.

Bobby Campbell

Assistant Professor of Graphic Design

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DesignCity:

Cities have loomed large in my imagination from a very early age. Although the location of my childhood home was in a secluded, wooded valley, the location of my childhood imagination was the metropolis of fiction. These imaginary cities ranged from the moody Art Deco gradients of Batman’s Gotham City to the teeming decay of Akira’s Neo-Tokyo to the motley energy of Mos Eisley. Since that time, I have experienced a wide range of other cities that blur the lines between fiction and non-fiction. Woody Allen and J.D. Salinger have conjured a sepia-tinged New York of marble-fronted Woolworth’s and sweaty diners. Natsuo Kirino and Haruki Murakami weave a complex Tokyo of sighing factories and ghostly hallways. As a graphic designer and artist, I have also lived and worked in a variety of urban areas, including Louisville, Kentucky; Detroit, Michigan; Dublin, Ireland and now Charlotte, North Carolina. Cities have always been a powerful site for my creative imagination.

My work is based in drawing that creates either graphic design or visual art. I did client-based graphic design for many years, with clients such as Ford Motor Company, Daimler-Chrysler and K-Mart, before attending graduate school at the University of Michigan. In graduate school, I began to blend graphic design and visual art practices, which eventually lead to vector-based abstract drawings, room-scale installations and typographic experiments. After completing my MFA, I worked in Dublin, Ireland for a year as part of a Fulbright Fellowship. Upon returning from Ireland, I taught as an Assistant Professor at Morehead State University, followed by my current position at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. I still maintain a client-based practice now focused on smaller nonprofit groups such as Equality Now or The Asian American Writer’s Workshop, both of New York. My type explorations and interest in narratives have lead me to investigate the intersection of cultures that take place within graphic design. My interest in the topic DesignCity stems from both my passion for cities and my research on design from other cultures.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

A presentation abstract goes here: The specific theme of my investigation during DesignInquiry: DesignCity concerns how the bilingual nature of Montreal contributes to the city’s status as a world-class design environment. I will examine how the different languages and resultant different typographical phenomenon contribute to the overall aesthetic and organization of the city’s visual space. Further, I will investigate how the variety of foreign-language typography and design contributes to a greater sense of civic connection and integration in city life. I plan to do some visual survey and ethnographic study of Charlotte’s multicultural economic zones, including Central Avenue in my neighborhood, as a base from which to examine Montréal.

In the spirit of the collaborative and participatory nature of DesignInquiry events, I would also like to work with interested fellow participants in designing our own micro-city. Each of us likely has an archetypal city of our imagination – it would be fascinating to tease the contours of such a space out and combine it with the proto-spaces of others. We could develop maps, multi-lingual signage and architecture for our city in a joint creative process. The creative result of such a collaboration would be a terrific base for exhibition on its own or a strong springboard for design/installation work in the future.

amery Calvelli / John Calvelli


push plus minus //

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

We are two people with a lifelong interest in design. We live in Calgary, in the province of Alberta, Canada. We’ve lived together in Portland, San Francisco, and New York. We formed a ‘shell company’ for the purpose of exploring the potential of collaborating with each other on projects. We hope to further our collaboration by participating in Design Inquiry in Montreal. We find the topic of DESIGN City to be directly aligned to our interests in how design makes a difference in place.

John is a design theorist and photographer with a former career as a design practitioner. As faculty at Alberta College of Art and Design, he is a ‘designer of designers’, teaching design-related liberal studies courses. He was in Montreal last summer working with other designers, artists and cartographers on a project related to a database of environmental influences on health in the city of Montreal.

amery works to build dialogue around the field of design. Her blog Mind the Gap <> is an observation of things related to the urban environment, noting gaps that may develop between systems and frameworks created to house place. Another blog, This is Here <> is a collection of walking observations of urban places and an exploration of what makes a particular urban environment special. She works as a communicator for architects and designers, helping to bring stories to good projects and good ideas.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

We will share our findings from our explorations in Montreal last summer with the group, for starters. John can share images and a paper of his project – a philosophy of just about everything with an attempt to relate it to environmental and ontological injustice in the city of Montreal. amery will build on her research into architecture and the city gained through visits to notable sites in the city.

But it is the staircases in Montreal which really interests us at this time. They often spiral and look especially difficult to navigate in a city that is notable for cold and snowy winters. These staircases aren’t designed for users, they exist for inhabitants of a place with a specific cultural identity and legacy. We intend to explore Montreal through the lens of its staircases. Surveying locals who are not designers and collecting their perceptions and experiences, we will cross this data with input from local experts and architects on the design of the stairs in Montreal. We would like to lead an experiential walking tour of staircases which hopes to pose new questions to the experiences of staircases.

Alice Jarry

Cinqunquatre [ co-founder ]

Who I am / What I do

I am a visual artist, a printmaker, a graphic designer, a daydreamer and a graduate student in Digital technologies and design art practices at Concordia University in Montreal. In 2003, I co-founded Cinqunquatre, an art and design studio that focuses on silkscreen, letterpress, lithography and all kinds of other obsolete machines that once brought back to life produce unexpected results.

I question the interchangeable aspect of image, the relationship between multiple objects and their physical, immediate disappearances, and reorganization thus allows me to interpret my relationship to space, to sample it and to re-arrange it. I take images out of their original context, breathing new narratives into it – for me, their history and settings don’t belong to the past so much as they are forged and emerge through layering. My interest is the city as a whole, a build up, an accumulation, a raw material from which I want to capture its structural and experiential dimensions. The urban realm is the basis and the foundation of my work. I interpret this environment in a metaphorical way. I am fascinated by the blurred and often imaginary frontier between place and non-place.

Why am I coming / What are my interests in the topic Montreal/Design Ciy

My recent work focuses on Griffintown, a Montreal industrial neighboorhood that is too often perceived as an abandonned and vaguely defined interzone. Even if in great need for revitaliztion and despite itʼs apparent decay, this area is not a non-space. It is complex and alive; its unfinished, imperfect aspect and ambivalence are themes for the imaginary.

Right now, this area raises strong interest amongst real estate promoters. As a visual artist and citizen, My interrogation focuses on the way we foresee Montreal’s revitalization, what is our ability to live in the here and now without bulldozing the past or short- circuiting the future ? How do affects operate in a brand new place? How does a sense of belonging emerge? How can we start from the existing topology of a space and generate new connections, new dynamics, new ways of experiencing and imagining the neighborhood ?

Griffintownʼs richness also comes from its accidents and interstitial spaces: The Lachine canal, tunnels, empty lots, railways and urban héritage buildings are perceived as ghosts of the past, obstacles to bypass, or at best to historicize. However, these structures and heterogeneous assemblages are precisely the skeleton on which we have to build upon, the components that broaden the term of experience in the neighborhood.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

During DesingInquiry I propose to present and exhibit Life in a box : Building tomorrow today , a silkscreen installation Iʼm currently working on that explores Griffintown as a neighborhood in flux. Building upon one of the neighborhoodʼs actual real estate projects proposals ( District Griffin by Devimco) the installation aims to unfold the blurry boundaries between real and fiction, between regrets and possibility, between the past and the becoming of Griffintownʼs grey zones, vital forces, multiple and unexpected emerging possibilities and multi-directional overlapping narratives. Life in a box is a fetishizing agent between urban reality and a contemporary urban mythology; objects, urban furniture, land, streets, warehouses, peopleand history are given a voice. These ephemeral spaces are alive and must speak; they witnessed the past and will bear the future on their backs. Life in a box questions the interchangeable dance of image and density, utopia, scale, disappearance and memory. The presentation could be followed by a promenade in the neighborhood to further encourage discussion about the issues at stake in this area and see more of the local artistic initiatives that take place.

Deborah Saucier

Professor of Neuroscience

University of Lethbridge

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DesignCity:

I am a professor of neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge. I study how the brain understands space, whether these spaces are in print media, abstract shapes or features of the environment in a city. My research has found that men and women differ in the features that they attend to and use in a city, especially when they are trying to navigate around a city. For instance, it appears that men relate more to abstract features of the environment, such as cardinal directions like north; whereas women relate more to concrete features of the environment such as landmarks. Other research that I (in collaboration with others) have performed have also found that people there are consistent differences in how individuals estimate the size of objects that relate to where they are in space. For instance, the left side of objects are consistently misjudged for size or luminosity, resulting in some interesting visual illusions.

I would like to attend DesignInquiry to begin a dialogue with designers about these aspects of human psychology for two reasons. The first reason is to have a knowledgeable discussion about design practice with people who care passionately about design. This discussion would inform my research in the upcoming years. The second reason is to engage in the topic DesignCity, which seems to directly relate to my research practice. To my mind, aspects of the question inherent in DesignCity relates to how people understand spaces, what they find interesting, what they attend to. I would like the opportunity to discover whether a city that has been recognized for design allows people to interact with their spaces in a more fluid fashion than other urban environments and whether these interactions allow for a more rich understanding of the urban environment.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

I would contribute my understanding of how individuals use the features of an environment to inform their ‘maps’ of that space. Further, I would be pleased to investigate with others at DesignInquiry what features of Montreal are consistently identified as being critical to the identity of a ‘city of design’, whether these are psychological constructs or actual physical realities of the city. I would be pleased to aid with any aspect of the program, although my talents lie with writing, analyses and editing.

A presentation abstract goes here:

One project that I would be interested in investigating would involve the development of maps. When people make maps of space they use both imaginary and real aspects of the environment. The relation between these two types of features is very telling about what they find important in the experienced (or imagined) space. I propose to examine examine maps that people draw when they follow a predetermined routes through the city. The features that are present (and absent) on the route and their relation will provide an experiential record of the characteristics of the city that the individual finds to be salient. I would then integrate this information in terms of psychological theory and with other research regarding the features of space and their salience.

Denise Gonzales Crisp

I sometimes assume the character of different people to comment on graphic design activity. Deborah Griffin, for example, is a New York critic who we only hear from in fragments. Cheri Newcastle, a pulp sci-fi novelist, writes about media through a cyber-detective, Priss, and her techie pals who build paraphernalia to transmogrify her into the media she investigates. Candy Apple is a self-made “Legacy Negotiator,” a Leg Neg, serving artists of every ilk. My most active persona, though, is academic Denise Gonzales Crisp.

She wrote “Discourse This! Designers and Alternative Critical Writing.” The essay presents several under-valued “designwrights” who have contributed texts using alternative means. Through fiction, personae, manifestoes, satire and neologisms, designers and writers from William Morris to Bruce Sterling have added abiding critical voices. They have also expanded the possibilities for the form and delivery of criticism.


faculty and design practitioner

CalArts and Gail Studio


1) I’m on faculty at CalArts where I work with BFA and MFA students.

2) My studio is based in Los Angeles and my creative practice is highly collaborative and conceptual, but rooted in practicality too. I make works intended primarily for cultural institutions

3) Taking a creative leave currently, working on self-initiated projects.

DesignInquiry’s DESIGN CITY interests me on a lot of levels: 1) I’m exploring alternative practices and would appreciate the opportunity to meet and work with individuals who are on an intellectual quest of their own; and 2) I trekked to the Expo 67 campgrounds a few years back because I was and am interested in Expo 67’s optimism, wonder and its lingering, remaining sites. The campground when I visited was fabulous. It’s fascinating to imagine the activity during the Expo and its seeming and real transience. I’m interested in the temporality of the Expo too, on a poetic and wistful level. And 3) DesignInquiry seems like the perfect kind of rigorous/flexible critical mass of thoughtfulness and provocation that I am hoping for at this point in my career.

“Designwright” Workshop with Gail and Denise

Denise Gonzales Crisp

Gail Swanlund         

Several under-valued “designwrights” have contributed texts to design discourse using alternative means. Through fiction, personae, manifestoes, satire and neologisms, designers and writers from William Morris to Bruce Sterling have added abiding critical voices. They have also expanded the possibilities for the form and delivery of criticism.

Gail and Denise propose to use Montreal’s designed environment and design promises as the subject for a designwright workshop: the derelict grounds of Expo ’67; manifestations of the city’s “UNESCO City of Design” status; other places engaged by DI Montreal proposals. Participating design inquirers will practice fiction-based approaches to writing about design. Afternoon writing exercises and morning readings/discussions will culminate in works that Gail and Denise will curate/edit for DI Journal submission consideration.

Not the Structure and Content

Afternoon exercises: 1 hour (preferably the cocktail one)

Mon: Past/Future Design Archeologist (Who)

Tue: Place (Where)

Wed: Evidence (What)

Breakfast readings and discussion: 45-60 minutes

Wed: The Design Archeologist

Thu: The Place

Fri: Evidence Interpreted (Final Readings)

Not the References / Recommended Reading

“Discourse This! Designers and Alternative Critical Writing”

Shaping Things, Bruce Sterling

Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, Peter Turchi

“Metaphor: Or, The Map”

“The Wide Landscape of Snows”

“Imaginary Scrolls”

How Proust Can Change Your Life, Alain De Botton

“How to Read for Yourself” “How to Take Your Time”

And, from the “Peace Through Understanding World’s Fair Community”: The Expo 67 Grounds, Questions And Some Answers

Florian Sametinger

Interaction Designer/ PhD Candidate

University of the Arts Berlin,

Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I am originally from ulm, a city in the south of germany, which i left in order to study industrial and interaction design in London, Milan and Magdeburg. After 3 years as a freelance interaction designer, i started working in the design research lab berlin, where i am currently doing my phd thesis. My particular topic is interaction design for social sustainability and comprises field work in urban environments, building design interventions for testing in berlin, observing interactions within the city and conducting (interdisciplinary) participatory design workshops with citizens. Moreover we are working on the themes of gender and diversity, universal design, democratic design and participation in city processes, etc.

As a member of the design research lab I am really interested in the dynamics of the interdisciplinary workshop as well as working directly in the city of montréal. I believe in interdisciplinary, participatory design and collaborative environments and am curious as to how you structure the process and what kind of dynamics enfold during the week.

Since Berlin is (by designinquirys definition) also a design city, designed and developed, I am very interested to discover and discuss parallels and differences of the two cities, and the potential that design has to offer in order to shape them.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

I would like to present and discuss methods and tools we developed here during several city workshops (Street Lab, Networked Neighborhoods), participatory design sessions and projects and how we approached the topic of designed city, design for the city, design as an agent of change within cities.

Also I am currently working on “Sustainable Awareness Tools” which focus on recording and analysing the city and the traces its inhabitants left within them (Patina, traces of use, re-use, appropriation, etc.). They are constructed as “Citizen Science”-Kits and I would present them and possibly use them with citizens of montréal and other participants in a workshop.

Ben Van Dyke

Board Member, DesignInquiry


Margo Halverson

President, DesignInquiry


Melle Hammer

Framer, DesignInquiry

my contribution will include

a brief presentation of the characteristics of the town i live in (amsterdam)

(not the regular stuff you find in the lonely planet brochure )

– during the gathering – each day i will present my observations and findings on Montreal in the format of a poster, an installation, or a writing


as my wish come through: i’ll make you a fresh hand-tossed salad everyday

Christopher Moore

Framer, DesignInquiry Montréal

Assistant Professor Design & Computation Arts, Concordia University

I am a maker of things, a storyteller, an educator, and a student full of questions. These roles manifest in a practice that ranges from commercial publication to sculpture and media-based installation—a liminal research profile that challenges the traditional disciplinary classifications of academia. Throughout my 12 years of teaching, I have been fortunate to locate like-minded colleagues who share a passion for social engagement, and who eschew the narrow definitions and historical baggage of what constitutes “legitimate” research. I believe in the value of play, and that embodied experimentation and the everyday are highly relevant design methodologies.

My creative research currently focuses on satire as a progressive form of social critique, utilizing performance and absurdist humour to engage media-savvy public audiences. In addition to artist residencies and exhibitions, I have presented my scholarly research at international conferences, including the College Art Association (CAA), Design Research Society (DRS), Association Typographique International (ATypI), the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD), and the Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC). Since 2008, I have held the position of Assistant Professor in Design & Computation Arts at Concordia University in Montréal, where I am also a member of the Hexagram Research Institute.

Emily Luce

Board Member, DesignInquiry

Assistant Professor New Media; University of Lethbridge, Alberta

I am an artist + designer born in Boston, grew up all across the U.S., and am now based in BC and Alberta in western Canada. As a whole my work emphasizes the importance of diversity in the face of corporate monocultures; individually I think my projects (recently: redesigning parking lots, the construction of a tiny house, and, this) are more closely defined as chances to work with fantastic people on ideas that push the boundaries of what I thought was possible. I am so looking forward to meeting and working with you all.

While we are “in town,” I want to look at pure pattern. I’d like to work with the group to collect examples of the visual baseline of this city. The long-term intention is to form some kind of pattern database or collection associated with design cities around the world. The short-term intention is to experience the flat joy of colour, texture, and repetition.

I also have a bit of research to do while in Montréal. I read in passing that the iconic Hudson Bay blankets were developed in competition with early blankets coming out of Montréal trading posts. I want to see these blankets and read about their history.

Stuart Henley

Principle Lecturer & Course Leader Graphic Communications BA (Hons)

Bath College of Art and Design, Bath Spa University, UK

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

Originally from England but have spent 17 years in the US (Yale MFA Design ’96), currently back in the UK. Have taught graphic design in various places around the world. Currently working in Bath, England’s only UNESCO world heritage city. I’m in the process of planning a parapedetic Graphic Design MA that will take up week long residencies in various cities round the world (including Bath) studying and developing the relationship between the city and graphic design. My personal work/research typically responds to environmental/social or urban issues.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here? A presentation abstract goes here:

(A) I would like to initiate a dérive in Montreal.


(B) I would like to initiate a discussion exploring ideas of typo-geography, specifically to look at further defining the ongoing merger of; image recognition tools, typographic systems and the physical environment. I define typo-geography as work that features:


• systematized mechanical (or digital) composition of the word or symbol

• system extends to word, line, column, page and of course off the page….

• system and mechanics facilitate exact reproduction Geography (human)

• human use and understanding of the world

• human interrelationships with the physical environment.

• studying human activities

market example and inspiration

naturally I can provide greater detail and structure on proposals A & B.

Jennifer Nichols

Sustainability Resource Coordinator & Communication Designer,


Smart Planning for Communities & Nichols Creative

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I AM a graphic designer working with community planners on sustainability issues. I provide resources (online collaborative platforms, print pieces, storytelling…) about integrated community sustainability planning and carbon reduction strategies for urban and rural communities. For many years I designed magazines and newspapers for publishing houses in Canada and the UK. Now most of the printing I do is in my spare time, by hand using intaglio techniques and stencils.

Because I have degrees in communication design and strategic sustainability planning I am drawn to exploring the relationship between the two disciplines.

I am struck by whether a “City of Design” arises from a plan or use. Community planning is bureaucratic work that integrates zoning, bylaws, policies, engineering and human needs versus environmental realities into placemaking. Yet, once arriving in these highly planned environs citizens and visitors invent the space by using it. There is no question in my mind that the inhabitants of a place breathe it into existence.

Sustainability, compared to planning, is not so prescriptive and is a plastic term. In Montreal’s award-winning strategic sustainability plan there is no mention of sustaining culture – yet it is clearly in the bones of the place.

I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE how designers dialogue with the city through distributed collaboration. I can provide a sustainability lens. I will invite collaboration on participating in a city tracing. I would alter this plan to join another project if necessary – collaboration is key! Whatever happens: I will write about it for Design21 – a UNESCO partner site about better design for the greater good.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

A presentation abstract goes here: MY CURRENT RESEARCH is exploring sustainability planning for creatives – and the threshold of constraints that can foster or inhibit innovation. My initial research concluded that the brief stage is an obvious time to get clear on sustainability objectives.

As part of the research I went to Compostmodern (an interdisciplinary design conference about sustainable design choices) in San Francisco. I asked many designers, including, Bruce Mau a leading question; “At what point of the design process do we have the most opportunity to make meaningful change?”

Mau said “From a systems perspective after a certain moment you simply can’t change the system – you are simply participating. It’s got to be early on…on the other hand, everywhere all the time is possibility for change … This second way is more powerful you get distributed collaboration. Collaboration unleashes a unique intellectual and social energy.”

Based on this insight I would like to explore where sustainability fits in a design process.

I WOULD LIKE TO CONTRIBUTE a collaborative experiment centred on an urban adventure. The adventure will require participants to produce and leave behind tracings of the city based on clearly defined constraints with the goals of assembling some sort of a map of the journeys.

We can dialogue around our collective results – I will facilitate – touching on how our designs sustain the topographies of Montréal, how the city can sustain our design process and how we can use sustainability principles in multiples.

The discussion and research results will be the meat for a DesignInquiry journal entry. Our assemblage will become a visual representation for the journal – a bonus would be to influence the production choices around the journal.

Clément Vincent

Assistant Professor | Design

College of Architecture, Art and Design

American University of Sharjah

Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I am a French national and I have lived, taught and practiced graphic design and art direction in France, the U.S. and Canada before relocating to the UAE last fall. I have worked for publishers, museums and other cultural institutions where I designed exhibitions, posters, signage systems… Another facet of my practice is concerned with integrating texts and images in urban or rural public spaces.

The cities I have lived in long enough: Portland, OR, Vancouver BC, Paris, Ajman, UAE or Seattle have given me different views on what makes a city livable, enjoyable or frustrating and sad. From billionaire to homeless, recent immigrant, student, labor worker or transient, cities concentrate human hardship, joy, pleasure or excess.

Observing cities its architecture and people help me better understand how the world I live in evolves. Design City seems a great opportunity to discover Montréal while sharing ideas and views about cities in general. Design City might also be a starting point to think about what designers can offer to understand and think the city. I would like to participate in Design City because I need to feed my interest to reflect upon our living environment by exchanging ideas with individuals who share a similar interest.

I have lived in Canada for six years but only visited Montréal once. Speaking French and English also make me feel that my participation in Design City could benefit others participants.

What you will do at DesignInquiry

My intention during DesignInquiry is to investigate some underprivileged neighborhoods in Montréal. At this point I am considering a series of places like Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Saint Henri and les quartiers Nord.

I will focus on visible aspect of these quarters, (environmental, economical and social) the significant buildings and their history, the cultural life offered to residents.

To prepare this study I am currently locating a number of places to visit and document: buildings, public art, parks, libraries, churches etc. Going there and taking pictures, collecting ephemerals or posters in the street will be the first part of my investigation. Its purpose is to understand what an underprivileged district of Montréal looks like.

After completion of this part I am interested to present the group at DesignInquiry with a selection of images. This presentation might help some participants discover places they might no know while giving all a chance to exchange experiences and ideas about underprivileged neighborhood.

After Visiting and documenting, my plan is to go back with prints and meet with residents from different ages to enquire about their living experience in these areas. Does the urban, cultural, economical and social status of their neighborhood meet their needs and aspirations? Could their life satisfaction be higher if new equipment, services or initiative where there? What existing events equipments are satisfactory? Would they be will willing to participate in a community based design if this was an option?

In order to meet residents I am planning on locating local cafés/restaurants, non-profit organizations and community services/centers locally implemented. Using photographs of my initial visit I hope to create a favorable situation to learn from the residents about their experience.

Possible outputs for this inquiry could include a print or web based article combining visual, textual and auditory information a poster series intended to portray a neighborhood. Later on the posters could be posted in the streets of the neighborhoods they come from.

Tim Vyner

Senior Lecturer Illustration / BA(Hons) Graphic Communication

Bath School of Art and Design / Bath Spa University





Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I am an Illustrator living and working In Bath, UK. I graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1988 with an MA(RCA) in illustration. I am predominantly interested in documentary and reportage illustration. I teach illustration within the context of a broad Graphic Communication course. I am currently developing an MA in Visual Culture that will be based in various locations and residencies around the world, including Bath. My own research involves documenting events that identify a particular place at a specific time, eg the Olympic Games in Beijing, the FIFA World Cup in Japan and Korea. I have a specific interest in print and visited Xi’an Academy of Fine Art in China, (one of China’s four traditional art academies) earlier this year to make work for a Printmaking Exchange Workshop which involved participants from twelve different universities from around the world.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here?

A presentation abstract goes here:

I would like to work with a group of people on an experiencial exchange in Montreal, specifically looking at themes of legacy, society, and participation. As London gears itself to host the Olympic Games in 2012 I would like to view the legacy of Montreal 1976 compared to Montreal 2011, City of Design. As a reportage illustrator I explore the interrelationship between people and their physical environment. I think there is a place in designinquiry for illustration and visual essay that considers how we interact in a design environment and how that interaction changes with time and activity.

I am also keen to make an objective comparison between experiencing a UNESCO Design City (Montreal) as a first time visitor, with living and working in a UNESCO World Heritage City (Bath).

Please look at for examples of my practice. I am happy to present more detailed proposals about any of these topics. ////////////////////////////// //////

He Li


University of Lethbridge /

Please introduce yourself in a few lines. Where you come from, what kind of work you do, why you are coming, what are your interests in the topic DESIGN City:

I am from Beijing, China and living in Lethbridge, Canada now. Basically I am fascinated by and trying to work with any kinds of visual design works that speak to me. Graphic designs for printing and websites are the most common types I am doing.

The interest to me fundamentally is the city itself as it is a fresh and inspired ground for me to explore. Either familiar or strange facts, elements hidden within this design city interest me. After being in school for years, I expect to have a more free and practical work period, which this event gives me. Traveling around and seeking for things that are beautiful and meaningful to a place is what I aim for.

What would you contribute to DesignInquiry while you are here? A presentation abstract goes here:

I will contribute of course my original thoughts and special insight of this city in terms of its cultural, social attraction through visual communication, whichever the way it works (could be sketches, photos, typefaces, etc). Since I do have a different cultural background, I could find things that are often ordinary even ignored in western world but attract me, and transform them into part of my experiences that somehow makes difference to the design works.